The latest waves of the demonstrations, the uprising or preferably still the revolution which have been surging through Egypt’s largest cities from Cairo, through Suez and Alexandria to Bani Suef (Upper Egypt) persisted as Mubarak’s speech extremely failed to mollify the Egyptian massive demonstrators, steadfast in their intentions to topple the National Democratic Party ruling system and put and end to the 30-year rule of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Meanwhile, the youthful generation in Gaza watched closely the demonstrations which constituted an empowering source of inspiration, stirring their sentiments and mobilizing their efforts which terminated in their taking to the streets in solidarity with their Egyptian neighbors. They closely followed the happenings attempting to absorb every minute event so as to carry it through the years when they will be able to communicate to their sons one of the most inspirational and largest events in the history of the Arab world and feeling proud they have lived such a day.
It is common knowledge for educated youth in Gaza that generations which lived through the fifties are usually looked on as kind of veterans, distinctly learned, and politically experienced whose politics it’s dangerous to disagree with, and everyone listens to when they speak of the current political occurrences, though their analyses could be very far from being true or unlikely to happen. In fact, the majority of them are unintelligent people, awfully loquacious who speak only to speak, though their speech might be nonsensical and invalid. Why we listen to them, however, is because we, the younger generation, know they have lived through crucial times in the history of Arabs and Palestinians, and through an era characterized by its abundance of political events, like the 1956 Tripartite Aggression on Egypt, 1967 Israel-Arab war, the 1968 The Battle of Karama, October War 1973, the Israeli war on Lebanon in 1982, the Black September’s Munich massacre in 1972 and other significant political events.
This solely credited them as capable of analyzing the most complex of events in the politics of the Arab world. Meanwhile, this generation of mine has far exceeded the older one, not only in the diversity and immensity of events we have witnessed but also in the influential role, we as youth, played in the elicitation of these events, our interaction (and reaction) with them all of which epitomized in the latest of these events, the Egyptian revolution.
Aside from what implications Egypt’s revolution might have on the Palestinians, it should come as no surprise to know that the whole population in Gaza entirely support the revolution and stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people. Not only do they hate Hosni Mubarak as a person, dismiss his despotic ruling system, is he a close ally of their and oppressor, Israel, which makes him their enemy oppressor as well, but also the bonds between the Palestinian and Egyptian people are almost unbreakable, and therefore, the identification of the Palestinians with this revolution is profound and immense. As if physically taking part in the revolution, Gaza youth felt themselves at the heart of the revolution and reacted to it variably, following its minutes as if it were their own. Reflecting on the revolution, one friend told me “This intifada is the old Arab’s dream. I watched the unfolding events and felt that the Egyptians’ freedom is my freedom as Palestinian. I was overwhelmed with happiness. I wish I were in Egypt.” What provoked this Palestinian to feel such deep identification with the Egyptian people besides his potential awareness of the reasons that sparked the revolution as well as the consequences it might have on the Palestinians and the whole Arab world is a spiritual connection he must have felt to the oppressed people of Egypt. Such a connection between the two peoples fomented over the years reached its peak in the fifties of the last century as Egypt, where over 350,000 Palestinian refugees settled after the Nakba in 1948, implicitly considered itself to be the guardian of the Palestinian peoples’ urging demands and interests.
Though they reacted sincerely to the Tunisian revolution, the Palestinians reaction was not as wholehearted and overwhelming as was the case with the revolution in Egypt. Feeling large-scale changes looming in our residential places, we send our prayers for the Egyptian people’s unattained wealth and safety and hope they break the shackles of fear and oppression and flourish in their fearless and unprecedented revolution against political corruption, torture, social injustice, grinding poverty. We will pray that the Egyptian people will accomplish their dreams and establish their own democratic government. In a region usually labeled as dictatorial, the Egyptians, and before them the Tunisians, resuscitated the faith in the power of the people in bringing about their justice, freedom and equality, a faith, had it not been for the Arabs, about melted away.
Mohammed Rabah Suliman
Jan 31, 2011