Monday, February 14, 2011

from maghreb to masses... definitely.

when i wake up tomorrow, i expect iran to be the headline. i want azadi square to look like tahrir square.

i'm so tired from partying hard in chicago, but i just had to get this out there before tomorrow, or approximately 7 am est... what's happening in the middle east right now has the potential to be a fucking dream come true.

the whole thing was just so surreal. i got off work early friday and glanced at the tv in the hotel lobby on my way in and the whole world just froze up for a second. mubarak had resigned... i'll be honest, i didn't expect it at all. then as i sat on the bus, all these thoughts ran through my head that just kept blowing my mind...

what if a secular democratic government emerges? what if a credible liberal government stands up to israel and changes the whole discourse? what will happen to the blockade? what if this just keeps spreading further and further? what if this spawns a wave of nonviolent protest in palestine? what if free speech in the arab world reforms iraq's absurdly sectarian politics? what if this really is the rebirth of pan-arabism, but cast in secular liberal ideals? what if this reignites the protests in iran? what if this time they succeed? what if all the tyrants in the middle east, autocrats, zionists, and mullahs alike, are all scared shitless for all the best reasons?

of course another thought crossed my mind: what if everything goes horribly wrong? i was watching the celebrations on al jazeera when they tried to ask a protester "what do you think is next for egypt?" and the phone line kept cutting out. the symbolism was just too appropriate...

protester: we're all so proud! we've made history!
newcaster: yes, but i was asking, what do you think is next?
protester: what? i can't hear you! there are fireworks!
newscaster: i said, what do you think is next? for egypt? what will happen now?
protester: sorry you're breaking up- (line goes dead.)

i laughed, but i am so hopeful right now.

p.s. i've had the funniest conversations with cab drivers recently... i somehow always do.

i remember a couple years back i had an iraqi cab driver and he ended up coming into the party he took us to, and we talked about what life is like in sadr city in the middle of this ridiculous rager for like an hour. i'll post about my absurd somalian chicago cabbie later, but i could tell by his accent my richmond cab driver was arab. sure enough, he was north african and we got to chatting about the middle east.and we talked about iran. he said something i never want to have to hear again ever.

he said, "the iranians need to be brave. we lost hundreds for our freedom, and when some girl dies in iran, they all go home."

aside from me not being sure what he was talking about, and aside from him having the chronology pretty mixed up, he did have some semblance of a point. the iranian protest movement is so far still a disappointment, but it doesn't have to stay that way. take note.

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