… stepping from your cosy home or apartment into streets filled with smoke and sirens, there to risk injury, arrest, your life … to demonstrate for freedom of expression and assembly … and demand the end to corrupt and brutal government?
It’s one thing to watch images flash across the TV screens — followed perhaps by tomorrow’s weather and a mindless “reality” show — another to physically engage in what’s so easily referred to as democracy. Experientially, we cannot comprehend what that means until it is taken from us. Looking at the white-shirted man in the photo below, would I have the courage to don my rakusu and face a sea of shields and batons?
I confess my inability to grasp the significance of what’s happening to “ordinary” citizens in Tunisia and Egypt tonight. What I can do is to imagine that they are you or me, your sister or grandfather, my brother or work-mate. What I can do is to look at just one image for a little while to inhale its text and sub-text. What I can do is to place myself next to just one person depicted — be it an armoured police officer or his enraged neighbour — and notice what happens as I let go of ‘me and them.’
Tear of compassion for beings everywhere — living in fear and danger.
May all be free.
images: DER SPIEGEL, Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images, Mohammed Abed/AFP.