Sunday, February 13, 2011

From 11/9/2001 to 11/2/2011: The Mentality of a New Egyptian Generation

I consider my self lucky to be witnessing those life changing events in Egypt. Egypt has changed forever and even thought there are still lots of challenges lying ahead, Egypt future seems brighter than ever. Egyptians state of mind has matured. We have realized our real power. No matter what might ever happen, the last series of events has carved in our minds the realization that people are the real source of power and that their will can never be oppressed by any dictatorship.

The Egyptian revolution has inspired me in many different ways and on so many different levels. One of the things I became sure of through this revolution is how humans everywhere across the globe affect each other and how humans from different cultures are affected by each other. What is even more amazing is how humans by nature have an overwhelming determination to turn catastrophic events into enhancing sparks to positively evolve and grow.

The Egyptian revolution has been moved by young men ranging in age between 20 and 35 years old. Being a young Egyptian man myself, I think I can trace back the real source of this kind of motivation to turn everything around. In this post I will try to explain the state of mind of this new young generation at least from my own point of view.

Lots of factors might have interplayed together to form the Egyptian revolution. Among those factors, are certainly the oppression and corruption of the previous governing regime. However, oppression and corruption of the governing Egyptian regime is not a recent thing, it extends for so many years back in time. On the other hand, such oppression might have resulted into other kinds of revolutions than the one we are witnessing now. An Egyptian revolution might have had an Islamic tendency or it might have been directed mainly to solve the problems of the poor. However, the Egyptian revolution proved not to be moved by religious or economic reasons. It is directed mainly to achieve liberty and democracy. The question still remains why did this revolution took this form even though it might have seemed more probable to take different directions. The answer to this question lies within understanding the mentality of the young generation that started this revolution. This young generation through the internet and media became more aware of the world surrounding them. Attempting to understand the world and the possible role we might play in it is the main factor that shaped the mentality of those young men who moved this revolution.

In my opinion, the mentality of the Egyptian young generation has been attracted to the world surrounding them in a day that shocked the entire world. It wasn't the day at which Bin Aly escaped Tunisia like lots might think. The day at which young Egyptians thought it is essential to understand the world in a more profound way, is dated ten years earlier. It was the day at which the world trade center in New York got attacked by Islamic terrorists. While Americans and Europeans focused, this day, on the effect it had on their own lives, they forgot that it had an even stronger impact on the youth of the Islamic world who were thought of as the prime suspects beyond this tragic event. Islamic terroristic tendencies were signified this day not only as a problem facing the west, but as a problem facing young Muslims in the Middle East as well. Young Egyptians who widely adopt the Islamic faith found themselves that day facing a significant contradiction. They were torn apart between the rejection of such a terroristic act that resulted in the loss of lives of so many innocents and the sense of some kind of responsibility beyond it. After all, a young Egyptian man participated in those attacks. It was realized by so many young Egyptians that their culture can at least bring about such conventions that might support this form of terrorism.

That was the day at which young Egyptians realized that whether they liked it or not have some kind of responsibility toward the entire world. In a state at which the channels of acting responsibly toward others are so limited like Egypt, young Egyptians found their only solitude through the internet. I remember how lots of young Egyptians have tried through the internet to communicate with as much Americans and Europeans as they can to explain their own point of view about what happened. We have tried to explain our rejection to what happened in 9/11. We have tried desperately to explain why it might have happened by appeal to the frustration stemming from the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Blaming the Palestinian Israeli conflict might have been an attempt to explain 9/11 more to ourselves than to others. Accordingly, those attempts were more illuminating to us than to others. As we got deeper in understanding the Palestinian Israeli conflict, we have just realized that we are ourselves a part of the problem. We have learned that the creation of a just peaceful international world system capable of solving such a conflict can't be achieved unless we had a state that can act responsibly and effectively to bring about such a kind of world order.

As the attention of young Egyptians moved to the internal affairs of their state, it became apparent that the underlying Egyptian culture needed revision. Islam represented the pillar of this culture. Therefore, Islam was brought into the focus of revision. In the last ten years, a wide reformation movement of Islamic faith was begun by so many young Egyptians. The last ten years whitened the rise of so many Islamic reformists in Egypt than ever before. Names like Amr Khaled, El Habib El jifry, and so many others captured the attention of so many young Egyptians to a notable degree. The major financial success of those new religious thinkers , the wide spread of a new fashionable form of veils worn by young Egyptian ladies, and the rise of a stronger yet more permissive form of commitment to Islamic traditions were all among the signs of this rise of the new form of Islam among young Egyptians. However, driven by the fear of conflict with the governing regime, neo Islamists focused on shaping new Islamic values down to the individualistic level. They argued young people to focus on developing themselves rather than attempting to change the entire society. This individualistic line of thought was soon mixed with the growing interest all over the world with new self development psychological trends. NLP and self development programs were adopted by so many popular new Islamic figures and accordingly by so many young people in Egypt.

Any way, those new individualistic and positive values held by the growing young Egyptians had to collide sooner or later with the frustrating rule of the governing regime. Young Egyptians today hold the values of peace, responsibility, and positive urge to act. Those values together with growing understanding of the world surrounding them shaped the mentality of those young people. Today, they seek democracy and liberty to participate in shaping a new Egypt that can contribute responsibly to the evolution of human civilization. Young Egyptian people might still have lots of things to learn but what is certain is that the Egyptian revolution is one step toward a better Egypt and a better world.

I would like to end my post with one more thing. What is amazing about humanity is that we are strongly inclined to explain unfortunate events as happing for a reason. Lots of innocents lost their lives on the hand of terrorists. Those who died in 9/11 and the victims of other terroristic acts world wide didn't loose their lives for nothing. Their blood together with the blood of young Egyptian revolutionists is leading to a stronger and more peaceful world.