When I first heard about Mubarak’s resignation…


Dear Editor,

When I first heard about Mubarak’s resignation, I heard about it from a text message.  Mansour, Mubarak has stepped down.

I didn’t text anything back.

Later that day I heard the news.  I heard about the celebrations in Cairo, in the Middle East, even in our own student centre. There was talk—a lot of it, about what this mean for Egypt, for the world, for us.

Around the world, history was happening, but no one was saying an awful lot. Even the news just kept repeating the same words: Mubarak has gone, Egypt is celebrating, nothing will be the same. Analysts commented on these words, on Obama’s words, on their own words, building neat Russian dolls of hope and anxiety.

And throughout it all I couldn’t think of anything to say.  I couldn’t know how to feel. All my life I’ve had a part of me where words come from, and on Friday, February 11th, it shut down and left me without any witticisms or drolleries or even something meaningful to say to my friends or family or Facebook status.

And this is a good thing.

When our world suddenly changes—when a friend dies or when history suddenly happens—we are often speechless. In the face of something new, how can we speak?  Why should we?

Egypt is in transition now, free of a ruler that since 1981 has abused his station, and free of an ideology that let him.  There will be more words and more speeches now.  There will be fears and hopes and probably a bit of anger.  There will be repercussions around the world. Maybe we’ll see some here.

But for us, for now, this should not be a time to speak.  This should be a time to marvel at the country on the other side of the world, at a people who have suddenly found their voice.


Rashid Ansari