Revolutionary times call for revolutionary measures. As neighborhoods in Egypt come together to protect their families at night, they are unknowingly setting the foundation for a new democratic state.
The excitement of the daily protests quickly gave way to fear as day turned to night and reports surfaced of escaped prisoners and opportunistic looters at large on Cairo’s un-policed streets. But instead of retreating to their individual homes the people of Egypt made the important and perhaps telling-of-what-is-to-come, decision not to give in to fear.
They chose to stand up together and face the looters head on. Men of all ages are joining forces every night with bats, kitchen knives and guns to protect their neighborhoods. They are organizing amongst themselves via text messages, working in shifts, setting up roadblocks and using their numbers to overwhelm looters and mischief makers. The people are coming together and in the process learning to see past class and religious divides in order to work towards the greater good of their communities and eventually their nation.
These nightly teams are just as important to Egypt’s future as are the day time protesters. The people are taking responsibility for their individual and collective safety. Most importantly, however, this experience is providing the Egyptian people with important team building skills that will be necessary for a functional democracy.
The collaboration and cooperation exhibited in the last few days, particularly in a time of chaos and the ability of Egyptians to effectively protect their homes, museums and national treasures clearly showcases that the people of Egypt are more than capable of taking control of their future.
If the current actions of the Egyptian people are at all indicative of what is to come, I am extremely optimistic about Egypt’s future. The time for democracy is now.