Saturday, February 19, 2011

Freedom isn't free...

...and neither is anything else worth having

Downtown Cairo from the Nile April 2009

jumping down the biggest pyramid in Giza

My dear friends are traveling back to Egypt today. They will begin to put their lives back together in Cairo.  We send them back to a country that can now be called "The land of the free and the home of the brave." Regardless of what the future holds, I am still marveling at the miracle that happened in Cairo and how fortunate we are to get to be a part of this historic time.  

In light of what occurred in Cairo today I thought it was important to reflect on things that we value and their price.

What's revolutionary about the situation in Cairo is not that the people are demanding a new government.  What is remarkable is that the citizens of Egypt have peacefully protested for 16 days without resorting to violence. They represent a new generation of Arabs who bravely believe that change can occur without bloodshed. At this moment, preserving that belief, seems paramount.

Besides history books, I haven't witnessed a revolution, seen its momentum, or understood the panic and power of  the people.  I heard one protester say, "Freedom or death, we will stay here until he leaves."

It seems the government really is corrupt and is pushing them, patronizing them to become violent so that they will have reason to strike.  As dawn rises in Cairo, the world is looking into the abyss . Will they be able to maintain the peace?  I'm writing tonight because I'm afraid of what is to come for them tomorrow.  

This revolution could go down in history like the peaceful transfer of power that occurred in  January of 2009 when Barack Obama became the U.S. President and part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream came true.  If things go the right way, the Egyptians will be leaders in the Mid East, showing that peaceful victories over dictatorships is possible.  This would cause a ripple and a shift in the balance of power in that volatile part of the world. The reaches of the influence of this protest probably cannot be measured.  How precarious is this moment then, when we can say, "This could change everything?" And know that the world will not look the same again no matter what happens in Egypt tomorrow.

Among the precious things we take for granted apart from freedom, are gardens (fruits, flowers, basic sustenance) and relationships, (love, friendship, etc.)

I would argue that all three-- gardens, relationships and freedom-- take great work before the reward and when that is not the case, neither the plant, the freedom or the relationship last long.  They are all costly and they need a 'Gardener, ' because it turns out, they don't grow themselves.  All things of value need someone to cultivate and care for them, to watch over and weed for invaders who might interfere with their ultimate growth and goodness. There has to be tearing out and churning up.  There are sacrifices and risks on the part of the gardener, back breaking digging, scorching heat, and then disappointment, loss and perseverance in flood or drought.  Don't forget time, not just to tend to the soil, but to figure what the thing needs when it doesn't seem to thrive.  Having vegetables and flowers on your table comes with a price, having love in your life isn't a guarantee, getting freedom is risky and obviously life threatening. 

There might be fire in this life, there will be tears, and there will be death, but while we are alive, we might as well live, because the Egyptians are risking their necks this very minute for what we already have.

And so I stick with my original statement: 

Freedom isn't free, and neither is anything else worth having.

"Those who risk, win."--Motto of the British Special Air Service


  1. Congratulations Egypt! We have witnessed a miracle.

  2. Freedom, the ability to strive to reach the summit so that we can see what is yet to come.

  3. Dad -- who wrote this quote? It is a good one. Thanks for sharing it :)