Revolutionary Letter 47.2
TO BE FREE we’ve got to be free of any idea of freedom.
Today Egypt fights for democracy; and an American
complains about the price of gas.
To be honest, I was not a huge fan of Diane di Prima. When I begun reading, I couldn’t help but be reminded of all those people I can’t take seriously with the conspiracy theories and their diatribes about our Fascist government. When she writes about what foods we should have stocked up so we can be prepared for the day when civilization falls, I lose interest.
And then, I read the news.
As the sun rises on the seventh day of mass protests, riots, and revolution in Cairo, I am contemplating what to write about Revolutionary Letters. Suddenly, it all seems rather clear.
What I dislike about this collection of poetry is being echoed across the world in the voices of the people of Egypt. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been reporting from Cairo all week and he wrote a rather interesting blog entry about two women who stood up to a group of pro-Mubarak ‘thugs’. When he asked them why they were there and putting their lives on the line, one of them had this to say: ““We need democracy in Egypt,” Amal told me, looking quite composed. “We just want what you have.””
And there it was. They want what we have. This amazing ability to speak, to have an opinion, to vote, to walk down the street at night without fear of government curfews or terrorist organizations obstructing us.
Now, I am aware that our government is far from perfect. I’m not about to get all patriotic on you guys and sing to the heavens that America has the answers. It’s just really hard for me to take seriously the paranoia I find in most modern American Revolutionaries when there are so many places in this world where Fascism, Genocide, and the complete obstruction of basic human rights is a day to day reality. The fact that I [a young woman] can, right now (nearing midnight), walk two blocks to Safeway, buy some Ben and Jerry’s, sit on the curb to eat it, then walk home without a rational fear- Why, I’d say that’s pretty revolutionary in itself.