There are few dates in one’s life where everything before is totally different than everything after. 25th of January 2011 is one of them.
I have always believed in the power of a big group, but I didn’t expect a Facebook event inviting people to demonstrate would lead to thousands on the streets, and 18 days later the throwing of a 30 years ruling dictator.
Fast forward, I know many feel sad as to how things are today. Many of the original voices are silenced, in prison, in some sort of exile, or dead. As sad as it sounds, I believe it is an acceptable price to pay to gain our freedom. All nations that went through such transformation had to pay similar price.
I always see the good side in things. And the good side in what happened so far lie in the breaking of taboos. Our generation no longer accepts the patronizing tone of fatherly respect to the ruler, nor the total submission to religious authorities. If you had those ideas before this date you couldn’t express them, you would be vilified or think you are crazy since no one else thinks the same. All of this has changed. You may not see it in the moment, but if you zoom out you clearly see how far we have progressed.
There are also lots of lessons. The biggest for me is how wrong I was when I thought that once everyone is on the internet and freed from the state controlled media, the truth shall prevail and everyone will move to the right side. I was wrong, totally wrong. This lesson the Americans realized two years ago, but we have been suffering from misinformation consequences since 2011.
The second biggest lesson is my total failure in underestimating what humans might accept if the right conditions are met. It hindsight, I no longer believe in such a thing as the collective wisdom. If you create the right environment, people will accept mass killings, arrests, torture, or anything you prime them into. I thought there are limits, there aren’t. And no one is immune including myself.
One last thought, the optimist in me believes nothing stays the same. With infinite time comes infinite possibilities. As a wise man once said “of course, but hWhen?”. I don’t have infinite time, but I know that #Jan25 was a black swan event, and the thing about black swans is that they are unpredictable. In such complex system with huge number of variables, you never know when the next butterfly effect will happen. History is never linear. Stay hopeful.
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