Since meeting my husband a few years ago, I have heard countless stories relating to the political climate of Egypt. Growing up in Cairo, my husband quickly learned that the "democracy" he purportedly lived in was a sham. He and his friends and family, in the privacy of their apartments, talked endlessly about the changes they wished to see, about the propaganda machine that ruled the airwaves and about the hypocrisy's of the government. However, that is where these discussions always ended.
I got the opportunity to visit Egypt shortly after the United States had elected Barack Obama. The Egyptians I encountered were all so happy for us, that we had elected someone with a message of "hope" and "change." That we had elected a leader who was a minority. That we had elected a leader who seemed to represent the "people." They were happy for us because they were vicariously living through our experience. They longed for the right to speak out against leadership they opposed. They longed to go to the polls and actually have the power to evoke change.
Over the past few days, since the initial protests erupted on January 25, I have watched my husband as he observes his countrymen's suppressed rage and frustration spilling out onto the streets of Cairo, Suez, Alexandria. I have watched him swell with emotion at the sites and sounds of a collective people voicing their previously silenced voices. I have watched tears well in his eyes as he has uttered, "I never thought this would happen in my lifetime."
This is a moment in history, a tipping point, as author Malcolm Gladwell would say. And I could not be more proud to be married to an Egyptian who has dreamed of this moment for so long, to be friends with Egyptians who have longed for a catalyst to bring about this desperately needed change.
The heart of Egypt is in its incredible people, and their heart is beating for the world to hear.