Matthews: Egyptian revolution ‘about people’

Updated

Let me finish tonight with a feeling.

For those of us who care about politics, “this” today in Egypt is what we care about.

It’s about people - people who think and care - taking a hand in their country’s destiny.

It will not always be pure or perfect.  People are not always alert or smart or even good in their intentions.

But in the ancient land of Egypt, the fall of Mubarak today is the result of an alert, smart and good people. They saw their chance.  They saw a way to do it.  And they pursued a national good.

Watching this on television, it’s an opportunity for us in America to see something we don’t often “get” to see - people far from us but not different from us - people of a different culture, but of a similar aspiration.  You go to school.  You work to learn. You have hopes. You want a chance to follow your dream. 

To the young adults of Egypt, that has been a frustrating, brutal existence.  You sit in a café and talk about what you want to do, what you “could” do but can’t - and you watch those few at the top - the in-laws and cousins and other connected ones - who get the posts in government, the business breaks, the partnerships, the openings in the cracks. If you speak out, you are jailed. 

As a tourist, you see none of this.  Egypt is scenic to the visitor.  It is not scenic to live in a police state, to face prison and torture if your voice gets too loud, or too listened to.

So once again, we see the power of democracy. 

It was the sight and fact of people pouring through it that brought the Berlin Wall down.  It was people wanting to vote that changed South Africa.

Not the gun. Not the little conspirators hiding in rooms planning to plant bombs or use airplanes to blow up buildings. Not hijackers or other suicidal killers with bombs planted in their underwear.  

None of those have ever overthrown a dictator.  Here the people did it with only their voices, their arms waving with feeling, their souls on fire. 

Again, democracy is only rarely perfect, only rarely pure. But here, in its beginnings, it is close to it.  It is non-violent. It is popular.  It has a happy face. 

With the people of Egypt - this great land so much older than ours, this democracy so much younger - we say and agree: God is Great!

Matthews: Egyptian revolution 'about people'

Updated