A Tale of Two Countries

By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

(TriceEdneyWire.com) - We are at the conclusion of another Black History Month. We have seen turbulent times around the world—with the greatest in Egypt. Some Americans acted like we hadn’t seen the same kind of turbulence in our country—but we did. The world knows we not only have a blood-stained period in our history, but we have some disturbing trends now strongly indicating that we have not totally shaken the cause for that image. We’ve been blessed to elect our first Black President, but it’s important for us to continue telling our story. Many folks have a case of amnesia when it comes to our accomplishments.

An interesting thing about the Egyptian revolt is that it began in January and concluded in Black History Month. No one thought it would end in victory for the people who called for a Million Man March, just as Minister Louis Farrakhan did in this country and they got two million! The people’s willingness to die, but not kill, was a page out of the book of Dr. M. L. King, Jr.

No non-violent revolution has ever been covered like the one in Egypt because the means today didn’t exist in the Civil Rights Movement. A sophisticated public carried the means for communicating right in their pockets and didn’t have to wait for the evening news. The whole world watched 24 hours a day.

I always heard philosophers say, “The pen is mightier than the sword”, but that is obsolete. The microphone is now mightier than the pen! It reaches the reader and non-reader—even those who speak different languages. What we saw was raw naked truth and the offenders knew the world was watching.

I was able to follow activities better than many people reporting because I lived the Civil Rights Movement, and I noticed something because of my involvement in human and civil rights. I had met and talked with people involved in the Movement and they explained a lot to me, too. Our Movement had many women involved who are rarely mentioned. Some media pretended there were few women involved in Egypt—but they were there. There’s something special about people who are willing to die with a peaceful dignity for freedom. At no time, with millions in the street, were they referred to as a mob.

One of many things that impressed me was the discipline of the people with no appointed leader. I am sure that had a lot to do with the outcome. Police would’ve had to shoot millions in the crowd to stop it.

I have heard people compare what happened in Egypt with the Civil Rights Movement. We saw Egyptians killing, beating and jailing Egyptians. In America, we had Americans killing, beating and jailing Americans.

The difference was people were not harmed because people hated Egyptians; yet, those in charge used the same brute force you see when you see the mob killing others who also were not doing it because they hated Italians. In the Civil Rights Movement, we were brutalized because we were African Americans. Many of the people sent out to stop our Movement, didn’t like us before the Movement, and some continue to hate us because we are Black.

As Blacks in our country--many of whom were young--fought for a better life for us, young Egyptians took the lead in fighting for a better life for Egyptians. Vice-President Biden recently made a memorable statement while talking about sacrifices of those who came before the present generation of accomplished Blacks. He said, “The best way to celebrate history is to make it”. Our Civil Rights leaders created a proud history, and I pray the history made last week by Egyptians, will be one that’s celebrated for years, serving as inspiration to others who are in bondage.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women and Chair of the Board of the Black Leadership Forum. www.nationalcongressbw.org or 202/678-6788.

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