This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Revolution 2.0," March 31/31 Project

For Doc Luben's March 31/31 Project
No. 3

Revolution 2.0

By Christopher Fox Graham

type, type, send
type, type, send
the revolution begins not with a bang
but with a text message

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you did not sign a declaration
shoot a gun
nor take an assassin's bullet
you ran a Facebook page

Egyptian secret police held you blindfolded for 11 days
promised you would be buried nameless, anonymous

as a Facebook event,
your ghost of Khalid Said
brought down a dictator

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
you unintentional revolutionary,
sob as the names of boys fallen
crawl across the screen
as Mona el-Shazly asks you to gaze up
swallow the Facebook photos and off-kilter photographs
taken at parties or late-night on-the-towns
images become epitaphs,
boys like us
who before Jan25
watched girls pass by
traded albums and downloaded music
called their mothers on birthdays
and never thought their country
would ever be theirs

if we could stand with you, Wael Ghonim, we would
embrace you as man to man
wrap arms around you to hold you standing
convince you to believe us
that your hands are clean
your soul is unstained
the blood of brothers and sisters on them
wasn’t spilt by you
use it to paint flags
touch it to your childrens’ foreheads
and tell them “this was shed for you,
by men and women who gave more than we did,
it is why you now have a voice
why freedom is more than a noun”

wash it off in the Nile
let it taste of the mother river
swim upstream to the sources
and down to the delta
tell all of Egypt
from Luxor tombs
to pyramid shadows
to the library halls in Alexandria
that your country is free
shake the earth
so dead pharaohs wake trembling
living tyrants flee from their thrones

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
we stood with you in Tahrir
we were the breath of bravery
you felt beside you
when the enemy rode in on camels
we stood beside you
five times a day
when you knelt to pray to Allah
we, atheists, Christians, Buddhists
Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews
we watched your back
stood guard in silence
we were the ghosts you felt
assuring you the world was listening
we don’t know your language
but understood each word
in your prayers because
“freedom” never needs translation
it feels the same
no matter the shade or age of skin,

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because your tears are too heavy for one man
let us carry them for you
permit us bear their weight
because we could not physically stand alongside you
allow us sing our lullabies in 1,000 languages to your children
let us tell them our words for "liberty"
so no matter where they travel
we have that in common

we weep with you, Wael Ghonim,
because you are not alone
you never were

now, sleep,
and free

Wael Ghonim is an Egyptian computer engineer and head of marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa who was living in the United Arab Emirates. He ran the Facebook page that organized the Jan25 movement to protest Egyptian President and dictator Hosni Mubarak. In January 2011, Ghonim persuaded Google to allow him to return to Egypt, citing a "personal problem." Planning only a six-day visit for the protest, he was captured by Mubarak's security forces and held blindfolded for 11 days and the protests swelled in Tahrir Square, Cairo. The day he was released, he appeared on DreamTV, where I first saw him.

The video is below. The last five minutes will bring anyone to tears.

On 9 February, Ghonim addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square, telling the protesters: "This is not the time for individuals, or parties, or movements. It's a time for all of us to say just one thing: Egypt above all."

The scholar Fouad Ajami writes:
"No turbaned ayatollah had stepped forth to summon the crowd. This was not Iran in 1979. A young Google executive, Wael Ghonim, had energized this protest when it might have lost heart, when it could have succumbed to the belief that this regime and its leader were a big, immovable object. Mr. Ghonim was a man of the modern world. He was not driven by piety. The condition of his country—the abject poverty, the crony economy of plunder and corruption, the cruelties and slights handed out to Egyptians in all walks of life by a police state that the people had outgrown and despaired of—had given this young man and others like him their historical warrant."

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