The protests in Egypt over the past two weeks have been monumental and it seems the situation is going to escalate before it calms down. Amongst all the news is a story that demonstrated the courage and pride of the Egyptian people in a unique and powerful way.
On January 28th, as the police disappeared, looters attempted to take advantage of the situation and broke into Cairo's Antiquities Museum. The vandals damaged a number of artifacts and two mummies.
While every large crowd will have a few bad seeds it was the response of the other civilians that filled me with awe. Regular everyday Egyptian citizens jumped into action in and formed a protective human chain around the museum. Shortly thereafter the military showed up to take over security.
History books will remember vivid images of the conflict and devastation in Egypt over these weeks. The books will even recount the damage that was done in the museum before the citizens realized what was happening. But I hope this image of Egyptians arm in arm is a prominent one we show future generations.
At a time of upheaval, when it would have been easy to get caught up in excitement and a destructive mob mentality, these Egyptians did the opposite. They kept their heads. They stood arm in arm with brothers from all walks of life. And they protected the historical treasures of Egypt.
Whether you call it class, maturity, pride, good citizenry or something else, this is the example we should remember and teach our children.
On Al Jazeera
I've found Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) to be an exceptional news source throughout the protests in Egypt. I started following them because the quality and quantity of their reporting on Egypt was far superior to any western outlets (NPR, BBC, CNN, etc.) in the first few weeks. Now that I've had a chance to follow Al Jazeera it's become clear they are providing a unique and valuable perspective on world events. Their reporting is thoughtful, detailed and comes with context that western media does not seem capable of providing. I highly recommend looking to Al Jazeera English as one of your news sources especially when events have anything to do with the middle east.