Sunday, January 30, 2011

tear gas and the people without riot masks.

I have a lot of things I want to say about the power of boys with stones and girls in skirts with knees like anchors, but I don't know if I can find the words. They're there, on the tip of my tongue, flirting with my lips, but keeping coy. 

I want to talk about the raw sores left by rubber bullets, and the broken vessels that the tear gas leaves in your eyes, making you look like the morning after your father's funeral. I want to talk about an emotion that makes lost voices and broken fingers worth cheering through: hope. 

Someone once told me, "Hunger will put the people in the streets." 

Hunger for food. Revolution. Change. 

Hope is an odd thing. Fragile and tremendous, it spreads like wildfire, lighting breasts and pits of stomachs and undersides of tongues like California hillsides in July. It flickers until it spits, and spits until it roars; until it is an unstoppable tide roaring over villages and cities, towns and mountains. It is a quick-spreading thing, hope.

When Tunis fell, hope flickered through, quick as a thief in the night. Come and gone, so quick we almost missed it. Calls from person to person, spreading out like spider webs, spreading the word: "S'maati? S'maati shin sar fi Tunis? Did you hear? Did you hear what happened in Tunis?"

"They kicked the President out - out! He's gone! Al-shabab! The people! The people kicked him out - he's fled!" 

"Who's next? Who do you think it will be? Algeria? Egypt? Allahu akbar! Alhamdullilah. Praise God. Praise God."

Tyranny is a terrible thing. And after awhile, people forget they are under it. 

So for my brothers and sisters in Masr, Tunis - Jordan, Syria, Libya - Allah maak. God be with you. There is hope. Boys with rocks have been winning wars for centuries.  Girls have been anchoring their knees to their homelands for millennium. There are some things worth rioting for.

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