President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty-year regime has officially come to an end. Even strong words from the defiant leader yesterday evening were not enough to keep the Egyptian people at bay. Their message during the past two weeks of demonstrations and protests has been loud and clear — echoing the words of Moses, an ancient Hebrew political leader (and Muslim prophet), to Pharaoh:
“Let my people go.”
A friend of mine in Washington, D.C. who works for a company monitoring data, web traffic, and trends (and who wishes to remain anonymous), told me that in the wake of Mubarak’s address yesterday one of the top trending phrases online was “Pharaoh’s hardened heart”.
This morning on Twitter, the #pharaoh hash-tag produced some interesting results:
Hosni Mubarak leveraged his power to amass billions of dollars in personal wealth over the past three decades, living in opulence — like a Pharaoh in the land of Pharaohs — while the people of Egypt suffered (not to mention, at the expense of U.S. taxpayers).
In the coming weeks and months a clearer picture will emerge, both of the corruption of this tyrannical regime and, more importantly, of the hopes and dreams of the people of Egypt. In the meantime, let’s celebrate this historic event as a contemporary reminder of what history has proven time-and-time again: that even those with no apparent power can topple kings from their thrones.
And when this happens non-violently, without warfare and massive bloodshed — as it has in Egypt — it reflects the teachings of Jesus and, I believe, it offers clues about the heart of God.
In the spiritually reflective (and politically subversive) words of Jesus’ mother Mary — a first century Palestinian Jewish peasant and holy woman of Islam — found in the Gospel of Luke in her poetic song, the Magnificat:
[God] has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.