Why We Need to Speak Up Now

By: Farah Sultan

On the 5th of May 2018, a master piece by the name of “This is America” was released to the world by the multi-talented genius that is Donald Glover under his musical alias Childish Gambino. The video uses symbolism to ever so eloquently expose the atrocities that are taking place in the United States of America. From gun control to racism to the use of media as a distraction, the musical video has left no issue untouched. After watching it for about 10 times, I started to wonder what if a video like this was released here in our beloved country Egypt.

The first thought that popped in my head was that Childish Gambino would be khalas, because, you know, how dare he criticize what our esteemed government and our not-at-all retrograded norms and values deem as appropriate? Unfortunately, we live in a country where the saying “only dead fish go with the flow” cannot be more wrong. It’s 2018 and people who go against the status quo often pay for their “crimes” with their life.

How many times have you, as a young Egyptian citizen, tried to just understand something that is only remotely related to politics only to receive death stares and un-approving murmurs from adults around you? How many times has an adult used the age-card in an attempt to shut you up when you made some valid points in a political argument? How many times have you openly stated an opinion that goes under the label “controversial” to find people warning you; asking you to stay quiet and stay safe? I can answer that. More times than there should’ve been.

Now I’m not asking you to start a revolution god forbid; all I’m saying is that we should be allowed to exercise our right to freedom of speech without fearing ostracism, prison and, yes, death. Activists and journalists- who have been on a quest to unearth all the deeply buried secrets and scandals of this country in order to strive towards progress- have been slowly disappearing one by one. Despite this being used as a tactic to make those who speak up ygeebo wara, I refuse to allow this act of monstrosity to scare me. I will stand my ground until it crumbles under me. I will never ever let anyone or anything prevent me from standing up for what I think is right.

You shouldn’t too.

The previous people of this country have grown accustomed to turning their faces away when mischievous events take place. They have grown accustomed to accepting their surroundings without ever thinking of criticizing the wrongs of it. We are living proof that calling out BS in the system does not mean hating the country. We are living proof that what drives people to shed light on taboo issues in our society is not the urge to distort the beauty of our home but rather our love and need to better it.

I encourage you to be active. I encourage you to be well-read on what goes on around you. I encourage you to dabble in politics and formulate a better understanding of it because god knows we need more people in the field who actually know what they’re doing. In the end, I just want to remind you, you may be young but what you do now is what determines how the future will be.

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