- Category: News
03 Feb 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
NNPA News Service
The cry for change and freedom across Egypt sheds a prophetic light on the future of the entire continent of Africa. As the media from around the world continues to be focused on the massive street demonstrations that called for a change of the leadership in Egypt, it is incumbent for African Americans to see the broader implications.
Egypt, one of the oldest nations in the world, has a diverse population of more than 80 million people. While the Western media characterizes Egypt as an Arab nation located in the Middle East, it is actually located in Northern Africa.
African people on the continent and throughout the Diaspora of African people should be interested in the ultimate outcome. In the 21st century, the masses of people in Egypt and throughout Africa are demanding an end to centuries of poverty. All governments should be critically aware that the elimination of poverty has to be a top priority. The failure of political leaders to take effective steps to end poverty will only certainly encourage the cry and demand for political change.
Young people have led the march toward change. The youth of Africa are demanding and taking social action for change. Such was the case in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast and in the Sudan.
How are the youth taking social action?
First through the use of the Internet and social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other Internet services. The first peaceful street protests in Egypt were actually organized by the April 6 Youth Movement.
My point here is to emphasize, once again, the importance of youth consciousness and youth activism. Whether it is in Africa, Europe, Asia, or in the Americas, the youth of the world are justified in their demands and actions to end poverty, corruption, war and injustice. The youth of Egypt should be saluted for their sense of moral and political outrage matched with their ability to use technology in a sustained, disciplined manner.
The emerging leadership of new youthful leaders is encouraging. When the government of Egypt led by President Hosni Mubarak made a decision early in the crisis to cut off the Internet access to millions of Egyptians, it only showed the Egyptians and others throughout the world how useful the Internet can be as a tool to bring about social change.
Of course, we all remember how useful and game-changing it was in 2008 for the election of President Barack Obama to use the Internet and social media to mobilize millions of new young voters. But, the Tea Party and others in opposition to President Obama will be using that same technology to spread their messages. Millions of African American, Latino and other youth who are witnessing what is now taking place in Egypt must remember that 2012 is a year away and their voices and votes need to be counted in the next national elections.
We should learn from the situation in Egypt. We should be more than a distant witness. We offer our prayers and support to the people of Egypt. We hope that the transition will serve the interests and aspirations of the Egyptian people. The cry for human freedom and a better way of life is a universal cry. Because of our history, as an African people, we cannot and should not ever turn a deaf ear to others who yearn and struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. We stand in solidarity with our Egyptian brothers and sisters.
(Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is Senior Advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options and President of Education Online Services Corporation.)