by Seth Eisenberg
What’s going on in Egypt?
Days after Tunisian President Ben Ali fled his country amidst a popular uprising, Hosni Mubarak, the leader who has ruled Egypt with an iron fist since taking over the presidency 30 years ago following the assassination of Anwar Sadat, appears destined to join him. In the Middle East, 2011 has begun with deadly violence and turmoil as millions of people have taken to the streets to demand their freedom. Leaders in Iran, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are surely huddling to head off similar protests that have been reportedly inspired and coordinated through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that may also soon threaten regimes in Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not appear to be led by a single leader or organization, but a popular expression of the universal quest for freedom, dignity, and the opportunity to pursue life’s promise and potential.
More than 20 years ago, Virginia Satir, a visionary leader in the field of human development, summed up the rights she believed inalienable to every human being in “The Five Freedoms.”
- The freedom to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.
- The freedom to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.
- The freedom to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.
- The freedom to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.
- The freedom to take risks in your own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.
Watching minute-by-minute reports from the Middle East over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is a reminder that these freedoms remain central to the common humanity of people throughout the world.
As we pray for the safety, peace and well-being of people whose actions demonstrate the yearnings we share, their courage far away offers inspiration to embrace the meaning of each of these five freedoms within our own lives, homes, and families.
Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Weston, Florida, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.