Egypt’s young people will make the impossible possible once again
As the scorching heat of the summer gives way shyly to the sweet autumn breeze in Cairo, Egypt is capturing new rays of hope for a brighter future. This week marks Egypt’s annual celebrations of its victorious crossing of 1973. Thirty-nine years later, Egyptians have an even harder hurdle to cross: from the past into the future. There is much in Egypt’s past to propel Egypt into a great future. The challenge will be for it not to become stuck in the glory of the past, not to look backwards to avoid dealing with the ugly realities of the present. The only way to go forward is to take lessons from the past, look ahead and move on. The past is our learning reservoir; the present is how we access our learning to fulfill a future we dream of.
In the present, Egyptians are barely beginning to see their past differently. Nostalgia is at its height when hearts and minds cannot face the reality of the present and want to get back to what once was. It is happening today, as much as it was happening 30 or 60 years ago. The one generation who dared to break the deadly cycle of nostalgia for the past in exchange for a dreamy future is the turning point. The younger generations have the fortunate ability to be adventurous, to jump into the darkness to deal with the unknown and even to create new possibilities. Slowly but surely, the past will give way to the present, which will in time become yet another past and what is now the future will become the present. It is does not in any way diminish the past to move on from it, as we revere its lessons learned and honor it as having created the building blocks that pave the way to the future we dream of. It is time to let go of the past, for the past to rest.
Thirty-nine years ago, Egyptians created a miracle. They made the impossible possible. Those who dared to dream and used the energy of a painful past to drive forward into a different future are today remembered and saluted. Today, we must learn the lesson of history, to dare to dream of a different future and use the painful past and the difficult present to move ahead. Egyptians can draw many lessons from the very rich history they are blessed with. The impossible can become possible when we put our minds and hearts to it. As the old fights the old, the past will eventually settle its scores and be put to rest in the safety of history. Meanwhile the present is strong, persistent and young. The old may have the power of experience, but the new has the power of imagination and the power to make the dream come true. The young look forward, the old look backwards.
There is certainly no future without a past or a present. It’s a linked chain. When the past is perceived as the stronger link, it only offers stagnation and suffocates any hope for a better future. In the chain of human evolution and development, the past becomes weaker with time to give way to the growth of a present that informs a glorious future. Egypt has been stagnating, as it has continued to worship its past. It is time to cross into the future through a very challenging present.