Friday, February 11, 2011

Sometimes the Things We Document are Not Atrocities

This morning when I came into the office I put Al Jazeera TV on my second monitor. This has been my wont this week.

But, you know, I have a job, and I wasn't really paying attention to what they were saying. I didn't notice Sulieman coming on TV but he was there, made a short statement and then we was gone. I didn't notice. But then I heard the news reader (Adrian something) say "Mubarek has stepped down." I stopped writing the email I was on and looked to the second monitor. And it was... I don't have the words.

No one was talking or analyzing what had happened. Instead, it was just the sound of people in Tahrir Square. Never heard anything like it in my life. From thousands of miles away, without having even known that Mubarek was a dictator until earlier this week (for fucking shame, Rhem. For shame), you could feel it. It was incredible.

All day today Adrian The Al Jazeera news reader asked the reporters who were there, most of whom were Egyptian, to take their reporter hats off and tell him how they felt. I was pretty familiar with them. There was a cute reporter guy name Aymon. And a kind of tough, war correspondent type named Hoda. They'd done their dispassionate reporter thing and let us know what was happening, clued us into the important details and done it like reporters do, from a distance even though they're right in the middle. But when they were invited to take off their reporter hats each and every one said the same thing, "There are no words. It's indescribable." But you could feel it coming out of them.

Behind me, I just heard Rachel Maddow say that this is one of those days that reminds us that we're alive and that we're lucky to be here. And I'm so glad that I had my second monitor and that I decided to go to Arab TV for the story.

I know it could be scary and I know it could be Iran. But, I'm choosing (go figure) optimism. Those people in Tahrir Square today are not going to let themselves be conscripted by another tyrant. It'll be a slog and a battle, but I'm going to be paying attention.

I hope you got to hear it when it happened. It was pretty amazing.