Nicholas Kristof of The NY Times interviewed two brave women in Liberty Square, Cairo last week (2/3/11). Brave because they were out on the streets, surrounded by thousands of mostly male demonstrators, not concerned about their own safety and subject to the attacks of pro-Government armed men crashing in on horses and camels.
These two sisters Amal and Minna, “had their heads covered in the conservative Muslim style, and they looked timid and frail as thugs surrounded them, jostled them, shoute
d at them.”
But these two “stood their ground. They explained calmly to the mob why they favored democratic reform. . .”
“We need democracy in Egypt,” they told Kristof. “We want what you have.”
They and their brothers want what we too often take for granted: the rights guaranteed in those first ten amendments, guaranteeing us all the freedom to dare, to dream, to question authority and wonder about possible worlds we can create and inhabit, “here, th
ere and everywhere.”
Amal and Minna remind me of Christina Taylor Green, that all too young nine year old gunned down in Tucson as she stood listening to congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. All she wanted was to learn more about our democracy, how we can work together to live a good life, everybody potentially able to live out a dream.
She should live on in our collective memories as an example of childhood curiosity, wonder , trust and enthusiasm!
President Obama elevated her curiosity to national heights:
“I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us, we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”
What were Christina’s expectations? That she could observe her government at work on the corner, that she could, if patient enough, someday participate at a state or national level as she was doing in her own school’s Student Council. That maybe she could be one of thos
e people who works to help others live as she had, growing up with loving parents, a splendid brother, a terrific school that challenged her to imagine life as full of possibilities and a community that cared about all of its citizens. She probably knew how fortunate she was.
Christina probably wanted what most of us want, to raise our hands with questions about something that is mysterious, intriguing, puzzling about our world—how people did or didn’t live in harmony, what was that "Milky Way" spread out so brightly over Tucson’s warm evenings, how do animals think, and what makes some music so weird!
With a grandfather and father in baseball, I imagine Christina loved the rough and tumble of various sports, playing them for the sheer joy of participating, dreaming of winning, learning to live with the losses, but always laughing up the thrill of being on a team.
I’m sure Christina loved reading, escaping with a good story that took her “lands away,” into Narnia, away with Charlotte into that web and way, way off to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
And I imagine she loved exploring the landscapes around Tucson, skipping, laughing and dancing her way toward what e.e. cummings called that
“. . .keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where
it’s Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves”
God bless you, Christina Taylor Green!