Even when I try to not pay attention, I end up emotionally invested. My day was not good, although in the grand scheme of the subject of this post, it was nothing to talk about. I called my wife as I was leaving work and told her I was stopping by the gym to relieve some stress and my fingers punched the preset for a news station. Details about the protests of the 30 year old dictator style government in one of the most important countries in the Middle East were intriguing. The British accented radio reporter was talking over police sirens, screaming protestors, and loudspeakered activists.
I got to the gym, hit the treadmills and looked up. The televisions were showing the live CNN feeds of what was happening in the streets of Cairo. Then, in my pop cultured, music obsessed mind, the surreal images produced this revelation; "Holy crap, that looks like U2's Where The Streets Have No Name video, except, bigger and scarier, and maybe even cooler." Shallow, a little immature, and slightly ridiculous? Sure, but I'm thousands of miles away and the most important thing I had to worry about today, was getting Tay to cheerleading practice.
I am a sucker for people exercising their rights and holding their government responsible. The protests seem to be controlled and even positive. If they weren't then they'd look like a Rage Against the Machine video.
I won't debate the issues. I do think Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, ready to be deposed. I hope Egypt will recognize how important they are to stability in the region and thus having a democratic government that fights terrorism instead of harbors it is the right way to go. Since 9/11, Egypt has done as much as any country to fight Al Quaida. The point of this blog is how television images can stop you in your tracks, make you think about things a lot larger and more important than your gym workout or mildy annoying workday.
Today's song is obvious. In 1987, U2 pulled a heck of a publicity stunt, playing music on top of an L.A. building, then filming the police shutting everything down. Egypt's events are no stunt, they are the real deal of freedom colliding with government stubborness. Here's U2's Where The Streets Have No Name -