Liberation Ain’t Square! (Except when it is, I guess)

This is about Tahrir – and the meaning of the word and the square.

It has been my great privilege to live through the Arab Spring with my eyes firmly on Twitter, which is one of the sites where the action was taking place.

I watched, with tears of joy running down my cheeks and streaming through my keyboard, as nation after nation rose up against the tyranny oppressing it. I watched Tunisia shake off its dictator first, and Libya try, and Egypt – oh, Egypt, Egypt, my heart leapt from my chest and messed up the screen something FIERCE when watching the reports from Tahrir Square.

Tahrir means liberation. It is the name of a square in downtown Cairo, where brave citizens went and sat, sat, sat for liberty. Mubarak sent his thugs, some on camel-back, and I watched the videos streaming, live, from Tahrir square. I watched Al Jazeera (a pretty good source of news, certainly better than anything I’ve seen in the U.S.) while the speeches were announced; I watched when Mubarak stepped down, and was arrested.

The whole while my heart sang Tahrir! Tahrir!

The modern Hebrew cognate is “herut” (liberty), which happens to be the core political party in the odious right-wing Likud. I know that pretty words can cover ugly truths. And yet, my heart sings:

Tahrir. Better Tahrir than a blood-spilling Thawra (revolution). Tahrir, for all.