On January 18th, 2011, then-25 year-old Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz (أسماء محفوظ) put this video up on Facebook imploring people to come to Tahrir Square on January 25th. I do not need to tell you what happened next.
This video is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen. And to be clear, I do not mean the “social media” aspect — Mark Zuckerberg did not actually play any role in the regime change in Egypt. I mean the courage/insanity of Asmaa Mahfouz to show her face saying the things she is saying, under a regime that disappears and tortures people for free speech (“disappear” is very much a transitive verb in Egypt). Here is a young woman, from a part of the world where we are constantly told women are treated like little more than cattle, practically taunting men to have the balls that she has. She later vowed to run for parliament, but dropped out when it was clear that elections shouldn’t be taking place amidst the continued violent crackdown on protests by the military. She even paid a visit to Occupy Wall Street in October.
On this January 25th, let’s give Asmaa Mahfouz some respect. We all could learn a thing or two from her.