I got on the elevator this morning to go to my office at AUC. I was alone with my coffee. I saw a group of about twelve janitors, both male and female, standing around in front of the elevator. My co-worker had told me that sometimes in Egypt, higher status people will not share the elevator.
Egypt is a deeply class-based society, in my opinion, and there are many moments when people jostle for status over everything from titles, to clothing, to who rides in the elevator. Well folks, not on my watch.
I am American. We hold these truths to be self evident: all men (and women) are created equal. I am “Black.” My people have been held down too long for me to hold someone else down. I am African, descended from the Mau Mau. We have to fight for the right to be free.
One of the slogans of the January 25th revolution was “bread, democracy, human dignity.” I asked all the janitors to come into the elevator. I smiled broadly and waved them in. My Arabic is not very good, but I said, “Ahlen.” Be welcome. Everyone came in, and everyone smiled and laughed. The elevator door closed, and we started moving. The revolution starts here, and it starts now.