by Ron Kenner
Los Angeles, Calif.
February 10, 2011
THE VOICE OF THE MOMENT
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10, 2011 -- Until the current massive uprising in Egypt, who could have guessed? Wow! Did you watch or read the news yesterday? Thrilling! Stunning!
The future in Egypt remains highly uncertain. But who - at least those who believe that no one should go hungry, that all deserve justice and a decent life, that repression is unacceptable - could not enjoy the special moment in Tahrir Square?
These were unforgettable moments - like Pavarotti hitting a high note. Watching people crowding in from the larger crowd as a father began swinging his kid around in the square (what some now call "Freedom Square") as the people chanted, "Freedom! Freedom!" was incredibly moving.
And that's not all, by a long shot. It seemed a special moment for the media, too.
The people were speaking, and being reported on. Bravo to CNN and NBC News for devoting so much airtime to them.
It seemed a far cry from the nearly three decades of the Vietnam War media coverage, during which time I can't recall a mainstream interview with a single Vietnamese peasant.
It was like Susan Boyle seemingly rising out of a frumpy life and gaining global recognition as someone special. As if, you might say, suddenly there was a new recognition that humanity counts - and perhaps a new sense, too, that we better be careful who we underestimate.
The last time I recall comparable reporting in the media was at the time of Hurricane Katrina - when even some of the more objective or neutral professionals seemed to cast aside normal reservations and speak in a new voice; their own, about what they felt and saw - telling it like it is, you might say.
At least for now, or for last night, and even in the mainstream media, the man on the street in Egypt seemed to be gaining a new, sturdier voice. Let's hope it lasts.
So times do or can change. So it was with Terry Moran, on Nightline last night. In a masterful report on the happenings in Egypt, and especially Tahrir Square, he concluded, "It's a privilege to be here."
In one of my favorite novels, The Plague, by Albert Camus, even the dedicated doctors (the protagonists) who had been doing whatever they could to help in the most desperate times, took time out to take a swim.
Indeed, the current moment and the future remain uncertain, potentially perilous. We might as well enjoy whatever special moments we can.
Ron Kenner is a book editor who formerly worked for the Metro staff of the Los Angeles Times. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org