11.02.11, the day Revolution 2.0 and seventeen days of protest brought three decades of dictatorship to an end. The day the world watched another brick of the Arab world’s Berlin Wall fall to the ground. The day tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square, watched by tens of millions of people around the world, cried out “Today the people own Egypt“. Such a dramatic time, such an incredible achievement. Time to stop, stand still, shut feel the moment, and think of all that is now past.

Because when the people of Egypt open their eyes again and look to the future, a future that starts right now, the concept of owning one’s country will have turned into an active responsibility.

But what does that really mean? How do a people, eighty million in this case, ‘own’ their country?

Importantly, it means that the people of the nation must not just feel a euphoric sense of love and loyalty to the flag, they must demonstrate absolute commitment to the process of rebuilding their nation, working to build a new nation. One by one by one.

For any nation, the start of that process is picking up the fallen bricks of where the wall collapsed. Infrastructure of past regimes needs to be dismantled. New systems, structures and principles of social unification and transformation need to be defined, setting the foundations for the new vision and spirit of the people. And new leadership needs to be identified.

All of this, each new brick, takes time to be put in place. Care is needed to ensure that each new brick connects to the others, sitting firmly, adding strength, joined with shared purpose.

The mortar, the material that holds it all together, determining whether the bricks of the new system and structure will stand firmly to serve its purpose, or will weaken and fall, are the people of the nation. Only the purest of materials can create a mortar strong enough to endure the task ahead: honesty, determination, vision, commitment, confidence, sincere and selfless love of country and faith.

At first, the mortar must find its rightful place amongst the bricks, and then, with time, allowed to solidify and make a meaningful contribution. Brick by brick by brick.

The process of rebuilding will not work unless there is absolute commitment, by each and every national, towards collective creation. And towards collective, ongoing ownership. Ownership will demand not just strength to build, but strength to keep the new structures strong, serving their purpose in serving the people, for now and for the next generation.

To own a country is work, hard work. And unending responsibility.

But for those who have fought for their right to hold a brick in their own hands, and then place it in a position that will connect them to their future, it is the epitome of a labour of love.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2011