I visited Japan, almost a year after the tsunami, and after experiencing the Egyptian revolution – right from its inception, and until the moment that marked the passage of one full year from its launch, a few days ago. This makes me see Japan, see myself, see Egypt, the Arab World and the Third World at large, from a novel perspective.
The first lesson of the Egyptian revolution is that it teaches the world that the meanings of "freedom" and "dignity" and "justice" should be redefined and specified in the framework of a human absolute, since man – above all else – is an absolute entity.
The first Japanese lesson for the Egyptian revolution underscores the need to build an effective integrated system that mobilizes energies of all citizens towards common goals. In this sense, Japan is a country living in a permanent revolution since the Meiji era, and even before that.
In this visit, I found that Japan is truly a permanent and renewed revolution, because at the core of its system are creativity, innovation and rejuvenation, as well as rapid response and correction and recovery from setbacks strongly. Our revolution in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world also insists on being permanent and renewable, because its essence is sacrifice and giving, as well as response to the demands of the people and demanding reform and retribution and justice for the recovery from setbacks that plagued us for several decades.
In Egypt, we paid the price of military rule that last sixty years in the form of more oppression, tyranny, underdevelopment and economic and social failure. Japan, too, paid the price of military expansion and its colonial, empirical hegemony over its Asian surroundings in the form of an overwhelming defeat in World War II.
Japan overcame its crisis through a civil, industrial and developmental approach and a strong, cohesive and integrated society, and even became the second largest economy in the world for most of the second half of the twentieth century, and is currently in third place.
Likewise, Egypt, our beloved homeland, is now ready to overcome the oppression, tyranny, underdevelopment and the economic and social failure with the transition from military rule towards a pluralistic democratic government run by civilians. Egypt is now also ready for development, progress and social justice, because everyone will participate and play his role in the battle of construction.
Volunteers in Japan, like the volunteers in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, are the real face of noble human ??and social values which make a person get out of his own narrow ‘self’ toward integration in the total mass and work for the public interest, for giving without waiting for payback, self-denial for the benefit of everyone, without exception, ostracism or discrimination.
From Japan, and nearly a year after the tsunami, I found that "the Japanese spring" came right after the first moment of the crisis, through warmth of communication, joint work and cooperation, tireless diligence, determination to recover and overcome the crisis, and leaning towards reconstruction and revitalization. It is with values like these that the "Arab spring" will continue to lean towards re-construction and rejuvenation after the completion of the demolition of the old regime.
I was pondering our setbacks, while reading about the Arab renaissance that was never completed and the Japanese renaissance, which began at the same historical moment, but overtook the Arabs – and even the whole world – in reconstruction and the Renaissance. I learnt now that we were and still are in need to learn how construction is every person’s job and how work can engage everyone, at the same time no person attempts to claim to be the only influencing factor in the resulting achievement. This revolution we live today in the Arab world has its soul in the Japanese determination to overcome the tsunami crisis and the Fukushima reactor problem. So I was not surprised at the Japanese’s great enthusiasm for the Egyptian revolution or how they welcomed it. This makes the revolution of production and creativity our next task following the civilized, refined, socio-political revolution that we started in January 2011.
Between Egypt and Japan, there is still room for a long discussion, with the Egyptian revolution giving it tremendous impetus that was not available before.