Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away

collaborative comic by DOMITILLE COLLARDEY and SARAH GLIDDEN

Domitille and I decided to take the day off today and make this comic while we watched people celebrating in Tahir square:

by Domitille Collardey and Sarah Glidden

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92 Responses to Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away

  1. Ramy says:

    Thank you so much for this great work! I’m Egyptian and you put one more smile on my face in this historical day. I’m never happier when I see that there are people supporting Egypt just for the sake of freedom. Thank you once again and long live freedom!

    • It’s the least we could do, Ramy! This was such an inspiring event and we’re thrilled for you all!
      <3 from Brooklyn!

      • Damian Roy says:

        Thank you! Thank you for describing absolutely perfectly my last two weeks and all of the attendant emotions. I could not have written a diary more accurately for myself than this cartoon has. In fact, I hope you don’t mind but I will copy and paste this to people who send me an email asking how I’ve been. I am sure that I am not alone in doing so. You really hit the nail on the head.

        To all my distant Egyptian relatives… Congratulations one and all for your bravery and your restraint. You are truly the most inspiring group I will likely to ever see in my life. Stay true to the spirit of demanding your rights over what I am sure will be a rocky period.

        Yours in unity,

        Damian Roy
        Australia

    • chot says:

      Congratulation…i’m very happy and really proud on what have happened in Egypt evethough i’m not Egyptian but i’m part of egypt…my previous stage of study…, my wish Egypt will have new environment and lifestyle resulted from good governor…always with you Egypt..

  2. M says:

    THe best part was when you made the tribulations of an entire nation all about you.

    • Kevin Church says:

      It’s autobiography, not an journalistic piece about Egypt, and it’s on her own website, so you know, more power to her.

      Honestly, if anyone’s proven themselves capable of actual narrative journalism in comics, it’s Sarah Glidden, and I hope she gets the chance to do something with these events, just as she did in How To Understand Israel In 60 Days.

      Meanwhile, all you’ve done is proven that you don’t understand that people don’t have to make the art that you want.

    • eric says:

      I wouldn’t have phrased it as harshly as M did, but unfortunately I have to agree with the sentiment. I am sure the intentions were good and sincere, but learning anything significant and true about a nation and its people takes so much more than following the news for a few days or weeks. I think you realized that too, when it struck you that you could so easily put the conflict out of your mind. That’s because it isn’t your conflict and it isn’t about you. As you admitted, you were only interested when it was a means for you to feel good about something that had nothing to do with you, like watching an upbeat movie.

      This is not a movie, it is people’s lives. I wish no one would co-opt either the suffering or the jubilation of other people like this. You’re by far not the only one who does this, but you did it here. This comic made me sad.

      • Keddren says:

        Then you obviously missed the point, and that makes me sad.

        This is my sad face. :(

      • WhitneyD says:

        I’m sorry, but I think you’re completely misinterpreting the intent of this. This was purely a diary piece- her take on the events. We don’t know what they knew before hand, nor is it 100% relevant. This was her reaction, interest, involvement.

        She was critical about how easy it was to forget about it and go back to life.

        If this were anything other than an autobio piece, I might agree. But it isn’t the story of the protestors, it’s about Sarah.

      • WhitneyD says:

        Er, it’s about them. Must reread comments before hitting post.

      • Adan says:

        I think it was “injustice any where is injustice everywhere”, that Martin Luther Jr. said. For Glidden, I think she did the best she could, just support those people and show that you want them to get what they want. Thank you Glidden, it is people like you that we need.

    • Adam says:

      Yeah, just like how Art Spiegelman made 9/11 all about him, and Marjane Satrapi made the Iranian revolution all about her. No matter the circumstances, writing about your own experiences of a historical event is always selfish and pointless. Bravo, M!

      • broth says:

        uhm…you know that satrapi actually experienced the iranian revolution first-hand, right? i don’t write this with the intention of downplaying this comic here, i’m just saying there is a VERY obvious difference.

      • Kristen says:

        “No matter the circumstances, writing about your own experiences of a historical event is always selfish and pointless.”

        What an completely odd and groundless thing to say. For centuries historical autobiography has been a critical device for understanding how individuals perceive and respond to important events around them, and therefore essential to historical study.

        William Godwin wrote, “[Individual history] enables us to view minutely and in detail what to the uninstructed eye was too powerful to be gazed at; and, by tracing the progress of the virtuous and the wise from its first dawn to its meridian lustre, shows us that they were composed of materials merely human.” I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about the subject as well.

  3. Quite the Pundint says:

    Let’s see how happy you are for your friends in Egypt once the Islamist theocracy is in place. Mubarak’s “reign” will seem like the good old days.

    • Robin says:

      Democracy isn’t defined as “people voting for regimes that favour the West.”

      Your comment indicates that you don’t really know much about the Islamic Brotherhood (I assume that’s who you’re referring to? Or did you just assume dark skin=”Islamist theocracy”?), or Mubarak.

      • tfhackett says:

        Or did most of the rest of the world assume Egypt – Mubarak = “freedom and democracy”? I’ll feel happy for Egypt once I see something positive has been established there. Right now it’s uncertain and scary.

    • John Browne says:

      I suppose the writer here, Pundint, has no personal experience of Egyptian “security forces” (&/or the police)… but if you want a comparison, and you hurry there, there may still be time. ^..^

    • Nathaniel says:

      “I was told: ‘We are all in this together. Muslims and Christians.’ Other people were listening and nodding. ‘One hand, one hand,’ the crowd roared … The sign of the crescent embracing the cross was everywhere: From the careful calligraphy of the handmade placards, to slogans picked out in stones on the floor.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12407793

      We don’t know yet what the new Egyptian government will look like, but this has very explicitly been a nonsectarian movement. I can’t help but wonder why you’re so eager to jump to dire, unsupported conclusions.

    • Selim K. says:

      (thanks for the cartoon!)

      hi jerk, you and your hypocrite friends (Obama, EU, UN, Sarah Palin, Fox News, etc) do know one thing: as long as the simple truth you believe in (market capitalism and parliamentary democracy to cloak oligarchy) is shown naught, devoid of liberties (oh yes in US we are suffused with freedom, the only freedom we have is to finger ourselves) you guys start attacking and targeting a group which becomes the referent of all the signifiers within the field of strategic possibilities. If I know one shit, this is the mirror image of the sovereignty structure we are caged in: only here in the West conceptual imperalism’s are taken to be truth. We have freedom and democracy, but their practice is taken away from us constitutionally. The only politics you guys know is based on policing, rather than politics.

      Get used to democratic Muslims, read http://ikhwanweb.com/ like it or not they are more democratic than you, stop listening IDF propaganda. Oh, maybe you are one of the thousands of IDF paid social propaganda dummies, huh?

  4. Sarah says:

    Beautiful comic ladies! Simple, sweet, and full of sincerity.

    and to some of the previous comments, I think it’s wonderful that in a country where global awareness is discouraged over paying attention to what celebrity is wearing what or having babies, some people of my generation are paying attention to the world outside our borders. And to top it off, making beautiful art encouraging others to want to do the same. I see it as nothing but a good thing.

  5. laila says:

    Wow, it didn’t take long for the Trolls to arrive! Viva the Internet!

    Love the comic, ladies. Also loved following along with you both on Twitter. It’s been amazing to watch the people of Egypt do something so magnificent.

  6. indrifan says:

    I am pretty ignorant about Egypt, and I have to admit that I was rooting for the protesters partly because most of the people in the US speaking against them were real jerks. I’m very glad that the transition has been relatively non-violent so far, and I hope that continues. I’m concerned about the aftermath, but just on the general principal that some revolutions have historically taken unpredictable and sometimes ugly turns.

    I’m a big fan of everybody at PI, and I love how you are both willing to share your passion and your sense of helplessness (and your beautiful art). Even though I am not so emotionally involved in the events in Egypt, it reminds me of how I felt in the early 80s during the crisis in Poland.

  7. Holly says:

    Story of my life for the past several days. Thank you for this. It is fascinating how the character of the news and your connection to it is so different when you’re getting your news directly from people living it. I had been skeptical of twitter, but after this experience that has changed.

  8. Ali says:

    Sarah,

    As an Egyptian-American, I wanted to say thank you! As Ramy said, you have added another smile to my already happy face today. You encapsulated so very well, and so creatively I may add, the global nature of this momentous event. I had some of my American friends tell me how they too cried when they heard the news and it made me so happy to see the world come together – even if for a few moments – to celebrate the strength of the human spirit and the yearn for freedom.

    As for the trolls, it is sad to see some people who can never share a joyous moment. Even as an American citizen (with a clear accent when I speak Arabic) I too tasted the fear of the security forces there in Egypt as have a number of my friends there. I am shocked that any sane human being can be in Mubarak’s corner after seeing how he treated the protesters by releasing the violent inmates from prison to do his dirty deeds in front of the whole world. Attacking journalists, torturing protest leaders – we all had a chance to see how low he could go and to understand the plight of the people and their united hatred for him.

    Thank you again for sharing these amazing days and moments, thank you for caring enough to make this wonderful cartoon and thank you for your support and love.

  9. Andy B says:

    I too have watched, like millions of Americans, in real time. It is not my country, but my heart sings, because I am watching true sincerity, and right action: patriotic, non-violent, steadfast, smart. I pray the Revolution brings Egyptians all goodness. I am blessed to have observed, because in observing my heart opens.

  10. Ninoska says:

    The new Egypt will be whatever the people want it to be.

  11. Yaser says:

    As an Egyptian-American, those are pretty much the exact emotions I went through watching the events unfold. I could not focus on my studies at all, always looking for up to the date information on twitter, cousins’ facebook, and Al Jazeera Live blog. Those sites basically consumed a week of my life, and at certain times I thought Mubarak and his goons would win by weathering the situation until protesters gave up. Thank God I was wrong, and hopefully true democracy will come.

    P.S. Great article ;)

  12. Richard Strachan says:

    Great cartoon & empathy. You got it right and your feelings are shared by many many people all over the world.
    Thank you

  13. Assaf says:

    Thank you Sarah!

    You have described so nicely the 18 days I’ve experienced too!

    My wife and youngest son went to visit home in Israel 30 days ago, and they will return (Inshallah) in 3 days, leaving behind them a completely different Middle East from the one they landed in.
    Many Israelis misguidedly fear and resent the developments, but my I feel that after a very dark decade in Israel-Palestine, and an even longer darker period in Egypt and other neighbors, hope has finally returned. Such a sweet feeling.

    And the most beautiful thing is that it was done by ordinary people like you and me. People we can relate to and pray for their success, over 18 days and nights and on into the future.

    Shukran Ya Misr!

  14. Affan says:

    This strip by Sarah and Domitille acutely shows how people around the world who rooted for the people of Egypt went through. For democracy and its well-being this revolution was too big to fail. This revolution was a much needed antidote for all the atrocities that are being committed in the national security and stability.
    Yes, there were people who felt that the revolution might have failed. But don’t forget that these people were under Mubarak’s rule for 30 years, suffering under his fist rule and US teargas (Political or any other form of dissent was not tolerated). My only worry was whether this peaceful protest was going to turn bloody.
    The comments by those who support Mubarak gives me an idea why people like Sarah Palin gets elected, why there is a Guantanamo, why there are wars and why people in the land of the free are losing civil liberties.

  15. Affan says:

    This strip by Sarah and Domitille acutely shows how people around the world who rooted for the people of Egypt went through. For democracy and its well-being this revolution was too big to fail. This revolution was a much needed antidote for all the atrocities that are being committed in the national security and stability.

    Yes, there were people who felt that the revolution might have failed. But don’t forget that these people were under Mubarak’s rule for 30 years, suffering under his fist rule and US teargas (Political or any other form of dissent was not tolerated). When a who nation is united and when the ratio of army to civilan in the square is 40000:1, my only worry was whether this peaceful protest was going to turn bloody. Victory was theirs the moment they were boldly united to bring the tyrant down.

    The comments by those who support Mubarak gives me an idea why people like Sarah Palin gets elected, why there is a Guantanamo, why there are wars and why people in the land of the free are losing civil liberties.

  16. Affan says:

    This strip by Sarah and Domitille acutely shows how people around the world who rooted for the people of Egypt went through. For democracy and its well-being this revolution was too big to fail. This revolution was a much needed antidote for all the atrocities that are being committed in the name of national security and stability.

    Yes, there were people who felt that the revolution might have failed. But don’t forget that these people were under Mubarak’s rule for 30 years, suffering under his fist rule and US teargas (Political or any other form of dissent was not tolerated). When a who nation is united and when the ratio of army to civilan in the square is 40000:1, my only worry was whether this peaceful protest was going to turn bloody. Victory was theirs the moment they were boldly united to bring the tyrant down.

    The comments by those who support Mubarak gives me an idea why people like Sarah Palin gets elected, why there is a Guantanamo, why there are wars and why people in the land of the free are losing civil liberties.

  17. rooj alwazir says:

    you couldn’t have said it any better. Absolutely love.

  18. Wood says:

    Democracy isn’t there yet for Egypt (the powers being in the hands of the army, ruled by a close friend of Mubarak’s, Marshall Tantawi) but still, this looks like a big step forward, even for and old skeptical cynic like me.

    Knowing all the social tensions going on in Egypt, I always expected the country to erupt into a civil war any time, and so far this hasn’t been the case. People were killed, but it’s not yet what you could call a bloodbath. So that, at least, is a good thing.

  19. KKRenis says:

    Sorry to say it, but if you think this is the end (or a new beginning, w/e), it’s not.

    This is the Egyptian people’s “Mission Accomplished”. They’ll regret it in 5 years when they realise they’re still under de facto rule of the Egyptian military, which has been using Mubarak as its figurehead for the 30 years he supposedly “ruled”. Also, if you think it’s in the Egyptian military’s interest to have a civilian democratic regime, well… I have an immensely lucrative canal to sell you.

    There is no such thing as an 18 day revolution, and this was just the first step in a game that will be ongoing for years to come.

    Unfortunately, it seems most people have attention spans best measured in days :)

    And the west is especially good at forgetting things involving brown people (of any shade).

  20. Norbert says:

    Same feelings here in Munich as described by you. Thanks a lot!!!
    And: Congratulations Egypt! All the best for the next steps!!!

  21. Tui says:

    Thank you for this charmingly illustrated story which shows how people all around the world were following the events in Egypt and going on an emotional rollercoaster in empathy with them. Me too, I discovered AlJazeera live, twitter feeds, blog updates, links to Youtube videos put up almost instantly events happened. Because it was night here in New Zealand and daytime in Egypt, I had many a very late night following events online. Always filled with deep respect and admiration for the courage, determination, creativity and unity shown by the Egyptian people. Today I danced with them in joy. What they have achieved will resonate around – not just the Middle East – but the whole world!
    Long live the power of peaceful, organised, non-violent mass protest!

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  23. pfletch says:

    Your diary looks so much better than mine! Great cartoons. I had hoped to get my life back on Pacific Standard time instead of Cairo time. But i see that some Algerians hope to become the third Middle Eastern country to oust a dictator, starting today. So, it’s back to watching Al Jazeera, BBC, Twitter, etc., and staying up all night “so i can keep them safe.” :-)

  24. drhaisook says:

    What a beautiful, well-written comic!

    I’m from Egypt and I couldn’t imagine that people outside of the Middle East would care about what was going on here, but I was wrong. I think a lot of people everywhere support freedom for the sake of freedom, and this is great.

    Thanks again!

  25. Elizabeth C. says:

    Thanks for the cartoon! I went through practically the same – except that I didn’t get a few days off in the middle. I sometimes feared the movement would fail – but never for more than a moment, or an hour.

    The biggest thanks of all, of course, go to the people of Egypt, with a special shout-out to the community organizers who have been working for years laying a foundation. What the people of Egypt accomplished in the last two and a half weeks shows us, or reminds us, what people are capable of – not just the strength of People Power, but also the deep love and compassion that make it possible – almost inevitable – and so beautiful.

    To the trolls: The author didn’t make the events in Egypt all about herself – she made the cartoon all about herself.

    She depicts how she experienced what was happening, and in doing so, strikes a chord within those of us who had a similar experience. She also gives anyone who cares to read this an inside look at how the new media make the world smaller. And I gather that the people more directly involved do not feel like this type of depiction is an attempt to co-opt their efforts. So get over yourselves, trolls, and stop trying to pull people down into your unhappy worlds.

  26. Lisa in Chicago says:

    This graphic story describes exactly what we did here in Chicago. We had our ups and downs watching Al Jazeera English, checking our Twitter feeds constantly, getting up at 2:00 am to check what was happening, carrying our IPhones in our pockets so we could check the news every chance during the day. It was so appalling to view those horribly, deranged thugs on horses and camels with their swords and machetes. It was like watching something out of the time of the Crusades, only this was finally the beginning of the end for a corrupt, incompetent, immoral regime. The regime ultimately fell to the honesty, dignity and beauty of the peaceful and very brave demonstrators. We will be watching the months ahead very closely.

  27. Aaron Aarons says:

    As much as I feel supportive of the popular struggle in Egypt, I feel like screaming that there has not yet been a revolution, but only a minimal series of reforms in response to a massive popular movement. It reminds me of the so-called “People Power Revolution” in the Philippines in 1986 that led, after the ouster of the dictator Marcos, to a regime under an elected President, Corazon Aquino, that was even more repressive and murderous, via the use of paramilitary death squads, than the Marcos dictatorship had been.

    When the secret police have been dismantled with their leaders in jail or otherwise terminated, the power of the high commands of the military and police have been broken, the state-controlled unions have been taken over or discarded, and factories seized, by the workers, and the U.S. and Israel are totally freaking out, then we’ll know there’s been a revolution.

  28. Abdulmalik says:

    Beautiful piece! You just shared my thoughts (and actions) as well. For those who go weak-kneed at the mention of the Muslim Brotherhood, what are you scared of? A name? C’moon, haven’t the people of Egypt already made it clear they know what’s best for them? If its the Brotherhood they choose, then so be it. Good for them. Unless that ain’t good for you, which doesn’t matter anyway…

  29. readerfromde says:

    I also watchen Al Jazeera the whole night, when the thugs attacked on wednesday. It was like if you switch off the pc, anything could happen, so someone had to watch this! It looked, and, was, very bad, but then finally this person called in on AJ and said, we have these barricades, and we have pushed them back, we did it, and I saw the twitpics of bandaged people who had returned to the battle, and they had made it through the night, defended democracy, and I was so happy. Because, seriously, if they had lost Tahrir square that night, the revolution might have been crushed. Be wise, build your country as you wish, include everyone, do never forget those brave and often poor people, that defended you that night. And when building your country, look out for mistakes other countries made before, and do not repeat them. Thanks for changing the world!

  30. Mischi R says:

    Beautiful, you summed it up. Thank you for this.

  31. Karen L. Lew says:

    The strip was a visual of my life for the past two weeks. I only slept when I could no longer stay awake. Otherwise, I was glued to my computer, to Al Jazeera. Not only was I cheering for the protestors, but I was learning so much (still am; I haven’t stopped watching and won’t until the demands are met and there is a new constitution and a new government) about Egypt and the Middle East. And, like the illustrators, I now find it so “unreal” to go back to my everyday life as it was. I also find U.S. news media and their content, for the most part, trivial and boring. I feel as if I have gotten a new life . . . and I’m almost 69 years old. Thanks to all and congratulations to the people of Egypt.

    Karen L. Lew,
    Lynnwood, Washington USA

  32. diana says:

    I second Karen L’s comments. Karen, nicely said! I also feel like I’ve gotten a new life thanks to the tenacious people of Egypt. I now am so much more interested in what’s going on in the ME and have discovered so many new ways to follow events in the region. Like this comic, the bloggers and new tweeters that I discovered, refract world affairs through their own experiences – not making it about them, but bringing the human dimension to the abstract headlines – so much easier to relate to. I too feel like I have made friends, and the news is always more vivid when one knows people directly affected.

    Ignore the haters, great comic, great job!

  33. MichaelEdits says:

    An extremely accurate portrayal of what it was like watching the story unfold from far away and actually caring what was happening.

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  35. Jim Higgins says:

    Sarah and Domitille certainly have the right to post a comic about their own experiences on their own website. It’s a diary comics not hard journalism (and the art is lovely).

    Though some of the people who’ve been called trolls here had some unnecessarily harsh words, somewhere in there some good points were made. It’s certainly premature to make any kind of positive or negative statement about what the future holds. The military’s reported to have similar ideas as many of the protesters, but what they’ll actually do is uncertain. There are some confusing and unclear posts above about the Muslim Brotherhood but from what I understand the protests arose partly out of them being suppressed and kept out of recent elections. Unfortunately, there is a conservative element within that group that sees the institution of sharia law as something that should happen. Plus, though the very radical-allied with al Queda- Eqyptian Islamic Jihad apparently hasn’t been active within the country for years, they’re still there. The possibility of a government that is essentially a fundamentalist Islamic one coming into power exists and as someone else said it’s a pretty scary thought.

    I’d like to see another comic that’s less simple. Instead of just expressing feelings of surprise and concern and basic hope, I’d like to see Sarah and Domitille discuss and illustrate what they thought about some of the specific news they saw and heard, what they think about the US leaders responses, and what they learned about Egypt from watching and listening to that much about it.

  36. Malak says:

    Beautiful work indeed, and I do recognize the good intentions behind it.
    But in fact, more than anything, it presents a very accurate and troubling portait of a whole culture that approaches politics and social change as it would the final match of the FIFA world cup.
    The comment from the narrator saying there was nothing more they could do but follow the events unfold online is very telling. As citizens of the United States, there are so many other things you could and should have done. When will the American citizens take responsibility for what their governement does all over the world in their name, and with their tax money? Each and every American paid to support the Mubarak regime for the last 30 years. Egyptian protesters have been beaten and killed with weapons made in America and paid for with American money. When will Americans stop looking at what is going on abroad as something happening to others thousand of miles away and totally disconnected from their own reality. We are all interconected. And we’re all responsible, by our action or inaction, for the injustice that goes on all over the world. If there is one thing that people in America should learn from Egyptians, is that you actually have the power to change things, that you can actually do more than simply watch history unfold on your screen. Stop being a simple spectator, a mere consumer of information, emotions, and “reality” entertainment. Become an actor at last. Commit yourself.
    Did you know that the gap between rich and poor (one of the main triggers of the egyptian protests) is widder in the US than in Egypt? Did you know that the number of prisonners per capita is by far higher in the States than any where else in the world? Did you know that 1 in 8 (or is it now 1 in 7?) American depends on food stamps? Why is it that most Americans think such a situation is acceptable?
    Now that we’ve all had our historical revolutionary moment by proxy, don’t you think it’s time that we stop staring at the screen (of our laptop, ipod, cellpone, ipad, tv, etc.) and for once really look in the mirror, really take a good look at the situation in our own country (as well as at the destruction our nation has caused all over the world) and ask oursleves what we are going to do about it? Are we forever going to remain spectators of our own lives, or are we going to follow the courageous example of our sisters and bothers in Egypt and take our faith in our own hands?

    • indrifan says:

      The truth, sad and ugly if you insist on seeing it that way, is that the US is already a working democracy, and for the most part we resolve our issues by shouting at each other rather than shooting each other. You say a lot of true things about the faults of American foreign policy and domestic economic policy; but for all their odious faults and stretches of the constitution, every single President and Congressperson in the history of United States left office peacefully and on time when they were voted out of office. Anybody who thinks democracy is guaranteed to solve all problems is deluded. It is merely the fairest method we’re come up with so far to address the problems.

      • Obnoxious Canadian says:

        “[E]very single President and Congressperson in the history of United States left office peacefully and on time when they were voted out of office.”

        Nixon?

        Also, loved the comic. Great work!

      • Wood says:

        “every single President and Congressperson in the history of United States left office peacefully and on time when they were voted out of office.”

        Really ?

        How about Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy ?

      • indrifan says:

        I assume you guys are just looking for pedant points. They’re free on the internet; help yourselves!

        No U.S. President has cancelled an election, called in the army to stay in office, or otherwise stayed in office after they were voted out. The Presidents who left before they were voted out did so because they died before they were voted out. Except Nixon, who I think is an excellent example of why I think the U.S., flawed as it is, is a mostly working democracy. We had a President who attempted to steal an election (probably unnecessarily, as it turned out), was caught at it, and basically resigne before he could be fired. I won’t go into Bush/Gore – the whole thing was an ugly mess, but that’s more a reflection of the stupidity of the Electoral College system.

    • KFL says:

      I’m an American who knows all of the statistics you’ve listed and would love to change them. What do you suggest I do?

  37. lu says:

    yeah this is very simplistic “congratulations Egypt” and now you go back to your lives like it’s all over. this is just the beginning of a very tenuous and difficult road that could end up with the likes of the Taliban ruling the country. you don’t know. and I wonder if you really care. such a Hollywood ending for you. they fall in love, they kiss, happy ending, fade out.

    it’s a trendy topic you didn’t care about Tunisia or their success the way you do about Egypt. because Egypt is a US ally and so the US media paid attentiohatShat about Yemen? Syria? Jordan? you’re just documenting your feelings like a travel journal and you blog It like we’re supposed to care and applaud you. Tourists.

  38. Ahmed Nader says:

    This made me smile, it’s nice to know how this revolution changed people.
    I did not follow it on the news…I was there and I’m proud to say that I am Egyptian. I’m sorry if my comment here didn’t fill you up on first hand experience but I myself cannot fully comprehend what happened -I’m also a bit traumatized. But if you really wanna know, I wrote a piece on the revolution entitled ‘Ballerina In Chains’ I hope you could check it out, read it and think. Just give me sometime to explain everything.

    Peace, love and freedom.

    Link: http://stilllifewithasmile.tumblr.com/post/3257694439/ballerina-in-chains-final-by-ahmed-nader

  39. Kate says:

    “There is no such thing as an 18 day revolution, and this was just the first step in a game that will be ongoing for years to come.”

    Now that’s interesting. Especially in light of the famous book, “Ten Days That Shook the World,” by journalist Jack Reed, who witnessed first-hand the Bolshevik Revolution and wrote the book to tell the rest of the world the story of that revolution. Do you believe he incorrectly titled his work? Should Reed have written “The Several Years That Shook the World”?

    Of course it was just the first step. After an authoritatian ruler is toppled, the days to come are always fraught with danger, as so many further challenges must be overcome.

    Perhaps it’s an issue of semantics. Does one use the word “revolution” to describe the days leading up to (and including) the day the hated ruler is deposed? Or does it refer to the lengthy process which follows that day?

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  41. aletheia33 says:

    “today, after we got emotional watching the jubilant crowds celebrating their victory, we reluctantly turned back to our lives. for us, it’s the end of a truly exhilarating period of time. but for them, it’s only just beginning.”

    forgive me if what follows shows a misunderstanding–i have to say that when i see “reluctantly” and “it’s the end of a truly exhilarating peri0d” at the end of this beautiful, moving, and sweet story about young Americans’ deep compassion through the birth of the young new Egypt–this statement is sad for me to read.
    darlings–how long will you wait to discover that you can have these exact same feelings on an ongoing basis just by getting involved in a fight of your own on the ground here for what is good and right?
    there are so many people in America who need compassionate, heart-full, young people like you to come out and help them survive the hard times right now and FIGHT for a better government, media, society here at home.
    there is nothing to compare with the good feelings of banding together with a group–neighborhood, city, nation level, it doesn’t matter, you can do all three in one–and creating a movement with an inspiring goal, or even, as we’ve just seen, an “impossible” dream.
    and then, when you have a win (which you will)–wow!!! and on to more great work!!!
    dear ladies–don’t hold back because you think you don’t have time or resources to do something great that is real for your own people of whom you are a part–inseparable.
    the next time you hear a call–respond.
    make sure your cause is close and dear to your heart.
    then ACT!!!
    you have incredible power that, it seems to me, you are not aware of yet.
    give of yourselves as you will find yourselves naturally doing, and you will bring friends, lovers, family, neighbors alive with you.
    we all watched with held breath as the Egyptians threw off their fear.
    let’s now throw off our own.

  42. Monk Loomis says:

    I agree this is so ridiculously self-indulgent and selfish. And what if all of this revolt leads to an even worse government or further chaos in the Middle East? Then what? Will you continue to document that with your cozy little armchair comment? This belongs on an NPR website. What an empty exercise…a creative piffle!

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  44. toemailer says:

    I am reminded of how one sided the reports would have been 30 years ago. The media could spin an event like this almost anyway they wanted to. I am grateful for the internet and social media. Thanks for sharing such an original take on those 18 days.

  45. iberostar says:

    I thank Al Jazeera also for the coverage. I found myself listening and watching the live feed on my computer during the day. Thanks to all who had the courage to keep on letting the rest of us know what was going on in Egypt. Love to the people of Egypt!!

  46. Dennis says:

    Thank you for saying what we all felt, without the “leaders” telling us what to think, for once we all could listen to each other without the filters.

  47. Pingback: The revolution will be live-streamed: Domatille Collardey and Sarah Glidden’s “Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away” | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  48. Corey Blake says:

    Really beautiful. I appreciate the sincerity and humility with which this was made.

    I think my favorite line: “It’s scary how easily you can make a whole country disappear from your thoughts.”

    On the flip side, it’s kind of sad to me to see several people in the comments so unfamiliar with the purpose of art.

  49. Hayton says:

    I realize this is supposed to be an uplifting piece, but it DOES leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. I think it’s because you are talking about real people going through a turbulent revolution, yet it’s described like an online soap opera that you are “glued to.” I doubt most people in North America will think much about Egypt and it’s people in a months time. That is sad.

  50. Hey everyone,

    I’ve kept out of the comments section until now because I didn’t want to get involved in extended online conversations, but I would like to address some of the issues raised here.
    Some of you have criticized the two characters in this comic (Domitille and myself) for getting emotionally involved in the events in Egypt, watching it closely like spectators, and then admitting that we will not be watching as closely in the days and weeks ahead. A few commenters said that the comic made them sad. Perhaps some of our readers—many of whom were linked here from the Al Jazeera blog and not a comics blog– are new to comics and unaccustomed to comics that are not about superheroes. The truth is, Domitille and I are not superheroes. The truth is, we are normal people. The truth is, there are, at this very moment, uncountable instances of injustice, suffering, oppression, corruption, and also people fighting against those things happening all over the world as well as in our own neighborhoods. And the truth is, also, that normal human people are physically incapable, I mean on a neural scale, of paying attention and caring about all of those things all of the time. I wish that weren’t the truth, but it is the truth, and yes, true, the truth is sad. If you are in denial about the limits of humanity, this comic SHOULD make you sad.

    The point of this comic was not to tell the world what amazing people Domitille and I are for watching Al Jazeera. What happened was, the emotion of what was happening in Egypt that particular morning was just so incredibly intense that it was impossible to listen to the jubilant Egyptians being interviewed on Al Jazeera without crying. We felt inspired to create something, so we spent the next 8 or so hours working together on this little comic. This was not enough time to address all the complex issues of what was going on, nor was it enough time to describe every single thing that we talked about or did during the preceding 18 days.

    But some people seem to have taken issue with the fact that we got emotionally invested in this in the first place, hooked on the events as if they were “a soap opera.” To me, the suggestion that people should not respond emotionally to any world affairs with which they are not directly involved in is frightening and frankly abhorrent. Also, to suggest that responding emotionally to current events is useless is really to miss an important point: it is not useless, it is imperative.

    Take the Egyptian uprising itself. Was it not itself catalyzed by an emotional reaction to the events in Tunisia? Does the name Mohamed Bouazizi ring a bell? The people of Egypt watched (and supported) what was happening in Tunisia and it was the tipping point that motivated them to take a brave stand themselves. And the wave hasn’t broken either; its continuing in Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran and beyond. This is an exciting moment where people are expressing their right to be free and its something that I think is worth us paying attention to. Especially since our government (the American one I mean) was really giving them a nice hand at remaining un-free.

    I was in Syria a few months ago for a comics project and I came across a pattern. Everyone I talked to, from shopkeeper to TV personality, knew quite a bit about the complexities and nuances of American politics. For example, they knew the reasons why Obama’s healthcare plan was so watered down. Most Americans don’t even know who Syria’s president is. Or worse! A Syrian friend told me about a visit he took to Los Angeles for a journalism conference. His host family asked to see a photo of him in Syria and he showed them a picture of himself riding a camel in Palmyra, a tourist destination he went to on vacation. He jokingly said “this is how I get to work every day.” His host family–a well meaning and friendly family he was quick to add—believed him. The world knows quite a lot about America but we know almost nothing about them. Why is this? The question gnawed at me for my entire trip.

    I believe the answer is that people pay attention to other people for two reasons: they have to or they want to. And right now, people in the middle east (and elsewhere) have to pay attention to what America is doing because it affects their lives. A lot. Our government is very very involved with things that affect people’s lives all over the map. And it usually doesn’t affect us. We can ignore 90% of what our government does all over the world and, unless we have kids in the military, we can continue to watch Dancing with the Stars without distraction.

    But what makes us WANT to pay attention to the world around us? I would argue emotional connection to other human beings and seeing what we have in common at the core. This may sound like a “duh” concept but bear with me. Most of us just want to hear about ourselves, and if we cant hear about ourselves then hearing about people who have something in common with us will do just as well. This is why novels are appealing. And film. We put ourseves in their shoes. There’s a reason commenters here have compared our reaction to the protests as if we were watching a film. Just like when we watch a film, the emotional centers of our brains were very activated. We put ourselves in their shoes. So you are correct! Like it or not, we are are beings fueled by emotion, I would argue that instead of being afraid of this, we should learn to work with it.

    People don’t like being told what to think. But if something can make people curious, to make them feel that finding out more about their world was their own idea (just like in Inception!) then there may be a better chance of minds opening. I think that in the case of the coverage of the Egyptian protests, many people who may not normally pay attention to the rest of the world unless parts of it are attacking their soil began to get interested in a big way. They may have started with Twitter, where they had direct access to other people (as Domitille said in the comic, “no filter”) and then moved on to in depth articles or books elsewhere.

    Probably, most of these people will not quit their jobs and devote their lives to a cause. But maybe it changed them in ways they don’t even know yet. Maybe they will become outraged that the US supports dictators and write about it or even just read about it. Maybe they will question why the mainstream media has kept them in the dark about foreign policy and petition for more media diversity. Maybe they will tell their buddy at the bar that his racist joke about Arabs is not funny and that he should stop being an asshole. Maybe they will decide that what the government tells us is in our national interest isn’t always in our interest as a nation of people who care about other peoples’ well being, the nation (I hope) we want to be.

    The idea of harnessing emotion to inspire people to act is not a new or secret concept by any stretch of the imagination. Religion has been using this technique for eons and so have statesmen and politicians (who are often behind religion). Certain “news” organizations also know how to tug at their viewers’ heartstrings to get them to believe all sorts of ridiculous ideas which I personally get very pissed off about. And the people who have been the most successful in carrying out the most evil despicable acts in history have most definitely been experts in emotional manipulation (mostly this is a clever trick of using emotion in order to dehumanize.)

    But denying our feelings and saying that the only way to be good person is to be an emotional isolationist is to deny what makes us human beings. People wont stop using emotional exploitation for what we think are the wrong reasons and its pointless to try and fight that.

    So if you want to leave all the emotion stirring to the religious fanatics, politicians, and demigods out there then that’s fine. I’m sure they would welcome the lack of competition. But I will continue to root for special situations like this that can awaken a sleeping public, something that grabs their attention enough to get them to skip the Real Housewives of New Jersey in favor of watching Al Jazeera or reading the Guardian UK.. No, watching the uprising didn’t help the Egyptians make Mubarak step down and yes, their struggle towards a fair and peaceful government that represents its people is far from over. But watching can inspire us to make change in our own way of thinking, to question what we thought we knew, and maybe even motivate us to demand that our own leaders start to think more about our real national interest.

    I sure hope so, anyway.

  51. Well, well said, Sarah.

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  53. Deth Sun says:

    awesome response! and also, a really nice comic.

  54. Crimsong19 says:

    Very well done! And Sarah, I read your graphic novel while on a college Birthright trip this past January and it was a very good compliment to the trip!
    - Jason

  55. Megan says:

    Awesome comic, also, your response was great as well, Sarah!

  56. martin says:

    oh. crazy what was going on here, but your answer, sarah, is just great. thanks for this & the comic.

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  58. Jan from Berlin says:

    I liked the comic (via Julia Wertz) and I absolutely like your own comment here.

    Though I’m sad, that you had to write such a long text to explain your work. In my opinion this comic speaks for itself and didn’t require any “rebuttal”; people can interpret it on their own and they can think whatever they want. That’s what art is supposed to. You are not in the need to explain yourself nor your work.

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  60. Ladeek says:

    All I can say is keep it up. I only followed the happenings via news websites and television news and that is just so impersonal. Your drawings express more emotions than any of the guys seen on TV. What happened in Egypt is just the beginning of something much bigger. The North African countries are too interdependent. As a matter of fact, writing these lines I see awful news coming from Lybia.

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  64. Mario says:

    Wow. Awesome comic…and as for your response, I agree. Well said, Sarah.

    Thank you for the introspection, and thank you for sharing your work.

    p.s. I also jumped over here via Julia Wertz (Hi Julia, thanks for the recommendation!)

  65. Shirin says:

    Not sure if someone has already commented this, but there’s a small typo in the last image– “For eighteen days we wachted…”

    Good stuff. I liked the point where she feels guilty for not thinking about Egypt after a few days. Interesting, kind of sweet and sour. I’d like to see this story in a book of travelogues and like… home-logues.

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  68. Pingback: Watching Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away | Sarah Glidden

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