The Revolution Will Be Televised

Do you remember the poem/song by the slim light-skinned, curly-haired brother named Gil Scott-Heron called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised?

Who can forget the lines of that poem:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The reality of Gil Scot-Heron’s poem still holds today. The world is watching Egypt as history is unfolding before our eyes in the nation regarded as the cultural capital of the Arabic world. As a young African, I am truly impressed with the revolution of change sweeping throughout Egypt and the beauty of it all is that the youth are on the front lines!

I cannot help to think about Robert Mugabe. Mugabe, viewed by many as a dictator, has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980! The recent presidential election ended in a power-sharing agreement as Mugabe was forced to share power with Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, but media reports reveal that Mugabe doesn’t give Tsvangirai much say at all.

In recent years, Zimbabwe’s economy has suffered as the country’s inflation has skyrocketed, leaving the local currency with little market value. Mugabe often blames the west for the country’s woes as Mugabe has staunchly disapproved of western interference in African affairs throughout much of his reign.

International organizations report that Zimbabweans are migrating in thousands to other parts of the continent, flooding South Africa and surrounding countries.

Perhaps a revolution in Zimbabwe is long overdue? My Zimbabwean hairstylist never fails to express sheer disgust with the persistent economic downfall of her native country. Another Zimbabwean who attends my church says that she simply cannot go back to her country. She says it’s just too bad.

What is unfolding in Egypt is the kind of change that is so needed in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and maybe this time…the revolution will be televised.

I’m reminded of a Ugandan proverb that says:

“The task ahead of you is not greater than the force behind you.”

Though a revolution stirs great emotion, and often times violence, change is the goal and the force of democracy cannot be underestimated.

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