Thank you!! and…….

First I have to thank so many of you for your kind thoughts, wishes and even “goodies” that you sent my way on my birthday. It wasn’t a particularly monumental or glamorous birthday, but it was made so very special by all your kindness. I truly appreciate it and hope that you will forgive me for posting my thanks in this rather impersonal way. It is the only practical way to do so, but no less heartfelt.

…and, of course, since I have your attention…I think even more moving to me than the images of courage and quiet persistence that we saw coming out of Cairo the last couple of weeks, are the images of these same protesters cleaning up their mess. In some ways protesting is easy, whereas taking personal responsibility for the victorious aftermath can seem a less attractive chore. The symbolism of so many people, from so many walks of life getting down to the mundane and tedious chore of cleaning up Tahir square in order to re-build a society with fresh, clean hope is truly inspirational.

and so, my friends, remember Only Connect!

Charles Shaughnessy

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26 thoughts on “Thank you!! and…….

  1. i read everything on here what people are saying specially the one about janet giving up well funny was thinking doing the samething but i’m still here don’t know why must be the protesters in Egypt japan lybia tsunamis and everywhere else in the world guess God had something else in mined for me to see like people fighting for there freedom and to see how it all comes out so i guess i should watch the rest of it and see what happens i hope the people win this time, gee you had a birthday a month ago so did i but in january though everyone knew that so happy birthay again shell i stick around and see how it all turns out at the end janet i’ll stay a while if you do oh think amercia got it right once before oh ya was it for freedom it was a good thing yes? love ya charles & david fascinathing world yes have a good one.

  2. I am glad that you could enjoy your birthday with your family.
    I know and understand what people feel in Egypt to have finally toppled a dictator. Only a revolution with peaceful demonstration is wonderful. Also, I know those feelings finally being allowed to live in freedom. 1989 in the GDR, we are every Monday in Leipzig, took to the streets and there were overcame week after week more and more people their fear and marched for freedom and democracy.
    I also hope the people of Egypt provides a fresh start.

    • Kerstin,
      Thanks for reminding us of the powerful impact of a revolution. Here in the United States, it’s been over 235 years since our “revolution” (and even then, I would characterize it as more of a war for independence than a true revolution like happened in Germany in 1989). We have had occasional incidents of civil unrest (Civil War in the 1860s, civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s), but nothing on the scale of toppling the Berlin Wall. At the same time, we sometimes forget the challenges that a society and new government face following the change in power–and that not everyone can automatically switch to a democratic form of government without some discontent (and even in the United States, the transition from colonial status within a global empire to independent nation wasn’t very smooth).

  3. Glad you had a great birthday :-). As to the protesters tidying up after themselves, I wonder if they can come over here and teach the mob who shut Luton town centre down a couple of weeks ago to tidy up their mess? Apparently they’re wanting to ‘protest’ again in July.

  4. Charlie no one has a heart as big as you and us fan’s know how you fell about the thing’s we say and do you give us so much of your time for a man in line of work you are and alway’s will be top’s.

  5. Charles thanks our best wishes are sincere
    With regard to Egypt that I have to say …….
    At the beginning of this whole thing (here in Italy we have followed to the minute) I thought here is yet another mess that will end badly
    Pious but when the news last night I saw the pictures you are referring to here, I was very impressed by the humility of those people who want to rebuild, knowing that it will not be easy
    I agree with your words, should be an inspiration to us all, “I speak in particular to the Italians”
    Ascolta

  6. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your birthday!

    Like you, I am impressed with the efforts of the Egyptian protesters throughout the past few weeks and especially here in the aftermath. The pursuit of democratic processes is such a difficult path for so many countries. I can only hope that their efforts to oust Mabarak are not in vain, as it may provide an opening for other unwelcome political actors. Many Latin American countries have been desperate for democratization much like Egypt. Haiti is a prime example, as it’s been over 200 years since their “revolution” and they still haven’t achieved their goals. International organizations who promote their own self interests along with the dominance of the ruling class and their unwillingness to create a hegemonic relationship with the subordinate class have prevented the democratization of Haiti. The failure of democracy in is not the result of one singular event or action, but rather a combination of an unpliable ruling class, self-indulgent international pressures and the inability to shake the foundation of authoritarianism that has survived even after the egregious and tyrannical old regimes were crushed. One can only hope that those protesters who are struggling for democracy in Egypt are able to overcome such obstacles.

    • Excellent post, Laura. It is so true…so much of the older generation does not know how to cope when all they’ve known is authoritarian rule. Yes, they have no freedom and no personal choice, but they know the rules. And there is some comfort in that, esp. if they’ve been conditioned to believe that they can’t make decisions for themselves(ie, the benevolent ruler knows what’s best). Reminds me of the classic scene from “Moscow on the Hudson”, where Robin Williams defects(now there’s a word you don’t hear anymore!!!) to the US. And proceeds to have a nervous breakdown in the coffee aisle in the store, because he doesn’t know what he likes or how to go about making a decision. I am cautiously optimistic about Egypt, but afraid that there are too many factions who will see this as an opportunity to move in and take over.

    • Part of the problem with these “revolutions”/”authoritarian regimes” lies in these nations’ histories. From the United States government’s perspective, it’s always been a bit skeptical about revolution in other countries, especially if there is an economic impact on the United States (such as Mexico in the 1910s and Cuba in the 1950s). I think part of the problem is that people confuse “revolution” with “war for independence,” especially in the case of the Latin American countries. Technically what we had between 1775-1783 was a war for independence, but it generally has been called the American Revolution because of the revolt against British authority–but there really wasn’t a true “revolution,” as you did not see much social or political upheaval (and, in some cases, that did not happen until the 20th century). What happened in the Latin American nations in the 19th century were wars for independence–and, because their colonial heritage was quite different from ours, they did not have the experience of participatory government that existed in the British empire, so much of the 19th century was characterized by military dictatorships, theocracy (in the case of Ecuador), and instability; and, in one case, the president of Mexico overthrew his own government.

      Instead, in order to maintain favorable trading relationships, the United States has/had a tendency to support authoritarian regimes, because they maintain the status quo–change is something the United States does not want to see, unless the change is to the benefit of the U.S. (examples in the 2nd half of the 20th century include Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, and Panama). The U.S. government prefers stability, and authoritarian regimes generally provide that stability, much to the detriment of the masses who don’t reap the economic benefits.

      With regards to Egypt–again, it’s part of the colonial heritage (or rather, its heritage as a British protectorate) that results in the United States supporting Mubarak as a stable leader–until it’s clear that the unrest has let to a need for change. Think about it–probably for the first time that I can recall, we actually stepped back, watch, and let a revolution occur without becoming directly involved (although I’m sure there were probably some war hawks in Washington who wanted us to step in). In the late 1970s, we saw the folly of intervention with our efforts to keep the Shah in power in Iran–and look where it got us. Nobody in the embassy in Teheran knew Farsi (the language of the Iranians); literally, the U.S. diplomats could not see the writing on the wall that change was occurring right under their noses, and so everyone was shocked when embassy employees were taken hostage. Of course, this wasn’t the only diplomatic faux pas of the Carter administration; in response to complaints that he wasn’t appointing any Spanish-speaking ambassadors to Latin American countries, he appointed one to Brazil (which has Portuguese as the official language).

      I know this has wandered off into a history lesson–but it is sort of important to remember the context in which all of this change is occuring. And yes, there are still defectors–but they generally aren’t as well publicized anymore, unless you follow major league baseball and see former members of the Cuban national baseball team.

  7. I too am glad you had an enjoyable birthday. It was quite a week in Cairo and I am also happy to see the people of Egypt setting an example of personal responsibility for all of us. Though there is still a lot of work ahead of them, I hope their future is bright. I have enjoyed your blogs this week and look forward to more as you have time.

  8. Charlie,

    So glad you enjoyed your birthday. Your fans adore you, such as myself, and would only wish you the best on your special day. Hope all your dreams come true now and forever.

  9. Hey Charlie,
    Glad you had a good birthday. I remember when I turned 29. Why, it was just last week. I said to myself “Self, you can either spend your birthday jetting around the globe, buying the latest Joan Rivers jewelry collection on QVC, or working.” Well, the choice was obvious as I had not the money to go globetrotting and I am not a fan of big clunky jewelry. Work it was. Let me tell you, nothing says Happy Birthday like hemmoroidal cream recommendations Charlie. Pharmacy, who knew?
    I was also impressed with the events in Egypt. I thought revolutions were supposed to be messy? It’s a good beginning. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new classic era for Egypt. I for one would love to see another pyramid go up. Good post Charlie.

  10. Here Here! Yes, you know they are in spirits when they are happy to clean up. Great sign of leaving yesterday behind and getting ready for tomorrow. I for one would probably just be out celebrating. Your so welcome. The thanks you sent us fans seemed fine to me. Anyway, we all know that you are busy working. We want you to work so we can watch more stuff with ya. Saw some photos of your cakes and cupcakes on your fanpage. Guessing you were suppose to eat them virtually. lol Hope you daughter had a nice one birthday too. 16 is a suppose to be a good one.

  11. Charlie, so glad you enjoyed the attention. Your fans adore you. The pictures you shared with us were well received. It’s a bummer you had to work so hard on your birthday but the reward will be forthcoming. I just hope and pray the people of Egypt will embrace this new chance and I hope the new leadership will be one of just and fair leadership. Maybe others will follow this lead. I was impressed how they took charge protecting the buildings of importance when the mobs started invading. Thank you for your thoughts on so many different subjects. I would enjoy seeing your thoughts on the healthcare bill. I am truly confused by all the mumbo jumbo with no real explanations where it will lead.
    I hope Maddy had a wonderful day. Daddy’s little girl is growing up.

    • Yes, thanks for sharing your vacation pictures and your work photos. We fans enjoy them. Did you guys get to see the Galapagos islands on your trip? i hope so.

  12. So sweet you wrote back to us:) What a nice surprise! It’s good to see Egypt on the right track now, and out of Mubarack’s hands.

  13. As far as the Egyptian protesters cleaning up their mess–perhaps the rest of the world should take a page from their book—I don’t remember ever hearing about any group of Americans “cleaning up their own mess”–Tea Partiers–really? Glad you had a good birthday–and hope Maddy did as well—16–what a great age–

  14. So glad that you enjoyed your birthday, and while it wasn’t a monumental or glamorous birthday for you…it sure was for Maddy!! Sweet 16, when did THAT happen? Doesn’t it seem like yesterday we were bringing our babies home from the hospital?
    As for Egypt…it’s almost sad in a way, that we get excited when people clean up their own mess. It should be the norm, not a cause for celebration. But it is nice to see them having such pride in their nation and a ‘new beginning’. I do pray that this time of transition doesn’t open the door for nefarious groups to take control. That region is such a powder keg, we need all the stable democracies we can get over there.

  15. First, that’s a very nice post. Glad you had a nice Birthday! 🙂

    Second, I had no clue that the protesters are cleaning up their own mess. That’s wonderful. It’s just nice to see that Mubarak has resigned.

  16. I know it seems silly to correspond with strangers but I got addicted to the Nanny late night over the past few months because my husband has been ill and I don’t sleep much. I’ve really enjoyed it so much it’s the only thing on my DVR. Glad you enjoyed your birthday and may God bless you for providing so much laughter during a very difficult time.

  17. thank your mr charles to answer your fans messages i can’t believe it you, yes i was very enthrall with this Egypt very moving its like america all over again always fighting for freedom its like i think thay are all getting now what its about an what this country has been fighting for years hope the rest of the world will follow in the same foot steps and just maybe peaces will come God i hope so i’m glad to live long enought to see all this i was thinking of giving up on life but i think god has something else in mined for me and death is not it so guess i’ll stay a while see what happens i just had a birthday myself i lived one more year hope you had a great birthday too an have many more guess birthdays are good thing its life that God gave to use all thank you charle have a good life.

    • Never give up on life Janet. Even when it seems grim. Remember that song, oh what was it? Keep on living even after the glory in living is gone. Or something like that. A few times have felt as if giving up on life but now i realize is a mistake. You only get one shot at it (unless reincarnation theory is correct lol) even if it seems that we got dealt a crappy hand of cards. I know i feel that way. But, i intend to enjoy the most of it, whether it is just in looking at the beautiful scenery and creatures. It is still a wonderful world. I am thankful for my eyesight and being alive all 36 years now. The experience of love and having three kids and friends. It is truly a wonderful world no matter what the outcome of our failures. I am just happy to be and see. And to meet someone like you on facebook. lol If nothing else, take joy in small things that you enjoy. Happy late birthday to you too. Love you girl.

  18. The idea of protesters cleaning up their mess…that should send a message to the protesters here in the States (although I do know that the Tea Partiers do clean up their messes, and that the Mansfield students who went to the Rally to Restore Sanity, etc. last fall cleaned up their mess before they were allowed back on the bus). I still remember reading about the cost to pick up trash on the National Mall after assorted protests that have occurred in Washington, DC (and while we can’t exactly count Woodstock as a true protest, I have seen photos of the devastation in the area following the concert).

    And since we kind of can call what happened in Egypt to be a revolution–I found it particularly exciting to see that when some of the mob started breaking into the museums, the populace rallied and started guarding the museums, etc. to prevent further destruction of antiquities. Certainly a different response than the usual “topple the statues” protests that often occur (or, in the case of Boston in the 1760s, burn the royal governor’s home and in the process destroy Hutchinson’s manuscript history of Massachusetts Bay colony).

    And, for the most important point of my response: Charlie, I’m glad you had a great birthday. I enjoyed seeing the photos of you at work that day (and I know that it can be a bit of a bummer to have to work on your birthday), and I’m sure that I speak for a lot of the bloggers in wishing you well.

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  20. We understand ur very busy and cannot thanks us individually, I appreciate the post 🙂 Wow, thanks for sharing that bit of info about the protesters cleaning up their own mess. I had no idea, and maybe it isn’t something shared often in the news. Many people would see the protesting as a chance to loot stores, etc but it is nice to see that some can act maturely.

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