Egypt’s revolution is a great moment in history. It proves the power of the people, it shows that the people eventually get what they truly want, it showcases the empowering effect of technology.
It is a lot of things, but the suddenness with which it came is also another example – if one is needed – of the role of the unexpected in our lives. 15 days ago Hosni Mubarak was in control. He had been in control for thirty years and must have had plans for the next 30 years, including the installment of his son. The plans must have looked solid, even inevitable. No one would have doubted them. People might have hated him but they would not have had any reason to think that he would not get what he wanted – he’d been having his way for 30 years after all, why should anything change now ?
And yet, in a flash, sparked by a completely unrelated incident in another country, all the plans were reduced to nothing. A man shaping the future of a country for 30 years utterly failed to predict his own future beyond 15 days.
Of course this two-week flash of lightening that reached Cairo must have been several years in the making, it was just invisible until it hit critical mass.
And that is often the nature of change. The longer something lasts, the more inevitable it looks – and yet, paradoxically, the more vulnerable it becomes. You can only play the odds for so long.
We love to plan, to forecast, to provide for our future, to cover every eventuality. But perhaps we should leave more room for serendipity.