*Alicia Keys has paid tribute to those fighting for reform in Egypt in a post on her website, insisting she realized there was a growing movement against the country’s government when she took an inspirational three-week trip through the country in 2006.
The R&B star was so deeply moved by Egypt she named her first-born son after the Middle East nation last year, and admits she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the people she met on her travels, who are currently caught up in the country’s violent clashes between supporters and critics of President Hosni Mubarek.
“When people find themselves caught in a place where their dreams, hopes and ideas have nowhere to breathe or fly, something happens,” wrote Keys. “Something that is so natural and powerful, like the water we seek when thirsty, or the food we need when hungry takes over.
“This energy to change, to move in a different direction produces a voice – a voice loud and strong enough to vibrate and shake the wall that attempts to oppress the will of the masses and the fight for the future. From that first small voice that dared to speak, to resist, to protest – a small, but important insult has now grown into a voice of millions that cannot and will not be silenced.
“I have visited Egypt and, as I traveled through along the streets of Cairo, the back streets of Alexandria and the villages along the Nile, it was easy to see that a small, quiet vibration was growing, building, reaching to a pitch that is now heard by the ears of the world.
“There have been many who have attempted to deny the force of change as if trying to prevent a flower from its blossom or a mother from giving birth. In every case this deeply rooted will to express what cannot be denied, rises up and forces all of us to recognize and respect this voice that produced the sound of freedom playing long and strong throughout Egypt.
“Now as the light of the sun and the sand gust winds from the Sahara blow without permission and cover the streets and pyramids, let’s remember that this undeniable spirit to speak – even to shout from the heart, should never be denied and never, ever be ignored.
“Now when I look at my son, I realize more than ever that his name represents more than the will to be free – it stands for the fight for change, and the courage to shout! We can hear the voice… and it is ours.”