Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Egypt: We Should be Celebrating

Egypt is a multicultural, diverse population. It is one of the oldest cultures in our world today. Egyptian culture has six thousand years of recorded history. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab world. Egypt is recognized as the cultural trendsetter for contemporary Arab culture- as it’s culture thousands of years ago influenced that of Europe.

Today, thousands of young people who are fed up have started a revolution. A peaceful, powerful, all inclusive revolution.

A revolution. Remember when youth in this country started a revolution? Remember when we thought we could change the world? Small revolts, single shots, and finally, we were the United States of America. With a Bill of Rights and a Constitution that reads, “WE the people…”

What happened? We are more focused on finding the right restaurant and the right flowers for Valentines Day- a "holiday" that came from a card company- than we are in supporting a huge democratic surge in Egypt.


I can understand the media images in the last few days feeding fear. Janet Napolio (check name) has stated that the terror alert will be higher than it has been since 2001.

Really. Why am I not surprised?

Be afraid, is the message. Why? Why is it frightening that young people have taken the streets and are calling for a true democracy? Might the passion ignite other youth in other countries to do the same?

I’d like to say I don’t understand, but I do. It is the fear of the unknown. Change is, by nature, difficult for people to go through. My son had a fit that the chairs that were always in the living room were switched with the chairs that were in the back room.

No reason, just wanted to change it up.

There is an amazing reason for the change in Egypt. It is about freedom, fairness and justice. It is about all the different voices being heard. Don’t believe for one minute it is a singular voice. Expand what you read, look for other sources; listen to how you are being pushed.

I have been to many protests over the years, surrounded by clergy of many denominations. I joined hands with them, sang songs with them, shouted slogans with them.

I was and still am an atheist.

Look at the pictures being shown of people in prayer. How many are? How many are not? What is the wide-angle shot versus the close up?

Every Fourth of July, America celebrates a revolution. It was a bloody, violent revolution, a war that lasted years. Not so in Egypt.

But they are looking for the same thing.

It is time to stop the fear mongering and let freedom ring.


Anonymous ccoyle said...


6:00 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Sigh. We'll see. I certainly hope for the best and am in favor of democracy for any and all, but the polls revealing the attitudes of the egyptian people are not encouraging. They want sharia law, they want stonings and the cutting off of hands etc., they want the complete eradication of Israel and they hate all jews with a vengeance. A little over 50 percent say they are in line with Hamas, another 20-something with Fatah. Just saying. Those things are usually bad omens. But we'll see.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

If you want more info, the Pew polls are a good place to start.

But it doesn't really matter. It should be up to the Egyptians how to run their country. I'm just not sure they'll run it in af fashion you or I will like.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Money quote from the Pew Poll above:

At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery, whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion. Majorities of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria also favor these harsh punishments.

End quote. Of course, they will also, given these traditional attitudes, favor the death penalty for gays.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I misspoke in saying 'Fatah' in my first comment. I meant, of course, Hezbollah.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

My concern is that we in the West tend to paint all Muslims with the same brush. Those figures Ulla cited from the Pew survey are deeply troubling. But there are other results in there that demonstrate that these harsh penalties are the result more of a regional and cultural sense than just being Muslim. For example, the Pew survey also states:

"86% of Muslims in Lebanon, 82% in Turkey and 61% in Indonesia are against making harsh punishments for robbery and theft the law in their countries, and 93%, 91% and 64%, respectively, object to the death penalty against those who leave the Muslim religion."

So as we worry about who will come to power in Egypt, it's important that we keep the focus on the politics and culture of the country, as well as the dominant religion. Yes, religion is an important factor, but it is one of several factors.

8:27 AM  
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4:38 AM  

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