Reflecting On Egypt While Watching the Fireworks in America

A few nights ago, I took my little boys to see the fireworks in Lexington, MA while my wife stayed home with our little daughter. Our oldest (he’s 5) is a little uncomfortable with the noise and intensity of a live fireworks display. Our second (he’s 3) loves them and kept announcing to those near us, “That’s the biggest one I’ve eveeer seeeen!!” (It was cute the first dozen or so times, “Ok buddy, you gotta stop saying that now …”)

We settled in on the hill overlooking the park, laying on the ground on top of our hoodies. My arm around the one slowly uncovering his eyes, my other hand around the other’s mouth muting his play by play analysis, my eyes were on the colorful night sky and a good bit of my mind was thinking about Egypt. I wanted to believe that many other men were holding their sons while grateful for their future, particularly in Egypt.

Earlier that day when Morsi was booted, I didn’t know what to think. Things were exciting, uncertain, disturbing, and potentially promising all at the same time.
So I updated my Facebook status and tweeted:

I’ve mentioned before how I feel inadequate in talking about the politics of the MiddleEast (many others should admit the [Read more…]

Reflections of a American Born Christian Egyptian on the News of Mubarak’s Resignation – #Egypt

I tend to refrain from posting these thoughts that contain themes of patriotism, World history, Mid-East perspectives, etc. but I am among the millions that has been extremely concerned for Egypt and though I know no one who is a supporter of Mubarak, seeing his resignation is welcomed and troubling one.

As an American-born son of Egyptian Christian immigrants, I find myself grateful in many ways. I am grateful to be part of the US for many reasons. I am grateful to my parents and for our Egyptian heritage, particularly the Christian and the ancient parts. And obviously as a pastor, I am thankful for my faith and Christian upbringing. The trouble has always been for me is that these identity-shaping factors tend to collide into each other quite regularly. A glance at my loving family and friends’ Facebook walls would verify this quite easily.

I saw one person tweeting from Egypt saying that Mubarak leaving Cairo doesn’t mean anything, I’m sure he’s deleted it by now. I saw another’s Facebook status praising God for a victory that reminded me of how many people celebrated Obama’s election. I want to be clear here and say that I am not pro-Mubarak in any way, nor am I anti-Obama, but I among the many that see these events as extremely complicated and even more, I am very concerned.

Here are a few thoughts pin-balling in my head:

Mubarak’s timing of announcements are extremely odd. One that says, he won’t run in the fall, then a pre-recorded announcement last night saying he is staying in power, then less than 24 hours later, an announcement from his Vice President. I would have liked to see a six week transitionary plan in place to avoid the possible nightmare scenarios that will occupy our thoughts for many months. But for a host of reasons I will never know, that is not going to happen. See this widely-circulated WSOJ article for more.

Some are wondering why Obama and our Administration were not more involved. News of Obama and Mubarak in communication is a bad picture in the eyes of many in the Middle East. But I also find it interesting that many of who have said this are also against the wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and regularly accuse the US of being imperialistic. But be assured, the US and its allies have been on the phone with the powers that be.

I was among the many that was moved to near tears when I saw Christians and Muslims protesting together. I could not get the Nevine Zaki picture of the Christians forming a circle around the praying Muslims out of my head for days. And further, I was so blessed to read of the news that Muslims formed a similar circle for an outdoor Coptic Mass that had taken place in Cairo.

Still, I am extremely concerned of the fate of the Coptic and Protestant Christians. I pray and fast regularly for you.

As politely as I can, I’d like to say to my Western friends that the Middle-East mentality, though beautiful, is quite different than ours. So comparing Western codes and events to the ME is a bit of a stretch. With the same loving and polite intent, I’d like to remind my MidEast family & friends born overseas and born here that we are biased, hurting, hopeful, anxious, and passionate people. We and especially our families still there have much to lose and much to gain. Let’s be honest and just in our rhetoric and for those of us who faithfully Jesus, let us make every effort to be Spirit-led, Christ-like and give the Father glory for the great things He has done and will do.

There are so many excellent articles to read, here are few I recommend (thankful to the student of history who helps me filter these thoughts):

“The Story of the Egyptian Revolution” – By Sam Tadros – from the American Thinker site. Lengthy but a fantastic on the ground read. Make sure you read what he says about El Baradei.

On why we Christians are concerned and prayeful:
“Re: Willful Blindness, etc.” – By Paul Marshall

“Muslims Attack Two Christian Families in Egypt, 11 Killed” – from The Assyrian National News Agency

One from the LA Times – “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Mutes its Religious Message for Protests”

And lastly, my dad’s interview for a local news station.