Friday, June 5, 2009
Well, by now, everyone knows that the President of the United States, Barack Obama was here in Cairo yesterday. No, I did not get a personal invitation to go listen to the speech, but I did hear it over the TV.
It was a very different day here, as my son's school was closed for the day, and there were many, many streets shut down as well. Because of security issues, it has been quite a while since a president from the U.S. has visited in Cairo. George Bush came to Egypt, but met with President Mubarak in a place called Sharm el Sheikh. This area is much easier to control, and therefore much safer.
I believe Obama's visit will help relations between this part of the world and the West. Even though Egyptian people are generally very friendly, I have definately, at times, felt the tension caused by the indifference these people feel for America. Obama hit it right on the head when he talked about preconceived ideas Easterners and Westerners have of each other. In the West, when we hear the word "Muslim", or even "Middle Easterner", we automatically think of "terrorist", "violence", etc. Here, in the Middle East, when they think of Western culture, they automatically think all Westerners are "immoral", "loose", "rich", and "frivolous" with their money. I have heard from so many people here that they believe once our kids reach the age of 16 they move out of the house and start living on their own.
I have come to know a lot of people here in Egypt: Muslim and Christian alike. They are people just like us in the West. They worry about their kids. They want the best for their kids. They struggle with some of the same issues we struggle with. They mourn and cry when someone in their family is hurt or killed, and they rejoice at marriages, births of new babies, and happy times.
I have been blessed to be able to see and learn these things for myself, and because of my personal experiences am able to see these people as real, loving people, wanting from life the same things as you and I. They are, after all, created from the same God that created me. He put in all people the same feelings, aspirations, and potential.
I truly hope I have not gone in a wrong direction with this post, but I truly believe most of the world's problems are due to wrong perceptions about others. If we could only place ourselves in other peoples' shoes and experience their lives for a day, I think the world would truly be a better place.
There are many passages in the Bible that tell us to love others and tells of doing acts of kindness for others. We are to not only to love our neighbors, but we are to love our enemies as well. The Bible also says that if we so much as "hate" a person, we have committed murder in our hearts.
If you are interested in reading some of these passages, some of them are listed here:
Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:39, Matthew 25:34-40, Romans 12:15-18,
1 John 3:15
I hope you might take the time to look these verses up and that they give you something to think about.