- The new constitution needs to come hastily but be respectful of human rights
- State of Emergency needs to be lifted. Now.
- The police force (or a police force, for those not thrilled with the last one) needs to be instated, for everyone’s sake
- Economically, it is critical that Egypt be seen as stable and inviting asap, in order to bring the tourism industry back up to speed. Without it, Egypt cannot function
- The military council–of which I am not particularly afraid despite the fact that it is military–must usher in a quick transition to a civilian government
- To that end, we need real elections with real parties and discourse on policy. My understanding is that is already happening, with candidates already taking out papers to be on the ballot
- The US needs to maintain th 1.3 billion in foreign aid from the Mubarak era, but perhaps it could be better spent once it gets there
- The heightened sense of unity and tolerance needs to continue; it is the only way forward for Egypt. It was shown so beautifully for Christmas services a few months ago, when Muslim Egyptians became human shields so their Christian countrymen could go to services without threat of another suicide bomber, and kicked into high gear when non-Muslim Egyptians started taking the blows of water cannons so that their Muslim friends and neighbors could pray in peace. The great mix of men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian and all things in between needs to continue and become a force within civil society, not just within the protests. anyone who tells you this was a “student protest” or “young men’s protest” or “Muslim Brotherhood protest” is just wrong. Women were an overwhelming part of the protests, as were non-student-age people, and that’s what took this from another protest no on in America ever heard of to a revolution.
- Egyptians mustn’t forget what they have accomplished. And any time their government fails them again, even in a small way, they must wield their power to effect change.
On long days when the state of the world seems dismal, and my ability to help it negligible, I find my self turning to the West Wing. One of the most brilliant episodes is entitled Isaac and Ishmael, and is the September 11th episode. It has no impact on the rest of the timeline, but is something Aaron Sorkin, one of my favorite writers of stage and screen, felt compelled to create.
In the episode, one of the main questions a young tour group poses to the staff is “Why do they hate us?” I was reading an article that brought up a similar theme, and as someone who studies the Middle East I am often confronted with both thoughtful and hurtful responses to this question.
So here’s mine:
Who is they?
Leif has been linking often to Jeff Jarvis, who suggests that every criticism should be seen as a reflection of the person giving the critique. This is reinforced constantly by Miss Conduct, who advises readers to tread lightly, as often seemingly random criticisms stem from the speaker’s own insecurities or personal life situations. But for us, in an America that has almost forgotten while simulataneously can never forget September 11, 2001, sometimes we need to turn a light on ourselves.
I know everyone grows weary of the “just blame America” Camp, which I think is only so strong because of the equally tiring “Amurica is perfect” camp, but this isn’t about that. This is about who we think our enemies are, and who they very much are not.
We need a greater understanding of basic definitions, like Muslim and the Muslim world, Arab, the ever-tossed-around “Islamic”, Persian, the Middle East and even the infamous terrorist. We also need to understand that sometimes, the “they” who hate us are homegrown. Sometimes they’re white or educated or wealthy. Sometimes the patriots who stop them are immigrants who barely speak English, but are compassionate people who care about America.
This, to me, is one of my biggest personal causes:
finding They, understanding Them and showing everyone who They are NOT.