Friday, December 7, 2012

Another Friday in Egypt

Asalamu Alaykom,

It's another Friday in Egypt.

Normally, we wish each other "Jummah Mabrook," because the day of congregational prayer is a happy one.  Since the Arab Spring, Fridays aren't always anticipated with joy.  The day has become a time of protest.  For me, that's sad.

Back in 2011, there was a joke going around that Libya's dictator Maumar Ghadaffi had found a way to quell his country's uprising.  He had ordered new calendars to be made which eliminated all Fridays.

Don't tell President Morsi this joke.  No one is really sure if he would take it in the same vein as it was intended.  Even those who voted for him wonder who he is now.

Yet, we know who we are.

Mashahallah.  Look at this hard-working man.  This is the spirit of Egypt.  It's not all about who can stand in front of the Presidential Palace the longest.  It's about who can show the most resilience in the side streets.

Mashahallah.  It's the woman who rides her donkey as it carries her mint to market.  She is quiet and unassuming.  I wish I could run down the stairs, fling open the door and hug her tight as my sister.  Don't worry---I won't.  I don't because I've learned to simply admire all these familiar strangers from a distance and pray for them.  I pray for so many people I know by sight but don't even know by name.  They don't know how they build my faith in Egypt's future.

Mashahallah.  It's the dependable people who make the effort every day of their lives because it falls down to them.  No one else will help them so they've got to help themselves.  This man selling the foul medamnes; the beans for breakfast, is met all over with hungry hands and empty bowls.  He fulfills a need for so many.  He is a simple hero.  The world needs more simple heroes.

Mashahallah.  It's the caregivers of Egypt I adore.  They care tirelessly for families, homes, animals, their community and their country.  It's not easy to raise a family in Egypt.  It's long hours and it's backbreaking.  Yet, the beautiful women of Egypt do it every single day of their lives.

Mashallah.  It's the girls.

And it's the boys too.  Mashahallah.

It's the hope for the future I have every time I talk to the children of Egypt.  I teach them because I have hope.  They can be what we couldn't be.

Mashahallah it's a little boy like this who can save Egypt from itself.  He can catch up to his Baba and even surpass him.

So, on this Friday (yet another Friday in Egypt), I leave you with this hope for the future.  It might not fully materialize itself today but it absolutely WILL NOT be extinguished today.  I will not let it.

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