I watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time a few days ago. It horrified me, while also making me feel shameful. Knowing that humans are capable of such destruction made my heart ache, but realizing that it happened only 20 years ago and I had been so uninformed about the half million+ people who were murdered gave me a feeling of ignorance and shame. This caused me to wonder what type of current events of international violence are taking place. It didn’t take much time at all to notice Egypt.
In the last few days I’ve tried to pay attention to the things the news is saying about Egypt. I’m not incredibly involved with politics, especially international politics, so I do not understand a lot of the details of the protests, state of emergency, or the violence that is going on in Egypt. I’ve read that the first democratically elected president was basically kicked out of office after a year because a lot of people were happy with his leadership, others weren’t happy that he was removed from office so they protested, the military didn’t like the protesting, the protesters didn’t like the military not liking their protesting, and then there were a couple hundred people killed. This is a drastic simplification of what I under about a complex situation in a country that I don’t have any direct connections with.
Politically I don’t have any huge opinions about it, but there was one thing I noticed in multiple news reports. To state what I perceive as the general media’s opinion in a blunt fashion….Egypt is having problems with violence because a number of Egyptians have become overly aggressive, violent Muslims who want to rule by force and cannot be reasoned with just like their surrounding countries in the middle east. To put it even more bluntly, the Muslims in Egypt are the problem. Now, I like to think that I don’t have much of a temper, but ideas like that are enough to warm my blood. It wouldn’t help the situation at all for me to make sweeping generalizations about the ignorant consumerist Christian Americans that try to use their over funded military to force peace on other countries. Generalizations rarely help anyone.
My frustration is with our media and some of our society that hold to a post 9/11, under informed view of what Islam is and who Muslim people are. As a white American Christian who is seeking to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ, I would love to learn from and engage with any Muslim who would be willing to be my friend and allow me to attempt to understand life from their perspective. Surprisingly enough I find the greatest struggle in being graceful in my understanding and engaging a lot of Christian and American culture, rather than Muslim culture.
I’m starting to think that perhaps more than any bullet, bomb, sword, religion, political party, or nation, the thing that has caused the most damage and violence in human history is ignorance and fear of “the other”. This might not be true, I don’t really know yet I just have a hunch.
Please take my words with an entire cup of salt. I know very little about international relations, political history, and the details of all those involved. All I know as of now is that I was able to spend a month in the land of Indonesia with many beautiful people who were Muslim. They were great people and Muslims, simultaneously. I suspect the Egyptian Muslims might be people to, and that peace probably tastes better than blood.