A ray of hope against Hatred and Hype (updated after the fold)Posted: January 9, 2011
Too much of both has been polluting the dialogue in America for far too long.
That pollution has Consequences. We saw that yesterday.
But on the flip side of Hatred and Hype is authentic hope. From my hoping against Hope essay:
Authentic hope is grounded by healthy skepticism and action, not by a glossy Shepard Fairey poster.
Positive reframing of thought is rethinking things in a way that is constructive rather than destructive. It must be met with a positive reframing of actions — a plan.
Public policy that gestated at the Heritage Foundation before being passed by Democrats is not a plan.
We can’t just close our eyes, imagine a better world, open our eyes to watch as more wealth is transferred to Wall Street, and then expect that better world to somehow spontaneously manifest itself. At the same time, if we close our eyes and see nothing, nothing will ever progress. We need vision to have a plan, and that’s where hope comes in. It has driven humanity against the odds time and time again. Real hope is a call to action.
Real hope is this — “Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as ‘human shields’” (from ahram.org, with Yasmine El-Rashidi reporting):
Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community
H/T to Susie Madrak via C&L.
I strongly urge you to click over to read the entire story and give it the extra hits and traffic that a feel good story like this deserves. I will excerpt a portion for you here, though:
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.
“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”
In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.
A plan of daring rooted in the idea that we are all in this together. That is the real essence of hope.
The rest of what tries to pass for it is merely anesthetic to get us drowsy and keep us fighting the shadows on the wall.
Some excellent reporting and commentary on this story via Zaid Jilani at ThinkProgress:
It is a frequent complaint among opinion makers in the United States that the global Muslim community does not condemn and prevent terrorism. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has even said that Islam needs a civil war similar to the one the United States fought in order to deal with its extremists. But the truth is that moderate and progressive Muslims all over the world are battling extremism. Here in the United States, one-third of al-Qaeda related terror plots have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by Muslim Americans. It is up to the press to report these positive stories and not exaggerate the sway that extremists hold over the global Muslim community.
And, it is up to us to demand that they report it.
These words from Elizabeth Edwards in April ‘o8 come to mind:
If voters want a vibrant, vigorous press, apparently we will have to demand it. Not by screaming out our windows as in the movie “Network” but by talking calmly, repeatedly, constantly in the ears of those in whom we have entrusted this enormous responsibility. Do your job, so we can — as voters — do ours.
So please, take a moment and visit ahram.org to read the entire article. Let the press know that these are the stories we want to hear! Spread this one far and wide. Make it the buzz of the internet this month!
I want to close with a verse that I posted on New Years’ Day:
MIND WITHOUT FEAR
(Gitanjali, Verse 35)
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up
into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening
thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Update: There’s a Rumi quote I should have included, but it slipped my mind. Not that anyone will see this update, but for the record:
Outside ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
–Jalal al-Din Rumi