Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category



January 19, 2011

I’m committed to being deeply engaged this year.  I fell off the wagon, so to speak, last fall and I want back on.  But I have to work with what I’ve got, and engagement often means living smack in the middle of hate, ignorance, and conflict.

So I’m also committed to being hopeful.  And I’m planning to chronicle some of the things that bring me hope here.

Individual kindness and generosity are not in short supply in my experience, but in groups, I tend to like people a lot less.  The book I’m reading pulls me back to the middle of the last century, a time when groups of angry white Southerners gathered to lynch black men and other groups of white Southerners pretended they couldn’t do anything about it.  In late December, mobs in Haiti lynched 45 people accused of being witches and spreading cholera.  Today’s news tells of about the group of men who beat Bobby Beltran for being gay.

But every now and then, a group of people come together to live out compassion and empathy and love.  And it brings hope.  And it belongs on this blog.

For today (though the story is a week and a half old): Egyptian Muslims attending Coptic Christmas Eve Mass to act as human shields for their fellow citizens:

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 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. “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..