Saturday, August 17, 2013

No Matter What The News Says

There is deep unrest in the country of Egypt, in case you haven't seen any news reports lately.  The initial unrest led to a new government that was promising, it seemed, to be the same old thing.  That was overturned, and the people who liked that status quo are upset.

The violence escalates, the people who want to push their agendas on everyone else in the country continue to stir up strife and turmoil.

That's not the whole story.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims provide free banquets in the streets for the poor so they can break their fast.  The banquets can also serve those who are working and can't make it home to break their fast.  They call these "the banquets of the Merciful G-d."

While Christian churches are often targeted in that country, one Christian church decided to step into the middle of the protests in Tahrir Square and undertook to make a banquet for 200 of the fasting Muslim protesters each Friday and Saturday during Ramadan.

They decided to call it "The united banquet of Love for Egyptians," and church members donated and prepared and served all of it themselves.

The original plan was to serve 200 people each of those nights, but it was so well received, it swelled to many more as Muslims expressed gratitude and received it so well.

The Muslims expressed to the Christians that they hope for a new Egypt where "equality is granted to   
all sects, affiliations, and religions in Egypt."

Yes, many Christians suffer in Muslim countries.  Yes, many Muslims who aren't of the correct branch of that faith suffer, too. Yes, many Muslims are fanatical, and don't want to grant freedom to anyone who disagrees, and want everyone to be forced to agree with them.

After reading what the pastor of that one Christian church wrote about reaching out and being so well received, i want to think that many, many more Muslims simply want freedom to worship as they choose, and for everyone else in their countries to have the exact same thing.  They want peace, and understanding, and a better future without fighting.

Next time you hear about extremism among any group, remember that not every member of that group feels that way, or is an extremist.

No matter what the news says.

Today is:

#2 Pencil Day -- internet generated, but since a pencil can draw a line 35 miles long, write under water, in zero gravity, or upside down, what's not to celebrate!

Antique Marine Engine Exposition -- Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, US (annual exposition of pre-WWII marine engines and models; through tomorrow)

Battle of Blue Licks Celebration -- Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, Mount Olivet, KY, US (to commemorate the Revolutionary War Battle of Blue Licks with living history demonstrations, arts, crafts, games, reenactments and more; through tomorrow)

Bike Van Buren -- Van Buren County, IA, US (a leisurely two-day bike tour of villages, landmarks and landscapes)

Day of Rituals in the Temples of Ra, Horus, and Osiris -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Drink Coffee at the Office from A Sippy Cup Day -- begun by someone with a sense of humor, who wants you to see how long it takes people to notice

Festival of Diana -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Independence Day -- Indonesia(1945)

India Independence Day Parade -- Devon Avenue, Rogers Park, Chicago, IL, US (yes, a Celebration of Indian and American Democracy; anything for a party, even another country's Independence Day, right?)

International Federation of Library Associations Annual Conference -- Singapore; through the 23rd

International Geocaching Day

International Homeless Animals Day® -- International Society for Animal Right

Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon -- Leadville, CO, US (race 100 of the toughest miles in the country through the Rocky Mountains beginning at 4am; you have 30 hours to complete the course to the ghost town of Winfield and back)

Meaning of "Is" Day -- thank you, Clinton!

Minnesota Renaissance Festival -- Shakopee, MN, US (one of the countries largest and finest; weekends through the end of September)

Mt. Hagan Cultural Show -- Mt. Hagan, Papua New Guinea (one of the biggest cultural shows in Papua New Guinea; through tomorrow)

National Honey Bee Day -- US (this year's theme is Beekeeping: Ask Me How To Get Started)

National Medical Dosimetrists' Day -- US (medical radiation safety experts)

National Thrift Shop/Thrift Store Day -- no history on it, probably started by a thrift store having a summer sale; still a good idea

National Vanilla Custard Day

Odin's Ordeal begins -- based on the Ancient Norse legend, Modern Odinists and some Asatru practice silence for nine days, through the 25th

Portunalia -- Roman Empire (honoring the god of locks, keys, ports, and harbors)

Prekmurje Union Day -- Slovenia (celebrates the Slovenes in Prekmurje being Incorporated into the Mother Nation)

Sandcastle and Sculpture Day -- Nantucket, MA, US

San Martin Day -- Argentina (death anniversary of General Jose de San Martin, liberator of Argentina, chile, and Peru)

St. Hyacinth's Day (Patron of Camalaniugan, Philippines; Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto, Philippines; Kradow, Poland; Lithuania; Poland; against drowning)

The World's Greatest Carrot Festival -- Bradford, Ontario, Canada (unleash your inner Bugs Bunny! through tomorrow)

Woodward Dream Cruise Day 2013 -- Detroit, MI, US (what began in 1995 as a fundraiser for a soccer field has grown into the largest one-day classic car show in the world)

Birthdays Today:

Sean Penn, 1960
Robert DeNiro, 1943
Maureen O'Hara, 1920
Mae West, 1892
charles I, last emperor of Austria-Hungary, 1887
Samuel Goldwyn, 1882
Davy Crockett, 1786

Today in History:

The Peace of Bergerac gives political rights to the Huguenots, 1577
John White returns to Roanoke, Virginia, to find no trace of the colonists he had left there 3 years earlier, 1590
Robert Fulton's steamboat Clermont begins its first trip up the Hudson River, 1807
Solymon Merrick patents the wrench, 1835
The first bank in Hawaii opens, 1858
Patent granted for an electric self starter for automobiles, 1891
Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opens in Seattle, 1907
Fantasmagorie by Émile Cohl, the first animated cartoon, is shown in Paris, 1908
First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California, 1953
Quake Lake is formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Yellowstone earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana, 1958
East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming one of the first victims of the wall, 1962
Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage, 1969
Venera 7 launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus), 1970
Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine, 1978
The first Compact Discs are released to the public in Germany, 1982
The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of the Israel unilateral disengagement plan, starts, 2005


  1. Gestures and initiatives like that of the church do not surprise me, nor does the response from most people who encountered it. Most people want to get along with their neighbours. A fundamental tenet of Islam is supporting the poor, it is the religious duty of Muslims to do so.

    The sitution in Egypt makes me sad. Going as a writer rather than a tourist last year meant I had the chance to meet and talk to many "ordinary" people. I found most of those I spoke yearned for a tolerant and decent society and were terrified that they will not get one. Their lifestyle and businesses and families were all tremendously threatened, as usually happens in countries boiling up into civil unrest. Women I spoke to felt particularly threatened, and some were considering getting out altogether. I hope they have now done so.

    These were the lucky ones, who were educated and had money, but in Egypt, a major problem seems to be many horrifically poor and uneducated people with next to nothing, who are then encouraged by extremists who give them hope of a more secure life if they will only fight for it. Of course it is largely the government's fault for not educating the people and offering them chances. Instead, the country's assets were pocketed by crooked politicians for decades, backed by a very, very powerful army. In Egypt the army were even running hotels and tourist businesses!

    As you might know we travelled to Syria many times before the recent troubles and to me it was even more tragic there because although Syria was a dictatorship, it has a centuries long tradition of religious tolerance and the people we knew there all, without exception, were desperate to keep to that plurality. We are still in touch and life is hard for them now.

    Well, I could go on, but I won't. I feel quite strongly about this, as you can see...

  2. I don't see Muslims tolerant to any other religion. It's Islam or death. Until that changes I won't have any respect for Islam.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  3. As someone who has visited Arab countries I have seen the tolerance you speak of. Radicals screw it up for everyone. I do believe that the best idea of our founding fathers was the separation of church and state. I only wish Arab countries (other than Turkey) would embrace this idea.

  4. Jenny, i agree, the whole situation upsets me greatly, too, and i pray that it goes well for your friends.

    Sandee, there are some Muslims who are like that. My next door neighbors are not. Let's hope the ones who are tolerant and don't feel the need to force their ideas on others win out.

    Stephen, except that separation of church and state, as a statement, is not in the constitution. It's still the idea behind the First Amendment, though, and i wish everyone on earth could live under that protection.