Posts Tagged ‘peace’

The Gunpowder Guard Guy

April 7, 2012

While visiting Seattle last fall, I observed the Occupy Seattle for a couple of days. I thought it would be interesting to see what was going on in that city’s setting where riots had erupted in 1999 during the World Trade Organization meeting. It was.

One thing I noticed at Occupy Seattle was a particular mask–several of them, actually–being worn by some of the Occupyers. You may have noticed it in a photo or two taken during the coverage of that movement last year. The face depicted on the mask resembles the classic Greek drama/comedy symbol. It is male face with a thinly styled handlebar moustache, presenting a rather bizarre plastic smile.

My later research revealed the visage to be a representation of some guy named Guy Fawkes. Guy who?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_mask

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta_(film)

Guy Fawkes was a fanatic Catholic terrorist who almost succeeded in blowing up the House of Lords in the year of our Lord 1605. http://www.britannia.com/history/g-fawkes.html

England and Scotland had been all asunder over religion at that time. The great divisive issue of the day was whether the Protestants were to have the run of Great Britain, or whether the Catholics could muscle their way back into power after the 1603 death of Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth’s father, the infamous King Henry VIII, had brought the religious contentions to a boil during his reign (1507-1547.) His multiple marriage escapades, along with an independently brewing Protestantism in England, had severed the ecclesiastical bonds with the Roman church. Elizabeth I had sought, after her father’s death, to stabilize the church of England by encouraging both strains of Christian religious devotion–the popish ceremony and the protestant emphasis on holiness.

According to David Starkey, http://acornonline.com/product.aspx?p=monarchy&sid, the accession of King James I after Elizabeth would manifest an even more Protestant direction for Great Britain. Certain extremists of the Catholic faction did not like this development one bit. So they decided to take manners into their hands with some strategically placed gunpowder fireworks.

Sound familiar? Very modern it was.  This sort of thing has apparently been going on all along in human history, perhaps directly proportional to the pyrotechnic capabilities of each era.

In our time, what’s alarming about the Occupy movement is this terrorist revolutionary undercurrent. Are they willing to identify their movement, and their tactics, with this Guy Fawkes guy? He was a terrorist, outright–caught red-handed on the night Nov 4, 1605, with a fuse to detonate a large gunpowder stash that had been gathered in a cellar chamber directly beneath Parliament in London.

Early IRA stuff it was, and Al Qaidaesque too.

Fawkes and his popish co-conspirators should have been taking their inspiration from the founder of their faith– the Risen Savior– instead of bullish church politics. And that goes for the protestants too. Damn their death-wielding tactics and machinations!

As for the Occupyers, they would do well to take their cues from the Prince of Peace,  resurrected from being dead, instead of any violent revolutionary like that Guy guy.  And I think Rev. Dr. King would agree if he were here.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

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Equality, divinely inspired

December 18, 2011

About 27 centuries ago, a prophet named Isaiah lived in the Jewish home-city, Jerusalem. He spoke presciently to his  countrymen about the dire condition and future direction of their waning theocracy. Among the many figurative utterances that Isaiah spoke to his people during those turbulent times was this cataclysmic declaration:

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.”

Two and a half millenia later, the composer George Frideric Handel appropriated this mountainous prophecy for the the introductory elements of his classic musical oratorio, The Messiah.

In any venue where the piece is performed, Handel’s masterpiece of Messianic fervor begins with a dynamic, stringed baroque overture. Then, in clear, declarative recitative, the bold tenor voice announces that Jerusalem’s warfare is done, divine absolution is on the way, and now is the time to “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Since a highway requires some earth-moving preparatory work, the tenor’s exposition continues with Isaiah’s earth-shaking analogy that I mentioned above:

“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.”

But there is much more going on here in the scriptural proclamation than a proposal for highway construction. Isaiah was enunciating a foundational principle of Jewish identity, and later Christian hope: Justice. And not just any old legal notion of justice, but a divinely-appointed equality among God’s people that is achieved when their societal field is providentially leveled and everyone has opportunity to live bountifully.

Now, what I’m wondering is: Will this God-sanctioned hope for justice on earth be accomplished through the Almighty’s soverign mandate upon his people,  or do we, as God’s people (if you count yourself among that group as I do) need to get busy and make the righteous vision happen?

If Isaiah’s echoing, metaphorical call to level the playing field resonates in your soul– if you can glean from his prophetic vision a possibility that someday the lowly will be raised up, and the high and mighty humbled–if you can catch a glimpse of a coming kingdom in which  mercy and grace obliterates oppression and injustice–then you may someday be singing that Hallelujah chorus with Isaiah and Handel in the Messiah’s  grand finale.

I Hope to see you there.

Wealth Distribution

October 16, 2011

Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the people. He must have noticed that its believers were generally more prone to forgive the wicked than to overthrow them. But Marx had formed his theories long before the narcoticizing power of the televesion age, which neutralizes the masses with affordable luxury and meaningless pop culture . You can’t organize a dictatorship of the proletariat among a herd of virtual contented cows.

What the revolutionaries really need to redistribute bourgeois wealth is a herd of boshevik bulls who can throw their weight around in the delicately stratified china shop of societal order. But the problem for revolutionaries in north America has always been that the bulls–the real movers and shakers– sided early on with the capitalists, and they all ended up on wallstreet building productive companies and  prosperous portfolios, instead of revolutions.

Although the revolutionaries are loath to admit it, the capitalist system has actually distributed wealth quite broadly and plentifully during the last hundred and twenty years or so.

That wave of growing prosperity, unprecedented in world history, has not been distributed equally. Broadly and plentifully, yes, but not equally. This is nothing new; wealth accumulation has never in human history been egalitarian. And it never will be, no matter what the professor says, no matter what the Occupy speaker in the public square says.

While the bulls have been kicking up gold dust on wall street for a couple of centuries, mom and pop were setting up shop down on main street catching a piece of the action. That’s how it has been in north America.

The fact that the system now fails to deliver goods and services at levels previously enjoyed is undeniable. Suddenly, in the space of a few years, there doesn’t seem to be enough wealth to go around. But we the people are not powerless. I prefer to believe we can act, individually and collectively, in love and kindness, and yes–in peace and self-control– toward every person, and every group of persons we meet.

Many millenia ago, a fearless speaker spoke about a coming Messiah. Isaiah prophecied that the promised one would “judge the needy with righteousness. With justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his mouth he will slay the wicked.”

I, a Christian believer, am willing to await Messiah’s decision on these matters of justice, instead of taking matters into my own sinfully selfish hands. That position renders me as “religious” in the eyes of a secularly evolving world.

Now I’ve keyed up enough here for one Sunday morning session at Starbucks. I’ll take a walk, one block along Georgia Street to the art museum, where the Occupy Vancouver crowd gathers. Let’s see what those who claim to speak for the 99 have to say about the one.

Glass Chimera

Turkey

October 8, 2011

Turkey is, as Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, “in the middle of everything.”
It truly is–geographically, religionally, and culturally–at the crossroads of the world, where every thing meets, at some time or another, every other thing. These days it seems that mediating position  encompasses, more relevantly than ever, the political realm.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Oct 8 article on Prime Minister Erdogan, when the Turkish leader was in Cairo last month he challenged his Muslim neighbors: “”The Turkish state is in its core, a state of freedoms and secularism. The world is changing to a system where the will of the people will rule – why should the Europeans and the Americans be the only ones to live with dignity? Aren’t Egyptians and Somalians also entitled to a life of dignity?”

This unique approach to governance  is not new in today’s Muslim world. It arises predictably from the heart of modern Turkey, which had been established as a purposefully secular government  when the “Young Turks” took over in 1908. Their revolution overturned the authority of Abdulhamid II; the Sultan’s removal from power precipitated a final demise of the withering Ottoman empire. From that political takeover, and then through the trauma of World War I which followed a few years later,  restive nationalists emerged in a surge of Turkish military confidence. But they were called immediately to another struggle–to extricate their fledgling state from postwar Allied ethnic partitioning. The Young Turks managed to focus their movement in a strong way that united a diversity of  ethnic groups. By the time the Republic  was established in 1924, one unmistakably popular soldier arose  as the definitive leader of the Turkish people: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
His story, which had begun in 1880 at Salonica, across the Aegean on the Macedonian coast, is a fascinating one. I have been reading about it in M. Sukru Hanioglu’s biographical book Ataturk.

Kemal Ataturk, more than any other person, steered the young-old nation’s identity, during the 1920s and ’30s, toward democracy and secular objectivity; it is a favorable precedent that survives to this day. Perhaps in our time the Turks will, from this perspective, guide the Muslim world to a position of moderate exchange with the democratic world, instead of taking a jihadist anti-Israel turn.

So very rich is the history of their homeland, which is known also by the name of its central plateau, Anatolia. To begin with,  Noah’s Ark settled on Turkish earth as the flood waters receded several millenia ago. Its pitch-covered frame is said to be nestled somewhere in the crags of antiquity  up on Mt. Ararat.

More recently I am informed, through enquiries into my Christian heritage, that Turkey (“Asia” of the New Testament writers) was the birthplace of apostle Paul (of Tarsus, on the east Mediterranean coast). It’s no wonder that the dyed-in-the-wool Phariseic Jew had such a burden to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ resurrection among the Gentiles. He had grown up among them. In Antioch (now Antakya), across the Iskenderun Corfezi bay from Tarsus, “Christians” were first called by that name.

Over to the west, in the Lydia region which slopes down to the Aegean, the sites of nascent Christian identity are found. This is the area where believers in Jesus took their earliest solo flights from the Judaic runway back in Jerusalem. The “seven churches” to whom Jesus addresses his salutory letters in Revelation are here in Turkey. They are the churches that Paul and others had established in Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum (Bergama), Thyatira (now Akhisar), Sardis, Philadelphia (now Alasehir), and Laodicea (now Denizli).

Since that churchly inception nineteen hundred years ago, the dizzying experience of peoples of Anatolia has included administration by four military empires: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. This last empire originated in Turkey itself, in the central plateau, Anatolia. The Ottoman empire began in the thirteenth century C.E. and spanned six centuries of time until its end after World War I. The Armistice of Mudros 1918 Oct 30 “marked the end not only of the Ottoman participation in the Great War, but effectively also (the end) of one of the longest-lasting empires in history.”(M. Sukru Hanioglu, p.86)

Here are a few more notable facts about Turkey:
~ Troy, the ancient fortress city beseiged by the Greeks and conquered under the shadow of the infamously deceptive “Trojan horse,” (See Homer’s Iliad) is on the northwestern Aegaen coast.
~ When Emperor Constantine left Rome in 330 C.E., he relocated the empire in what is now Turkey, on the Bosporus strait waterway between Black Sea and Meditteranean; The ancient city there–Byzantium–he renamed Constantinople, after himself. From 395-1453, it was the seat of the Byzantine empire, and was ecclesiastical center of  the Orthodox Christian Church.
~ The Ottoman Turks took Constantinople in 1453, and it became known as Istanbul, which was the seat of the Ottoman empire until after WWI, when the capital of the new Republic of Turkey was moved to Ankara, in the Anatolian heartland.
~ The six-century-long Ottoman empire encompossed the Arab world and beyond, with its zenith during the 16th-century under Suleiman II, after assuming the Moslem caliphate in 1517. The northward thrust of the empire extended as far as Austria, but was defeated by the rising Hapsburg dynasty near Vienna in 1683.  This European repulsion is considered by many to have been the deliverance of European Christendom from Moslem dominance, and thus a turning point in history.

I’m glad the Austro-Hungarians were able to turn the Moslems around before they got to Vienna, so that Europe, and my ancestors, retained a Christian heritage. Over on the other end of the Continent, my Francish namesake Roland had been instrumental in turning the Mohammedans back from Spain about six hundred years earlier.

Here and now, in the 21st-century, I wish the Turkish people and their Prime Minister well. May God’s blessings be upon them. And I hope they can convince the rest of the Muslim world not to force Israel, whom Mr. Erdogan calls “the West’s spoiled child” from their ancient Jewish homeland.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Uganda has come a long way since Idi Amin.

October 5, 2011

The nation of Uganda has come a long way on the path to civilization since the dark days of Idi Amin’s regime. Although that dictator had attempted, back in the ’70s, to impose his blood-shedding will upon his fellow Ugandans, his murderous manipulations were foiled by the neighboring Tanzanians. They ran Idi and his gang of thugs out of Africa when he tried to export his cruel program across their border in 1979. Thank God they put a stop to his campaigns of killing.

This is the first thing I think about when Uganda is mentioned, because I’m a sixtyish baby-boomer who has kept, through the years, an eye on world news, and I remember this about Uganda: the murderous dictator, Idi Amin, who had been assisted by the Libya dictator, Qadhafi, and how he killed hundreds of thousands of his people just for the sake of…for the sake of …whatever it is that tyrants are trying to do when they set their killing machines into motion.

But these days, Uganda is, thank God, a very different place. Just a month or two ago, my daughter Kim visited that nation and its capital city, Kampala. She was working there–assisting in, and reporting on, the Operation Christmas Child gift distribution. Kim, trained at UNC School of Journalism, was able to utilize some of her documentary skills, as you will see from these photos, which are accompanied by her report upon the Samaritan’s Purse work there.

Yes, Kim’s facebook update about this situation in a formerly war-torn Uganda brings good news. And I received that news with a kind of deja vu, because it reminded me of when my other journalist daughter, Katie, had sent similarly upbeat reports from Vietnam a few years ago. Katie and her team of world-tromping Christian companions had been welcomed with open arms, in that country of Vietnam, which had been torn to bloody hell during the civil war of the ’60s and ’70s in which we had a dismal role.

Now these days…well, we live in dark days–hard times–in which the ominous clouds of depression and unrest seem to grow heavier every day upon our lowering prospects for peace and prosperity. But somewhere in the world today, children are joyful because the love of Christ is being extended to them. Uganda is such a place (who’d have thought it?), thanks to the persistently beneficial work of Samaraitan’s Purse, and other Christian outfits who reach out to underpriveleged folks everywhere.

I’m so happy that my Kim is an integral link in that worldwide network of mercy and provision. God bless ’em.

Glass half-Full

Turning the religious world upside down

October 2, 2011

A young, whippersnappin’ religious zealot thought he was doing his people a favor by ridding their religion of heretics. But then a strange thing happened while he was on the way to Damascus. Under the influence of a direct encounter with God, Saul was blinded by the light, fell off his horse, and ended up doing a complete dogmatic turnaround. Ultimately he became a masterful defender of the fledgling Christian faith that he had previously persecuted with such ferocity.

God soon directed Saul–not back to Jerusalem, the center of the Judaic universe–but to the unlikely city of Damascus, and to untamed Arabia, of all places, to receive direct instruction about what really needed to be done in the world of human religion. God, after commanding the impetuous disciple to change his name name to Paul, imparted to him over the next three years a vision of the new spiritual movement that would change the world.

Paul’s revolutionary message pertained to a once-and-and-for-all atonement for human sin, which had recently been accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. This tomb-breaking work of Jesus was a veil-ripping feat, and its spiritually revolutionary power had rendered obsolete the ancient Abrahamic practice of animal sacrifice.

Proclaiming such news would prove to be no easy task, as Paul’s subsequent life later demonstrated; he suffered dearly for having accepted the assignment. As have many spiritual reformers before and since, he paid a heavy price for having taken on his mission to turn upside down the religious establishment of his day. Even his comrade-in-alms, Peter, had to be lead kicking and screaming down the newly-blazed path of spiritual liberty, away from dogmatic bondage.

Amos, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and other prophets of old had trod the same difficult way. Paul’s work was not the first of such tribulative, misunderstood reform labors; nor would his job be the last, by any means. After he had midwifed the birth of Christian belief from inside the bloody womb of Mosaic tradition, many other persecuted reformers would follow historically in his footsteps–Waldo in 12th-century Italy, Hus in 14th-century Czechoslavakia , Luther in 16th-century Germany, Wilberforce in 19th-century England with abolitionists in enslaved America, Nee in 20th-century China,  Bonheoffer in Nazi-occupied Germany, and God only knows those prophetic reformers yet to come.

Christians, like any other sincerely religious people, are perpetually confronted with the necessity of casting off the bondage of unproductive legalism, and destructive error.

Back at the inception of Christianity, Paul’s world-shattering message had been to propel the way of holiness beyond Judaism. Take it to the gentiles, said he, and onward to the the world at large. As later history unfolded, his earthshaking opus panned out quite successfully. Faith in Jesus has travelled around the world, transcending a multiplicity of religious mountains. Perhaps the next Paul-type reformer will be that persuasive one whose voice who can penetrate the hardest  mosqueleum of today’s grave world.  His prophetic call to eternal life in Christ will speak softly into the ears of  millions of souls who daily prostrate themselves beneath the heavy shari’a pillars of Islam.

More potent than twitter, more pervasive than facebook, and fresher than any Arab spring, is the peace of  Jesus.  Its power is discovered in a message of freedom, proclaimed originally by a Jew, formerly dogma-driven, whose first assignment from Messiah was to go to Damascus, and then to the Arabian desert for three years to get his life straightened out.

Maybe he will go there again, in some way or another. Selah.

communally or individually

April 17, 2011

If man was made to live in community,
with society to be the greater entity,
then help me Lord to do and be
productive one of that totality.

But if each is rugged individual here to be,
and self-expression is ultimate uniquity,
then help me Lord to be that specialty
that you have called me here to be.

It takes all kinds to make a world, you see.
We need to live in peace, not enmity.
Please help me, you, who stand here next to me
to be that one that I was meant to be.

Glass half-Full

Faithful Presence

April 4, 2011

To change the world– a noble challenge to which we Christians have always aspired– now becomes a new call to service issued by James Davison Hunter, in his book by the same name: To Change the World.

Dr. Hunter’s clarion call is preceded in the book by an analysis of historical and contemporary manifestations, among the people who call themselves servants of God, of that God-inspired inclination to make the world a better place. Hunter’s analysis identifies three strategic camps within  American Christianity today:
~Christians whose dominant cultural identity is found in defending themselves and their institutions (especially the family) from encroaching secularism; (the “defensive against” camp, as defined by Prof. Hunter)
~Christians whose motivation for divine fulfillment is centered on working toward justice, and toward institutional and individual benevolence to help poor and oppressed people; (the “relevance to” camp as defined by Prof. Hunter)
~Christians whose purpose is to maintain and advocate a pure manifestation of Christ’s work and teachings, with emphasis on peace and non-violence; (the “purity from” camp, as defined by Prof. Hunter)

After a cogent description of each, and consideration of their various impacts upon society as a whole, James David Hunter concludes his book’s message with a new (although its as old as the prophet Jeremiah!) paradigm for Christian involvement in our secularized world. “Faithful presence” is the strategy by which we authenticate God’s love for all people by adopting societal well-being as our own. This requires us to accept worldly responsibilities for the welfare of the communities and nation in which we live. Rather than despising worldly society we take our places, prepared and enabled by God, within it.

Our biblical example and precedent for this collaboration is found in the exhortation that Jeremiah issued to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, two and a half millenia ago. The prophet told them:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile form Jerusalem to Babylon: build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jer. 29:4-7)

I emphasize that last sentence because I think it summarizes well the essence of Professor Hunter’s point. Even more importantly, though– it is a biblically sound, potent call to service for our generation of Christians and all those who follow us–“faithful presence” in the community and nation in which we each live. Responsible presence, caring presence, contributing presence, and hey–presents! at Christmas and other appropriate times.

The “welfare” of which Jeremiah speaks above is not the governmental dole system which in some cases enables laziness and lethargy to overtake people who are down and out. Nevertheless, our welfare system–woefully deficient as it is– is not beyond the capacity of our great God, through his son Jesus, to redeem and sanctify those unfortunate citizens (Christian and otherwise) who partake of it.
So do not judge those who find themselves stuck in that dolish “welfare” predicament. But rather, work as God’s productive people, saved by the blood of the Lamb, to lift the levels of living water in God’s sea of humanity so that all boats will rise within it.

Glass half-Full

Sadat on enterprise and sacrifice

March 5, 2011

All his life, Anwar Sadat, the Arab leader who sought to make peace with Israel, was willing to buck the tide of prevailing opinions among his allies.
In his autobiography, he recalls economic conditions in Egypt in 1961, nine years before he became President. Mr. Sadat writes, on page 213 of In Search of Identity:

“In 1961 the nationalization measures were taken and an economic takeoff could have taken place, based on the public sector as well as a healthily promoted private sector; we could have proceeded to vast economic achievements.
“However, our socialism began to be singed in practice with Marxism.  Any free enterprise system came to be regarded as odious capitalism and the private sector as synonymous with exploitation and robbery.  Individual effort came to a standstill, and from this stemmed the terrible passivity of the people that I still suffer from to this day.
“A point was reached where the state was expected not only to undertake economic planning (apart from running foreign and domestic policies), but actually to provide eggs and chickens and dozens of other things that individual free enterprise could and should have easily provided. As a result, and according to that “new” theory, the people came to rely on the state in everything. They expected the state to provide them with food, work, housing, and education.  Indeed, having professed to be socialist, the state was expected to provide citizens with everything they needed without their having to make any positive effort at all. It was that shinking back from active individual enterprise that marked the beginning of our abysmal economic collapase.”

That’s what the man wrote about individual free enterprise. I think it is still timely advice. But I’d like to bring to your attention another matter of importance that Sadat brought into the discourses of men before he was assassinated in 1981.

A few years before his death, this President of Egypt stood boldly before the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, and proclaimed a desire to work toward a peace with justice. He was the first Arab to do so.  On November 20, 1977, he spoke a message of hard truth balanced with hopeful intent to the legislators of Israel. Anwar issued a bold challenge that day–not only to the Israelis, but also to his fellow Arabs, and also to the whole world–as if such lofty words of peace can be uttered among men in the annals of power. Peacemaker that he sought to be, Sadat spoke these words as an historical– and even (dare I say it between Muslims, Jews, and Christians)– theological foundation for his appeal. He said:

“It is so fated that my trip to you, which is a journey of peace, coincided with the Islamic feast, the holy Feast of the Sacrifice when Abraham–peace be upon him–forefather of the Arabs and Jews, submitted to God, and, not out of weakness but through a giant spiritual force and by free will, sacrificed his very own son, thus personifying a firm and unshakable belief in ideals that have had for mankind a profound significance.”

What’s significant here is Sadat’s use of the words “sacrificed his very own son,” in reference to the patriarch of monotheistic religion, Abraham. This is curiously instructive.

I gather that Muslims believe that Abraham actually sacrificed his son (whom they call Ishmael) that day, whereas Jews believe (according to Torah) that God spared Abe’s son (Isaac) that day by providing a lamb as propitiation.

Meanwhile, we Christians believe that those words “sacrificed his very own son,” apply to God himself, as God sent Jesus, through the historical tradition of Abraham, to be our unblemished sacrificial lamb, offered as atonement for the sins of us all, individually and collectively.

Put that in your hookah and smoke it. We shall see, when the kingdom of God is manifest, how all this plays out.

CR, with new novel on the way, Smoke

An Appeal to Mr. Moussa and Mr. ElBaradei

March 1, 2011

Amr Moussa and Muhammed ElBaradei may become the principal candidates for the Presidency of Egypt. I hope they will remember the precedent of peace and integrity that had been established by their former great leader. And I’m not talking about Hosni Mubarak.

Anwar el- Sadat, President of Egypt from 1971 to 1981, was a military man who had arisen from humble origins. His steadfast leadership was tempered by a rare humility that is not found commonly in the annals of human history and diplomacy. Mr. Sadat’s evenly-tempered command of the Egyptian military led ultimately to an effective peace with Israel, and an appreciation for freedom that  now contributies mightily to a budding legacy of responsible government.

Anwar Sadat was the man  whose cautious fortitude took the Sinai back from the Israelis.

Hosni Mubarak was his air force commander and later vice-president. History seems to indicate that Mr. Mubarak’s service to the Egyptian people was more favorably contributed in those two roles than as President after Sadat was assassinated.
In the 1973 war with Israel, Anwar Sadat’s army and air force secured that swathe of dry Sinai land and put it back in the hands of the Egyptian people where it belongs. And yet Mr. Sadat’s integrity and his deep desire for reconciliation among men  ultimately produced a peace arrangement with Israel that is worth maintaining.

His autobiography, In Search of Identity, was published by Harper & Row in 1977. I’m hoping that Mr. Moussa, Mr. ElBaradei, and any other Egyptians whose heart is to lead that ancient nation will cherish these words of wisdom from their martyred President. Anwar Sadat wrote:

“In conclusion I must put on record that the Egyptian people differ from many other peoples, even within the Arab world. We have recovered our pride and self-confidence after the October 1973 battle, just as our armed forces did. We are no longer motivated by “complexes”–whether defeatist “inferiority” ones or those born out of suspicion and hate. And this is why the opposing sides met soon after the battle dust had settled to talk matters over. We did so when the first and second forces disengagement agreements were concluded, and again when I met Mrs. Meir in Israel. With the fighting over, we harbored nothing but respect for one another. Our civilized people know this; it is what induced 5 million citizens to come out to greet me on my return, and the armed forces to salute me in an impressive and quite unprecedented manner.

“Our cultural depths are there; our cultural roots are alive, as vigourous as ever after more than 7000 years. Those who are surprised by what we do cannot simply understand this fact. They cannot grasp the real nature of a people who are working for a modern civilization comparable to the one they erected thousands of years ago in freedom and peace.”

During the most productive part of his lifetime, the President who had come from the village of Mit Abul-Kum lived near Cairo on Pyramid Road. I hope the people of Egypt will cherish the legacy of peace, integrity and strength that Anwar Sadat excavated from that memorialized base of operations.

Don’t hold it against me that I, an American, suggest this from a distant perspective in a land far away from you. But there’s nothing I can do about that. I am a citizen of the world, just as you are, and we need to coexist here on earth so that all hell does not break loose again, if that is possible.

Glass half-Full