We’re roughly eight hours from the deadline the military has given President Morsi to make changes or step down. The rhetoric is heating up and words like “war” and “martyr” and “bloodshed” have become part of the conversation. If you’ve not been paying attention, the people of Egypt began demonstrating against their “democratically elected” president on Sunday, the one year anniversary of his inauguration. He has failed in every way. The economy is spiraling downward as the Egyptian pound loses value, tourism is non-existent, and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed government is slowly imposing Islamic law on a people who have lived with many religions peacefully for many years.
The country is predominantly moderate to liberal Muslims, secularists and about 10% Christian. Many of the protests have been Muslims protesting the increasing persecution of Christians. There has always been harmony between the faiths. The Brotherhood wants to label anyone whose faith is not their own as “infidels”.
On Monday, the leader of the military issued an ultimatum to the President. Respond to the demands of the people to hold early elections or we will take over. This creates some tricky diplomatic geometry for the US and Europe. The death toll is rising and hundreds have been injured. There have been 46 women, including a Danish journalist, be sexually assaulted during the protests.
This is a big, important global, historic event, but it’s more personal for me since I was there a couple of months ago. More importantly, I made friends there, people with whom I am still in touch and about whom I care deeply. I am constantly refreshing my news pages, checking facebook, and I am STILL trying to find a decent Arabic translator. Google is bad but Bing is absolutely useless. I’ve looked at a few others but given up after a while. It’s a complicated language, I get it. But don’t claim your site can translate it if you CAN’T FREAKING TRANSLATE IT.
I’m feeling the burden of this situation acutely. I have a hard time reading people’s posts about The Bachelorette when I know this is going on in the world. In fairness to, well, me, I would’ve had a hard time with Bachelorette posts any time because I hate that crap, but it’s even worse now. I’m going to Disneyland this weekend and I feel like such an a-hole. I know, I know. There’s nothing I can do, so I might as well go on vacation, but still, I feel a bit like this:
THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT IS IMPLODING AND THE COUNTRY IS ON THE VERGE OF CIVIL WAR! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Ummmm….I’m going to Disneyland?
See? I’m an a-hole.
I know I’m not. I’m going to go and have fun. I need the break. But Egypt will be on my mind and in my heart the whole time.