...or a tyrant who attacks his own people.
A few reporters, and a lot of bloggers (whoohooo, I’m a blogger!) are trying to tell everyone about something awesome that came out of Egypt yesterday.
Muslims and Christians, as well as a whole lot of purely secular folks, are all gathered together, protesting the same thing, and they are not only respecting each other’s beliefs, they are actually actively defending them.
Stories are coming out of Tahrir Square where the majority of the protesters to Mubarak’s reign have gathered, and one of those stories is particularly inspiring.
Muslim prayer schedule is very rigid, as you may well know – prayer is the second pillar of Islam after all. And that prayer schedule doesn’t get interrupted for much, if anything. But how do you offer your sacred prayers to Allah when you are busy protesting? Well, it turns out your Christian friends come to your rescue – a large number of the Coptic (i.e. Egyptian) Christians in the square formed a human shield around their Muslim brothers and sisters to protect them while they prayed.
Not to be outdone, the Muslims returned the favour later on, shielding their Christian allies with their bodies while they prayed.
Never ones to be left behind, the atheists in the crowd have joined in. The scene appears to be one of real unification, particularly important and impressive due to the tensions that have long existed between the majority Islamic population and the smaller (about 10%) Christian one. But that tension appears to be decreasing, and in the face of adversity nonetheless. The resounding cries through the square have been “Muslim, Christian, we are all one! We are Egyptian!”
Who knew that all you needed to unite two contrary religious groups was a dictator who is willing to use the police and military to attack those who protest against him. Come on Mr. Mubarak, you don’t think the entire world knows that the “supporters” who attacked the protesters were / are police or military acting under your direction? We may be a bit ignorant about your culture and country, but we watch a lot of conspiracy movies. We know a rat when we see one.
I want to leave you with the image of a Muslim Imam, being carried on the shoulders of three people, one Christian, one Muslim and one atheist. In one hand he has a copy of the Qu’ran, in the other a crucifix. And his rallying cry is one of togetherness and love. That’s the image coming out of Tahrir Square. An appropriate place for it to happen – Tahrir translates to “Liberation”… and it looks like Egypt might just finally see it. Liberation from the rule of a dictator, and just maybe, liberation from the hatred that has simmered between its main religions for centuries.