The Cancer Within: Egyptians, Speak Up!
Our reaction to today's events at Sharm el Sheikh must go beyond just "mourning" the dead. If this is not a big and loud wake up call to all Egyptians, from all walks of life, I am not sure what will it take for Egyptians (and Arabs for that matter) to speak up?
It is time to demonstrate our disgust at what's happening in our midst. We must acknowledge, courageously, that something is terribly wrong. A cancer is growing from within.
Of course there will be those voices that express concern that any form of protest against terrorism is a form of acquiescence with the United States' misguided "war on terror" or the war in Iraq.
There is no doubt that the American war in Iraq (or Afghanistan) is unjust; that American, or other Western governments', actions against Arab or Muslim nations are, sometimes, motivated and guided by intolerable prejudices and blatant double standards. But none of that should create any illusions, or disillusions, about our own share of responsibility. There should be no more excuses or looking the other way, when clearly, something is terribly wrong with few Egyptians, Arabs or Muslims. And "few" is the operative word here.
In modern times and most of the past 200 years, Egyptians' struggle to find their "place under the sun" and among the developed and civilized nations of the world had withstood the test of various bottlenecks and painful thresholds. This, I believe, is one such threshold. And if we do not practice an honest form of inner cleansing, we are doomed to fail. It is not the place here and now to enumerate all the other "negative" habits and phenomena in Egyptian society, and they are not all equally cancerous either.
Clearly times of struggle for independence, liberty and decent living, often dictate a process of prioritization and critical self-scrutiny, and in this case standing up to terrorism and fanaticism is of the utmost and highest priority. It is inextricably linked to the other causes, and not confronting them directly, may even be at the root of some.
To all of those who are, unfairly, giving our culture a bad name, we should be saying: "Enough is Enough." By the same strength and commitment that we are saying it to the tyrant regimes that are robbing us from true democracy, freedom and decent living. Demonstrating and protesting against the virus that is growing from within is not a derailment for our struggle for a fair and equitable society. If the Lebanese were capable of standing up to the evil and cancerous elements in their midst, why can't the Egyptians? Granted the circumstances are totally different, but the parallels are truly applicable to the collective psyche of an entire nation and its capacity in facing its own inner dragons.
On the contrary, if we do not confront our own inner demons, if we do not face our own dragons head on, how could we be healthy enough, strong enough or capable enough, to fight the external dragons, whomever they may be, wherever they come from? Standing up to the sick minds that have decided that killing innocent people is justified on religious grounds or for some misguided Machiavellian ideological constitutions, is of paramount and critical urgency. Uprooting the fertile grounds for hatred and blind inhumane tactics is a responsibility of every sane citizen. The burden of swift action lies on our shoulders.
We need not, passively, defend Islam, Arabs or Egyptians, as God-fearing, peaceful people, we must insist that they are! And show it by our civilized proactive actions.
We must, not only, join the rest of the civilized world in condemning the tide of extremism and fanaticism, we must lead the world in those actions. This should be forcefully and equally expressed whether the victims are "foreigners" or "indigenous', "Muslims" or "non-Muslims". It should be done, period!
The sanctity of human life has no passport and should have no religion.
In death, we should all be dignified humans, as we should be in living!
Egyptians, stand up to the cancer within!