We should as easily be asking why a will matters, why an organ donation card matters -- so why DOES a bucket list matter? I must answer again, Egypt. It showed me why.
This is not a political, religious, or any other kind of list except for travel. But I need to share my story. I shared my wonderful story with you all after I returned from the most awesome trip of my life to Egypt. As a historian, that's saying something. No picture books or exemplars could every match what I actually saw (and most of what I posted could not be photographed).
I am also a news junkie. I can't read books, grade papers, or prepare lectures without 'noise' in the background, whether it be news (usually), weather, sports (frequently, though I am really biased there) or whatever.
I am both stunned and not stunned by the events in Egypt in the past 11 days. I saw everything that made for a revolution-in-the-making while i was in Egypt. I was truly met by the most hospitable, wonderful, welcoming, genuine, people I have ever met. NOwhere did I encounter hostility. Sometimes the children at the Pyramids pressed too much, but my Muslim female guide fended them off and gave me good advice. I was shielded from a lot of Egyptian society because private tours are the norm in Egypt and 'tour police' are even part of the whole department.
I am a practicing Catholic, and I met Christians (one of my guides was a Coptic Christian, as was his driver) and Muslims. Most of all, I met people who wanted the same kinds of freedom all of us have. Never once did I encounter extremism. Admittedly it has happened in the past, but while the current regime is trying to play up that element (even as they are attacking Western and Arabic journalists alike), the people do not. These are a religious people, but they are for the most part no more extremist than some in the US. They yearn for democracy, for freedom, for the ability of my glass-seller (should I post the photos of the glasses I bought?) to tell me his story as a history teacher who could go nowhere. We have extremists here on both sides, but Egypt is a country yearning to be free. Not to be freed, but to be free. I was a Wellesley student, where the motto was 'non ministrare, sed ministrare'. We in the West are not in much of a position to do much -- it is now in the hands of the Egyptian people.
I will ask my fellow Marriott members this night and tomorrow especially -- if you believe or if you do not -- to think of the people of Egypt at this time. It's not as a historian I say this, though that part fascinates me, but as a person who was there, right before IT happened.
The people and you have my vote!
I hope there will be peace, but I think the worst is yet to come. Not only there but Jordan, Yemen, and I hope not London!
Thank God, you did your trip to Egypt when you did. It may be a long time for any of us to have that opportunity. Likewise, you then hope there is a reason to go and see and experience what you did!
Dear Judge, I too pray for peace in the Middle East, and a peaceful resolution to a seemingly chaotic situation there. The real tragedy is in terms of human lives, those whose situation as humble citizens are changed on a daily basis, caught in the vise of a autocracy and a movement to unseat it.
Reminds me that we live in a world where events in seemingly distant places touch us in ways we can see and feel.
As a college student in the early to mid-60s I often thought that Vietnam was just a place on the map but by the end of the decade it was in my field of vision. The Cuban revolution was something I studied in grad school until I met Cuban refugees with horrible tales to tell and of promises betrayed. The lessons are there, but soon forgotten.
To my Egyptian and my Israeli friends and all peoples I wish for the best and for continued peace in a troubled region.