January 30, 2011

Dissecting Egypt

I will be the first to admit that once Moses led his people from Egypt, I stopped paying attention.  I'm sure that sounds a little extreme, but our studies wandered over to Rome and then the crusades got us hooked on the rise of Islam and well, I get that Islam got a foothold in Egypt and it was for many year a diverse country where people of all religions and languages coexisted peacefully, but there were far more exciting things to study in other regions.  You know?  Peace is sadly unremarkable in the history books.  Wow.  I never thought about how unbelievably sad that is.  Anyway, that state of integrated bliss is where I lost track of Egypt.  And what was that?  Oh...1000 AD?

And here we've got this amazing uprising going on and I have no foundation from which to speak to the kids about it.  None.  And boy are they interested.  So I'm doing a little digging for political and cultural context to frame this critical time in Egypt for the Christison Crew.  The kids are seriously amazed that real people, not in a book or a movie, are so outraged by their government that they would risk their lives the way they are.  They cannot believe it!  They are really considering if they would be willing to do that and the answer has been an overwhelming, "Mom, I'd just be hiding under the coffee table if I was in Egypt.  And you'd better be too because you're my mom and I need a mom."  Then they look at me and ask what the government did that was so terrible, and honestly, outside the realm of Baha'i affairs, I have no clue what's up in Egypt. Am I alone here?  So I did some digging.

I think I'm in the know now.  I think.  I'm sure if we had tv and the endless stream of talking heads that come along with it, I'd have been in the know a long time ago, but I have arrived.  Better late than never.  I'm thinking that this is a pretty momentous thing for our kids to be making note of.  I mean, how often do you get to see a nation of people unifying against oppression?   Well, I haven't seen it that I can recall.  Though perhpas it happens all the time and I'm just not paying attention.  But we're going to seize this moment to examine an actual attempt at a transfer of power and follow the events as a home schooling adventure. 

For my non-tv owning kindred spirits out there who may be trying to get in the know, the wikipedia entry on Hosni Mubarak was by far the most interesting and enlightening read.  Especially the portion on the 2005 elections (if you really insist on calling them elections).  After watching what seems like 50 videos of talking heads telling me what's going on now while I simply wanted to know why it was going on, a quick summary of the sham that is called the Arab Republic of Egypt was enough to make me get it.  I still can't say I get the whole setting ones self on fire thing, but I assume there must be something cultural about that because it seems to be a common form of suicide among women in the Arab nations as well as a popular form of protest.  I suppose that's a topic for another day's study. 

For now, we sit waiting and watching, hoping for peaceful ends to this major event.  Sweet Hannah Jane is worried that the pyramids will be damaged if people keep fighting, which I think is so precious.  On one hand, she discusses world events like a grown up (if it's not the Uygur minority in China, it's Ahmadinejad's supposed contact with the hidden Imam), and on the other, there's an element of pristine naivety there that is so enviable.  The pyramids are trapped in a war zone and half-informed children around the world lament.  How sweet is that?  I suppose tomorrow we'll have to google map Egypt and see how far removed the pyramids are or are not from the action.


  1. Having been to Egypt before....I would probably have to say that the Pyramids are not that far from the city....I had also envisioned that the Pyramids of Giza would be out in the vast desert with nothing around for miles.....it was a bit of a dissapointment who the city just grew and grew and grew and so there are people and Pizza hut's sitting almost on top of the pyramids. We watched a lightshow one night at the pyramids but since we were short on cash, we sat inside the KFC and watched it from there....

  2. "Mom, I'd just be hiding under the coffee table if I was in Egypt." I agree!

  3. Nancy, that is sadly funny. KFC and pyramids are not things I would expect in the same snapshot. We looked on Google Maps and the pyramids that we were looking at seemed pretty far away from any growth. Perhaps at least those will be spared the progress of man! I hope they're still there when we make it some day!


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