More elaborate updates later, but a quick note:
On June 4, Barack Obama will address the Muslim world from a pedestal in Egypt. Like the rest of the international community, Egypt seemed to derive a lot of hope from Obama’s victory. In turn, many Egyptians have told us they’re excited for his visit.
At AUC, we encountered some healthy skepticism – if not a hint of disenchantment with the world’s romantic portrait of America’s new president. Some of the students prefaced their less-than-spellbound perspectives with apologies. But really, we should all be holding our breath.
The first step to restoring America’s moral integrity, and polishing the grime off the word “patriotism,” was putting Obama in the White House.
The second step will be transforming a conversation about change into global evidence of change.
Which is why our AUC peers said they weren’t brimming with blind joy, they said. More important than the symbolism of Obama’s trip to Egypt will be the substance of his message.
“It’s nice that he’s coming to Egypt,” one girl said. “But of course, he has to address the Muslim world from somewhere in the Muslim world.”
That’s one view.
We gleaned another last night, talking over coffee with a group of Muslim Brothers.
There was more than a hint of disenchantment. In fact, they said they wished he would stay in America. Just not for the reasons you’d expect. For instance, not necessarily because of political discord or grievances with policy.
To secure its comfortable spot in America’s good graces, Mubarak’s regime adopted a more aggressive approach to debunking the popular opposition party since Obama announced his visit, said Mhamad Salim, 23. It’s a variation on the government’s age-old campaign to malign the Muslim Brotherhood, he said, and now, the group associates Obama’s visit with increased efforts to immobilize their efforts.
So one Egyptian’s sign of hope is another Egyptian’s cause for political persecution.
Another reminder that every story has multiple angles, and context can’t be ignored.