A new beginning against extremism

300px-CairoUnivObama’s speech yesterday at Cairo University (photo at left) was beautiful. It represents a new beginning against extremism both in the US and abroad. Even Osama Bin Laden recognized that it challenges a linchpin of al-Qaida’s message.

I don’t agree with many of the current Administration’s foreign policies (escalation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan war, inadequate engagement with the Caribbean, especially with respect to Cuba, and not doing more for Haiti, failure to close Guantanamo and re-establish justice following years of officially sanctioned torture and renditions, etc.), but opening dialogue is a first step towards a rational, humane, and effective foreign policy.

The ending of the speech is classic Obama:

89px-A_Boat_in_the_Nile_RiverIt’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples — a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us: “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”72px-Barack_Obama_at_Cairo_University_cropped

The Holy Bible tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

See Obama hits a home run, by Robert Dreyfuss.

2 thoughts on “A new beginning against extremism

  1. Good point, we have advocates for a more rational foreign policy in our own history. I think also of Aristide Briand . Some might argue that he, like Addams, ultimately failed, but a better way to understand their work is that they showed a path to move forward.

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  2. With Obama’s call for peace, it may be an appropriate time to revisit the efforts for world peace that were initiated by Jane Addams throughout her life. From the late 1890s when she opposed the Spanish American war until her death in 1935, she consistantly and actively worked for world peace.

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