Obama’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:
It’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 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.