Amidst the massive amount of voices tweeting and retweeting happenings on the ground in Egypt, Nevine Zaki’s photo above serendipitously found its way into my Twitter stream with the caption:

“A pic I took yesterday of Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers #jan25.”

During the wee hours of this morning, I find myself deeply moved by her new-found love for Egypt as a woman living and working in Cairo:

“The most beautiful thing about #Jan25 is that we all suddenly discovered an incredible love for #Egypt that we never knew was still in us

Living here presented always presented a struggle for us in 1 way or another, but since #jan25, we all suddenly felt alive again.”

With the image below, she writes, “Can it get more peaceful than this?”

Prayers in Tahrir Square

But, surprisingly to me, it’s the idea behind the following photo that strikes me as most decent, most civil, most caring, most mundane: residents of Cairo showing their goodness by cleaning up what must be an incredible amount of refuse during the chaos: “These trash bags are all over the city, its [sic] from the citizens who cleaned the streets.”

Taking Care of Cairo

All photos by Nevine Zaki.


Share Your Reflection

43Reflections

Reflections

human dignity, and respect, compassion...the essence of who we truly are.

One touching tweet I saw yesterday came from a protester who said that a guy was walking around inviting everyone to his wedding once Mubarak leaves Egypt.

Oh my, what a lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing this.

Beautiful. I hope with all my heart that they win through.

Yet another wonderful example of why I love this program and this blog. Thank you for sharing. These are the stories that need to be focused on.

Aho!

Oh this is inspiring! I just know we can pull through and find another way of life on this planet! Keep things like this coming.

Beautifully uplifting story. Imagine if the media would stop focusing on the violence and begin to focus on the humanity. It would change the world.

It's an obstacle course we often get mangled in.

Thank you. We need to open our eyes and not just let the midia dictate what we should believe and not believe.

When I think of my childhood growing up in the church, I find a hymn coming to mind which had the refrain - "they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love"... All too often that line seems like an indictment of my own failure to love rather than something I could sing with celebration...

Like so many others I've been moved, inspired and humbled by Nevine's photographs, just as i was no less inspired to hear that Egyptian Muslims held vigils and protected Coptic Christians going to church to celebrate Christmas eve on January 6th (in the wake of the bombing of the al-Qiddissin church in Alexandria on New Year's day).

I was inspired too when, last summer, churches here in Nashville, TN gathered to show their solidarity with the local Muslim community after Islamic community centers and mosques in Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN were vandalized and the subject of aggressive Islamophobic protests. I am painfully mindful that much of the anti-Islamic protest in this state has been led by people claiming to speak for Christianity. (They will know we are Christians by our love...?)

Working for love, justice & solidarity are by no means the exclusive claim of Christians, but I hope that in many churches this coming Sunday Christians, across the US and around the world, will hold up these stories & images coming from Egypt as a sign of hope & a call to prayer for the courageous multi-faith democratic movement there. But I also see that first image as a deeply serious reminder of what I firmly believe those of us who do identify as Christians are called to live out in our faith: non-violent peacemaking, deep love of our fellow human, active commitment to solidarity and working for justice when others are suffering. For myself, that is what I feel called to by these images.

As I contemplate Navine's photograph of those young men protecting those in prayer I am personally reminded that as a part of Christian community I am not instructed in the way of Jesus to only pray for peace & justice... I am called to be an active, living embodiment of those hopes. Just as peace is not the mere absence of violence but the presence of justice, it is not enough for me (if I claim to be Christian) to passively 'not hate' but instead I am meant to commit to a life of actively loving others -- in each moment of every day I have to make a choice to step out with courage and embody my hope for the future right here in the present.

2010 was marred by intense public debate and maligning of Muslim Americans centering around the community center in Manhattan. I hope 2011 will be taken by Christians across the US as an opportunity to commit as individuals and communities to put our faith in action -- with humility to serve, defend & protect our neighbors of every creed, in the US and beyond, so they may be able to freely live in peace.

I can't look at these iconic images and not think that while the defiantly raised fist is an embodied symbol of revolution, so too is the hand opened to clasp the hand of another. And I hope I find within me an ounce of the courage being shown by so many in Egypt.

"While the defiantly raised fist is an embodied symbol of revolution, so too is the hand opened to clasp the hand of another."

Those are immensely powerful and wise words. Thank you.

Absolutely beautiful Response. "We will work with each other, we will work side by side......and we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride." Amen

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing such loving words! You are wonferful!

Wow!

Hope reigns!

We should behave in such a civilized manner.

now thats what I'm talking about...

So moved by these pictures. This is what the people do...

I am in complete awe of the people of Egypt. They are not only brave, they are kind,and unbelievably humane and civilized. I also, I must say, am totally behind my President in the way he is handling this crisis.

These are the most awesome pictures, why can't all of the world behave this way? We can only wish and pray. Very inspiring!

The world can, and must behave this way if we are to survive...ultimately, all government is by, for and of the people. Dissent is simply another type of evolution, and is precious to all.

Thanks for sharing and inspiring. I like to think we would do the same.

Shukran min qalbi

Amazing photos. Hoping for a peaceful and fair resolution for the people of Egypt.

Truly awe inspiring : )

The potential of humanity...why not everywhere now: peace, freedom, brotherhood.

Seems the most positive info I've seen in the Middle East conflict. I love Egypt and I am a Christian American.

When the truth is exposed Americans will make the right decisions.

Kill the enfilades. First kill all Jews. Anyone that doesn’t agree with them, Means we can’t be Christians or we will be killed! They are trying to take over the world and convert us. If we convert we live if we don’t we are tortured and killed. No human rights for women no jobs, no school, and no rights. They are taking over their region as I text. They’re here too. We are headed to a war. It will be a war unlike the world has never seen. And we will win. The body count will be in the millions, and millions. For we are the enfilades. They hate us!!! When your sons and daughters don’t come home you may think differently about a people that say they want us dead. Open your eyes and read about it. All of it, not just some Christians holding hands protecting people who want us dead.

how come there is no negative stuff. its like you sensor the bad out. shame on you.

Tom, your allegation simply is not true. I have not posted one comment because it was inflammatory and false, accusing all non-Christians of trying to kill all Christians. And the commented chose to be anonymous after making the statements with harsh language. We encourage strong, critical, dissenting opinions as long as they are not offensive.

But, more delighting is the sheer volumes of commanders to this blog post that find hope and possibility in these photos. From the nature of your comment, I wonder if you have another perspective. I would be glad to hear it and welcome your analysis. Cheers!

What could possibly be negative about Love?

You crack me up, asking for negative stuff. That's easy to find if you are looking for it.

It's wonderful to see civility among chaos. I pray that it continues

The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of hell are both real in Egypt. Thank you for lifting up the beauty even in the most horrific or hopeful, depending upon how you look at it, circumstances.

May that blessing include working out a really true democracy with a true constitution that ensures life, liberty (including freedom to worship as one chooses) and the right to seek happiness as one sees fit. Not to mention the respect for the rule of rightful laws.

The posts credited to Leonard W. are mine, Frank Luke. I'm trying to correct the computer glitch.

Terry Gross on her Fresh Air program spoke with Lawrence Wright about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It was so informative as Mr. Wright has lived in Egypt and written about Al Qaeda in "The Looming Tower" which won a Pulitzer Prize.

On the same program he also discussed his NY mag article "The Apostate" about Paul Haggis who's left (!!) the Church of Scientology. (online: Fresh Air radio)

That post by Frank Luke above and here is erroneously credited to Leonard. I'm trying to iron out the glitch.

Yes. What impressed me most was not only what the Egyptians accomplished, but how they accomplished it - with cooperation, self-respect, and generally non-violence. The calls of "peace, peace" keep echoing over the square, evidently, even when the thugs were attacking with fire, horses, camels and sticks. And their reaction was to organize, to set up checkpoints to keep arms out of the square. I was so afraid that violence would erupt on Thursday after their huge disappointment at Mubarak's announcement - but even then, they stayed together, determined, calm. It was remarkable. And then this massive show of responsibility in cleaning up the city! That never happened in any demonstration I was ever involved in. This certainly has to change some people's rigid ideas about the Arab world. We have a lot to learn from these people. I remember after 9/11 how kind Americans briefly were to each other. I hope that feeling of solidarity lasts much longer for the people of Egypt. They will need it as this complicated period of transition takes place.

To the youth in Egypt--thank you for renewing my hope. We are so happy for you and keep you in our prayers.

We live in hope.

how beautiful, moved me to tears... the protection cross-'boundaries', the clean-ups well contained... just right for your trip, ta!!! mucho love, c xxxx

apples