Related: Civil & Human Rights, Economy, In the Media, Living, Politics, Social Issues

Super Isolation


Egypt is on fire.

In Cairo, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets for nearly two weeks demanding an ouster of President Hosni Mubarek.  Protesters in Tunisia have demanded democracy.  Autocratic rulers elsewhere are taking steps to prevent revolutions.  (photo credit)

Meanwhile, here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., whose citizens are the beneficiaries of the greatest Revolution in history, thousands of people are walking around right now with giant foam blocks on their heads in some approximate imitation of cheese.  Millions of chickens have died donating their wings to Super Bowl palates.  At least while Americans indulge two of their favorite past-times — devouring junk food while watching big men smash each other repeatedly — we mostly won’t be engaging in our other sport, which is shooting each other.  Well, for the most part.  (photo credit)

Egypt is on fire.

In Cairo, a group of Muslims pledged to form a ring around Christians at Mass in Tahrir Square.

In Pittsburgh, Steelers fans rally around their quarterback whose three Super Bowl appearances apparently more than offset any public concern about his personal misconduct.

Egypt is on fire.

After ten days of massive protests in Cairo and elsewhere, the government of Egypt said it would allow freedom of the press.

In Washington, the local football team’s owner Dan Snyder, hugely miserable because his team is so bad that even cheeseheads in full foam would make a better front line, sued the Washington City Paper for printing an article that said unkind things about him.  Among other things, the owner of a team called the Redskins claims ethnic insensitivity.  He’s onto something there.

Egypt is on fire.

We’ll have our little fun rooting for the Packers or Steelers today, making Pizza Hut’s owners happy and once again testing the theory that if you wash down Doritos with Bud, the calories cancel each other out.

But when the game is over and the cheeseheads go home, Egypt will still be on fire.  The Middle East remains the world’s true tinderbox, and the fate of this nation is inextricably tied to the fate of that region.  But Americans largely remain isolated from knowledge and true interest in the affairs of nations and citizens elsewhere.

Amid the national hand-wringing about educational reform, there’s little discussion of improving American literacy on topics like geography, international relations, cultural studies, political affairs, religious and social history of nations.  Our increasingly narrow band of educational concerns — math and science are surely important, but not the full measure of education — means that generations of American citizens are growing up with less and less knowledge of the world’s issues and inhabitants.  Coupled with an overall decline in serious reading — the death of newspapers is just one symptom — the ability of the citizens of this nation to respond to world crises intelligently, compassionately and with a sense of responsibility for the welfare of our global society is diminished considerably.

Egypt is on fire.  Why?  Who?  Where?  What are the historical, sociological, cultural, religious and economic forces driving this revolution?  What other nations are affected?  How will this uprising affect American interests?  Discuss.  Write a paper.  Debate.  Read.  Form an opinion.  Research.

Take off that cheesehead and learn something new and important.

See Frank Rich, Wallflowers at the Revolution

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
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