Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama’s Address in Cairo

This is truly a new page upon which history is being written.

President Obama (six months later, I still feel like it's not real) stepped into Saudi Arabia, and is not being afraid to recognize its Islamic importance as a country. His speech in Cairo is definitely an important event.

I was listening to his speech at work, and this jarred me. I found a complementary quote, which is just as profound

It's a story with a simple truth: violence is a dead end...That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered
- President Obama

Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.
- Mahatma Gandhi

I also found the closing of his speech beautiful and balanced. As a religious minority in the US, I'm always conscious of Judeo-Christian references. So, this was remarkable.

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."

The Holy Bible tells us: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Applause.)

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.

Side note to scriptwriters: Couldn't we have thrown in something about love and peace from the Hindu scriptures? I know, I know, we were recognized during the Inaugural speech.

I was listening to Geoffrey Nunberg on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday. They were discussing the importance of words as defining eras. 1960's were war, peace, love.. 1970s were spiritual and disco. The first decade of this century will be defined by politics, and how words are transformed, distorted and used until the original meaning has been shaken out. He pointed out that Obama used words like "hope" and "change" which don't have a distinct definition - thus their endurance and power.

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