Thursday, February 03, 2011

Jim Wallis on Egypt

I admit that I don't always read the emails I get from Jim Wallis at Sojourners, but today I read this one:
Dear Wesley,

I have to admit, I’m angry. In the past few days, we have all watched the nonviolent protest in Egypt with prayer and anticipation. We have seen the hope of a young generation trying to bring democratic change to their country. We have watched with excitement to see what their efforts could mean to all those suffering from oppressive governments in the Middle East.

But now, protesters are dead. Soon, many more could die.

The streets have turned violent, with armed thugs attacking peaceful protesters. The thugs -- who credible news stories report were sent and funded by the Egyptian government -- are trying to send a message to the democratic and nonviolent protesters: You have no power, you will never win, no one cares.

We know these lies of injustice will not win in the end, but right now the situation is urgent: Something has to change. As people of faith, we must speak up on behalf of peace and democracy. The truth is that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a thug himself, one whom the U.S. government has supported for far too long. It’s time for him to resign.

Tell President Obama: Now is the time for you to call for the immediate resignation of President Mubarak, and to support all efforts to keep the protesters safe.

The faith community in the United States needs to support our brothers and sisters standing up for their rights and their freedoms in Egypt.

And we must pray.

Pray for peace and protection in the streets. Pray for leaders who will stand up for democracy and call for nonviolence.

In solidarity,

signature of Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners

Jim Wallis
Sojourners

Jim and Sojourners are up to some very good things. To be honest, I don't always agree with the way they handle some situations (they definitely spend too much time bickering about/with Glenn Beck) and this is one of those times that I'm not sure I agree with their approach. Is it really the U.S. President's place to call for the resignation of another national leader, even if said leader really is just a "thug"? Historically, don't presidents usually have to back up their appeals with military action/support? I'm not sure we want to trek down that road. If non-violent resistance is what we're after, why even think to involve the Commander and Chief of the most powerful global military super-force in the world? It definitely raises red flags.

However, with that being said, I went ahead and followed their link and sent my letter to President Obama. I'm not sure that I can recommend that you do the same, but something has to be done. Perhaps the President can find a peaceful way to intervene...

We should pray together for our Egyptian brothers and sisters regardless of what political action we decide to take and pray that patient non-violent action prevails.

3 comments:

Sarah Rose said...

Thanks for posting this, Wes. It's hard to see the "right" action in response to what's going on, but surely praying is the first and foremost! I appreciate your blog so much! :)

WES ELLIS said...

Thanks for the comment, Sarah!

Rudy said...

I agree that President Mubarak should probably resign sooner rather than in the Fall as he claims he will. However, what does praying that God moves mightily in the hearts of Egyptians have to do with asking our President to flex his political muscles? I just see a large disconnect in asking global super-powers to bully when the people are rising to the occasion themselves.

What precedent does it set to have the President of the United States ordering other Presidents to do such and such? What should our President DO if another President doesn't listen? Should we withhold aid, food, or economic necessities? Should we invade?

I think our President should speak out against injustice and fight it if and when the people are helpless. He should even give incentives to countries who champion human rights. But Presidents ordering other Presidents to resign sounds more like medieval Throne-thrashing than poise and responsibility. We are a nation based on the voice and determination of the people. Should we assume that other peoples are incapable of realizing these ideals on their own? I believe the people of Egypt are about to revolutionize their country. They are about to create a true democracy where the voice of the people matters.

What should be done (and I believe is being done) is supporting financially/organizationally the revolutionaries themselves. Our President should aid in spreading the ideals of democracy, not the baseball bat of democracy.

That being said, we received financial AND military support from France during our revolution. If the Egyptian government turns on the people and their way of life is in danger, then we (and hopefully the world community) may be all that stands between justice and the death of countless Egyptian citizens. Up until now, the anti-Mubarak demonstrators are not retaliating with violence. May we support this by our own actions until a time when it is impossible to avoid.