copy Excellent Adventures in Egypt

Enter here to share Joni's adventures living and working in Cairo courtesy of the U.S. Fulbright cultural exchange program. Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization. - Mahatma Ghandi

4/18/2005

On Saturday – 3 days after my arrival, still jet-lagged, I gave a presentation to a group of “youth” at the Gezira youth club. This was the first of two presentations (the 2nd was in Alexandria) arranged by the American embassy. I really sweated over what to present. My mission: “…a talk that centers on the American experience of the conservation movement and promoting environment awareness that explains why Americans are supportive of this issue….we envision you talking to students and inspiring them to make a difference.” Piece of basbousa, no? After a lot of hair pulling, I put together a lot of pix illustrating the growth of the conservation movement in parallel with the country’s rapid industrialization and rape of the land, focusing on how the efforts of 4 individuals – Thoreau, Muir. Leopold & Carson – madder a difference in the national psyche/heart. I wove this together around verses from the Quran, emphasizing the Islamic message that we are God’s Khalifa (trustees) on earth and have responsibility to care for the “nations of Allah” (all those other species). The audience in both presentations was dominated by university professors and environmental professionals, with a scattering of students. The Alex audience included movers and shakers from the dynamic Iskandriya political scene, including several council members and a member of Parliament. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things. 24:35 2:164 Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise. Note that English translation of last line varies: people who are wise, people who understand, people with sense or people who can see. I emphasized that these 4 individuals were extraordinary only because they were “people who could see” through that inner light that is the truth inside all of us. Posted by Hello

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