Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt in our living rooms~

I met an old friend I hadn’t seen for years—decades, actually—in the supermarket today. We talked about life: snow, more snow coming, husbands, husbands shoveling, and, of course, our kids. And snow!

Not once did we talk about the situation in Egypt, although I went home to the constant news coverage; maybe she did too.

It’s so odd:

… to think about filling the bird feeders because another storm is coming this weekend—another!—while watching the footage of cars mowing down people in Egyptian streets.

…to compare prices of vitamins, knowing that shops have closed in Cairo. No food, let alone vitamins for sale.

…to drive down streets narrowed by snow, knowing people narrow Cairo's streets.

…to watch my son toss in free throws in his college basketball game, while other mothers' sons toss Molotov cocktails.

…to live an everyday life, while, right in my living room, I see others, miles across the world, living their not so everyday lives, wanting what we all want: happiness for their loved ones… and freedom.

But happiness isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition. It never was and never will be. What makes one group happy makes another miserable. Yet, we’ll all choose sides. It’s what we do.

Some, of course, think they have all the answers. But that’s nonsense. It’s all a house of cards that stands or falls depending on any number of possible events, and none are predictable. It’s like driving in the fog. Who knows what will appear on the road ahead?

There’s enough analysis to sink a ship. But after watching the same footage over and over in our living rooms, to think we have a grasp on the bigger picture is foolish.

And so it goes. Everyday life. Chaos. Violence. More snow… and feeding the birds.

Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire. ~Kurt Tucholsky


Wanda said...

Oh Ruth ~ what a powerful piece, and how it says what is my heart.

It's so heartbreaking, so hard to even put into words, and yet you have, put into words what has been spinning around in my mind, as I go about my routine, and watch something on TV for hours and can make no sense of it.

Thank you Ruth for being able to articulate so well, what I think most of us are feeling.

Jo said...

My mother once said we are the centre of our own universes. And to that I would add, we have our own realities.

The situation in Egypt reminds me a bit of the Iranian uprising. Sometimes people have to be careful what they wish for. I think here in North America we have worked very hard for our freedoms and our way of life. And we have paid a price too.

My friend Beth, who taught school in Cairo, said the Egyptian women were among the most suppressed she had ever seen. I guess when we watch the situation, we should count our blessings.

(Gorgeous photo of the fence, by the way...!)

Charles Gramlich said...

A really good post. We almost all become so attuned to our own minutia that we seldom give a thought to the larger world. This brought home the ways in which those worlds dovetail with our own.

RiverPoet said...

Very profound observations here, my friend. Thank you for putting it all in perspective.

Personally, I'm so glad my son decided against going in the Marines a few years back. I was so afraid of losing him. In the wake of losing his sister, I know I could not have borne losing him to senseless violence, which is how I see our actions in the Middle East. Though his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncles, and great-uncles were all Marines, I do not want my son to die for the cause of anything except to have lived a good, satisfying, long life.

My heart breaks for the mothers all over the world whose sons and daughters die in the name of some bigger cause. It is never easy to lose a child, no matter what.

My heart is with the mothers of Egypt today.

Peace - D

Janice Thomson said...

I am glad the Egyptian people will finally have, hopefully, a better government... but not at the cost of people's lives...yet history shows in the end this is how change often comes about. We take for granted I think the meaning of the 'freedom' we are so lucky to enjoy.
Thank goodness we do have the birds to feed or life might become unbearable.

Pauline said...

"It’s all a house of cards that stands or falls depending on any number of possible events, and none are predictable."

A perfect description of life itself - there are always mitigating circumstances.

There seems to be no middle ground to revolution - we go on with our daily lives or we join in the fray. Sometimes the fray swallows our daily lives as in Egypt right now.

Your comparisons made me stop and think. I will fill the birdfeeders, clear my path of the next snow, and talk with all my children this weekend, knowing we are lucky to be able to see and converse with one another with relative ease.

Bob Sanchez said...

Wonderful photographs as always, Ruth.

As for Egypt, you show interesting contrasts between our lives and those in Egypt. We need to be careful not to wish for everyone to have what we have, as though we represent the acme of life. While we are truly fortunate, Egyptians should be able to find peace, security, and happiness following their own path.

Ruth D~ said...

I agree, Bob. I wasn't drawing comparisons in any way meant to imply our way of life is better than anyone else's. That's not how I feel. Hope that wasn't what I implied.

Linda Myers said...

I continue to envy those of you who've had lots of snow. We've had our usual lots of rain.

I don't watch TV; I get most of my news off the Internet. I am keeping an eye on the situation in Egypt and thinking about the cycles of history. But I try to pay attention to those things in my circle of influence, as they're the only things I have even an illusion of control over.

Al said...

Beautiful images. And your words are so accurate. All we can do is hope that some kind of resolution results in a better Egypt.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Ruth, I agree with you and with almost everything that is said in the comments. The thing that hits home though is, "But after watching the same footage over and over in our living rooms, to think we have a grasp on the bigger picture is foolish." I think that we think we're doing something about things by simply watching. I've given up TV news. Read a paper. Google situations that I want to know about and otherwise try to think globally and act locally and not go crazy with sadness and impotence. When it comes time to vote, I study and discuss, but even that feels fairly empty. Oh well, we've got birds here to feed too, and it's fun to watch five or six Mynah birds tearing into a heel of stale bread - it's a contact sport.

Gorgeous photos - very impressed by the spray of leafless branches of a bush in the foreground - like black slashes in the snow.

Glad I know you.

kapil soni said...

nice pichaz mam..:)..