I am usually not a follower of current events for a few reasons.  First, most news is bad news.  It’s depressing and enraging.  It frustrates me to watch the world beat people down yet again and be powerless to stop it.  Second, the stories don’t often change.  I can read a book written in 2003 and it tells last year’s story of a crisis in Burma.  I can read a book written in 1950 and it tells the story of the agony of African nations like Sudan.  Currently I’m reading The Map of Love, which is primarily about Egypt and was written in 1999.  it also was a Booker Prize finalist.  It’s totally applicable to the issues of the day – the hubris and double standards of the West, the Jewish stance on Palestine and Arab anger at it, our own interests in Iraq reflected somewhat in Egypt’s relationship with Britain.

It makes me wonder if we can ever make any progress forward at all.  I feel accountable.  Why can’t we commit to taking our troops out of Iraq.  Even if it’s slow, even if we need to be reasonable about this untenable situation we’ve gotten our country into, why can’t we at least offer an olive branch of not dominating the rest of the world?  I am proud to be an American, but at times I am also embarrassed to be one.  The fighting is getting heavier in Iraq, and now we’re withdrawing troops.  Why?  Because people are so angry here that they’re willing to overthrow their political leaders?  Because ‘progress has been made’, and by that nebulous definition of progress we can bow out without losing too much face?  Come on, smarmy politicians – you’ve already lost.

It’s just upsetting.  I would like to live in a world where we did not have to be surprised by the accepting Muslim fundamentalist or the broad-minded Christian or the honest politican.  IS that really so difficult to achieve?


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