I love going to the gym in the mornings. It gives me a chance to watch the news. It also gives me a chance to compare the differences between the major networks and how they cover the events of the day. Last Friday as I was working out on the treadmill, I caught a glimpse of CNN's analysis of what's happening in Egypt. The CNN storyline emphasized the precarious situation that President Obama faces, and the difficulty of navigating through the thorny issue of demonstrating loyalty to a key ally on the one hand, and protecting the image of the U.S. as a promoter of democracy and human rights on the other hand.
Fox News -- predictably -- portrayed the protests as a Muslim Brotherhood-led coup, as if there's no possible alternative between a U.S.-backed secular human rights abuser and Shariah. The pundits can say what they want, but the reality is it's not their opinions that matter, it's the opinion of the Arab street that matters. Which is why I recommend my good friend Carl Medearis's book Tea with Hezbollah.
A few years back, Carl Medearis and Ted Dekker took a journey to the Middle East for the sole purpose of interviewing people whom the average American views as "the enemy," people like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Bin Laden family, and leaders in Hamas and Hezbollah. Along the way, they also captured the opinions of ordinary Arab Muslims. While they were in Egypt, a man named Mohammed took them on a tour of the Nile. The following is a brief excerpt of an interview between Ted Dekker and Mohammed the boat captain.
Ted: What are the most important issues facing you and the world today?
Mohammed: Number one, to find work. Number two, to be able to eat. Number three, to build a house. Number four, to get married. Number five, to live in peace. I was in the '73 war, but war ruins everything. I just want to find a wife and live in peace.
Ted: What do most of your friends think about America?
Mohammed: America is controlling the world. They treat no one fairly, and if I told you anything else, I would be lying.
I saw on the news this morning that the tear gas canisters fired on the Egyptian protesters say "Made in the U.S.A." I wonder what Mohammed and his friends are thinking now?
Aaron D. Taylor is the author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. To learn more about Aaron's ministry, go to www.aarondtaylor.com. To follow Aaron on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/aarondtaylor. Aaron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like the contact information of the aid worker that wrote this report, please contact Aaron Taylor at email@example.com