Missio’s Tuesday “global” edition has had its eyes on Jayson Casper’s blog, A Sense of Belonging, for quite some time. Residing in Cairo, Egypt with his wife and young daughters, Jayson is a writer for the Arab West Report, an electronic journal which translates summaries of the Egyptian press, adding analysis, background research, and interviews — all to promote greater understanding between cultures and religions, “as the knowledge of deeper contextual issues can prevent escalation of tension and unnecessary rejection of the other.”
Jayson provides knowledge of deeper contextual issues. His reporting has been widely published, and as Egypt’s historical political changes have dramatically evolved in recent weeks, Jayson’s eyes and ears and writing are ever more critical. Have a good long look through his blog; it’s a veritable treasure trove of analysis that stays quite current and provides unique reporting angles from Egypt.
Jayson’s weekly blog feature of “Friday Prayers for Egypt” (click the tag “Prayer” to pull up a lengthy catalogue of prayers) is instructive for how the prayers are crafted. They are replete with wrestling, hopes for proximate justice and common good, and petitions to God that he would bless the nation. His most recent prayer, for instance:
Amid continuing demonstrations by Islamists and supporters of President Morsi, the new Egyptian government is trying to get down to business. What that business should be is another matter.
They must rerun the election process. The country needs a constitution, parliament, and president, laws to set them in motion, and a campaign to convince the public it is worth their while to vote. Many are understandably skeptical.
They must solve the quandary of the economy. Newly received monies from the Gulf will buy some time, but the challenges Morsi could not solve will not go away. Maintain mountains of inefficient subsidies and the nation will go broke; eliminate them and the nation will buckle under.
They must achieve national reconciliation with a divided population. Most obvious are Islamists horrified by the turn of events, but in the background are old regime supporters demonized the past two years, and revolutionaries horrified by the reentry of the military. How can all these find common cause?
And within these three, God, they must prioritize. Perhaps it can also be said they must truly pursue each one – many doubt the rhetoric.
God, Egypt has been spinning its wheels, and a new set of men – some recycled – get at chance of getting things right. Help them, even as many argue over their legitimacy to be there in the first place.
Help them to amend the constitution to the approval of all, setting the rules of the game with fairness and equity. Encourage the people; help them to grasp the reins of government and not cede it idly through frustration.
Help them to make the hard decisions to put Egypt’s economy on solid footing. Give them wisdom for how that can be done, and wisdom on how to communicate it to the people. If sacrifices must be made, may they result in the betterment of the poor, the industrious, and the average man.
Help them to be humble with critics from all angles. What is reconciliation, God? Why should the Muslim Brotherhood engage again, except perhaps to win again and govern even more exclusively? Surely reconciliation is not this, nor is it their exclusion from the process. Help the Brotherhood, also, to be humble and recognize their mistakes and ambition. But whatever reconciliation is, it cannot be without all parties involved. For two years, God, they failed to come together; help them all to do so now.
Otherwise, God, we may soon see another government attempt all the above, again.
Whether them, this one, or any to come, God, give Egypt success.