Guest Blog – Turmoil in Egypt: Is violence the only way to bring about reforms?

My US colleague Ken Girard, the Christian Science Committee on Publication for the State of Massachusetts, has published a blog in response to current developments in Egypt: Turmoil in Egypt: Is violence the only way to bring about reforms?

As I watched CNN’s coverage of the street protests and violence going on in various cities in Egypt this morning, I thought of the anger and frustration which spawned these actions.  I saw the anguished faces of the wounded.  The panic and fear that appeared to be rampant in the crowds.  And the violence that was taking place on both sides – police and protesters.

And as I stopped to write this blog, reports were coming in that President Mubarak had ordered the Egyptian army into the cities to restore order.  Tanks were entering Cairo.

Egypt is one of the oldest continuing civilizations on the planet – from 3150BC.

This is the country of the pharaohs, the pyramids, the Sphinx.  The country where Joseph of the Old Testament was sold into slavery.  The country where that same Joseph’s reliance on God caused him to become the 2ndmost powerful person in the government of that ancient time – second only to Pharaoh – and which saved that country from 7 years of famine.

This is a country rich in history, rich in culture, rich in traditions, and rich in its people.

I have to ask these questions: Is violence the only path to the needed reforms for this country?  Is there another way?

Of course there is!  All any of us have to do is think of how the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries fell so quickly and relatively bloodlessly in the late 1980’s.  Aren’t the images of the fall of the Berlin Wall etched into the memories of everyone that witnessed it in 1989?

Many people attribute that revolution and other peaceful revolutions in part to the prayers of people from around the world.  That’s right – prayers!

In an article titled “Peace prayers helped bring down the Wall, says Leipzig pastor,” Christian Fuehrer, the pastor of Nikolai Church in Leipzig at that momentous time, described what took place.  An excerpt follows.

Around 6,000 to 8,000 people were crammed in to the churches in central Leipzig, and a total of 70,000 people had gathered in the city. Everyone was holding a candle, a symbol of non-violence – you need to hold a candle with both hands to keep it from going out, which makes it impossible to throw stones.

Later, a member of the SED Central Committee said: “We had everything planned. We were ready for anything – except candles and prayers.” The police had not been briefed for this possibility. Had we thrown stones, they would have known what to do: They would have attacked. But the tanks had no choice but to withdraw without a single shot being fired, and that’s when we knew that the GDR would never be the same again.

We had a sense that something extraordinary had happened, but we only really understood the enormity of it later.”

Can’t the same be true for the people of Egypt, for people in all of the Middle Eastern countries where unrest is fomenting – for people everywhere?  Of course it can!

I’ve learned in Christian Science that God really does provide the guidance, the understanding – the right actions – that reform individuals as well as countries.  That brings a sense of harmony right where discord appeared to be predominant and inevitable.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in praying that these dear people in Egypt and elsewhere – our brothers and sisters – find and experience the right resolutions that bring peace, harmony, and prosperity to their as well as future generations’ lives.

And I am sure that all of our collective prayers are having effect.

Thanks, Ken!  Ken’s blog is Christian Science in Massachusetts.

For excellent coverage of developments in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, check The Christian Science Monitor.

An Opinion piece in the Monitor by the now-exiled first post-revolution Iranian president – called Will democratic movements in Tunisia and Egypt heed lessons of Iran’s revolution? – pinpoints lessons that should be learned from what he feels went wrong in Iran.

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Categories: Prayer for Healing

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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One Comment on “Guest Blog – Turmoil in Egypt: Is violence the only way to bring about reforms?”

  1. Kylie
    February 1, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Thanks Ken. I had been thinking about the fall of the Berlin wall and loved what you had to say about it. I was grateful to hear a reporter yesterday commenting that he had started to see the protestors in Egypt standing in prayer, rather than taking more extreme action. I continue to pray for peace to all nations and I know that these prayers, reaching out from millions around the world, are having their effect.

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