I've been doing some reading to prepare for my first visit down the Nile to the Valley of the Kings and Queens - we leave in a week! Last night I was reading about the succession of Egyptian empires - specifically a description of the period after 1100 BCE, when "Egypt's role as a great political power approached its end. Racked by internal dissension, the nation broke apart at its traditional geographic seam, and weak successors of the mighty pharaohs took over a land that henceforth would be frequently divided." It reminded me of the US - and our inability to form and act on a coherent foreign policy based on democratic principles of justice and equality. We, too, are breaking apart at our seams.
In a week, I will be heading back to Palestine and Israel, with a group of pilgrims - to visit the holy sites, the ancient stones, and learn about the realities of life for the "living stones" of the land--the people living in the land today.
Much has changed since my last trip a year ago--the "Arab Spring" promises new life and possibilities for many in the region, but for the Lutheran Palestinians we will be visiting in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, life goes on much the same. President Mahmoud Abbas has submitted Palestine's application for statehood to the UN, and they are doing what they have been doing for 63 years--waiting.
"Five Lessons Learned from Palestinian UN Bid"
There have been many analyses of the Palestinian bid for statehood, but one of the most complete was this one from al-Jezeera:
The first lesson, "Washington is Broken" is especially heart-rending because it is so true and it does not affect simply our role in peacemaking in the Middle East. It is at the heart of our struggle to survive as a nation and our ability to be a leader pointing the way toward freedom, equality and justice for all. I commend it to your reading: AlJezeera: Five Lessons