Egypt in the News

We’ve begun discussing the founding of Islam.  Understanding its history is crucial to being an involved, educated citizen in today’s world.

If you’ve been following the news, you know that there are big things happening in Northern Africa — most notably in Egypt, but also in Tunisia.  The unrest may be spreading to the Middle East.  (Uh oh.)

What’s going on on Egypt?  CNN for students has a video that summarizes major developments, and explains what it may mean for you.

Two names to keep an eye on as we follow the unrest in Egypt:  Hosni Mubarek and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Both are going to play key roles in what happens next.

Understanding Islam

There’s a video that was produced by PBS called  Islam: Empire of Faith.  If you’d like to know more about what we are discussing in class, grab some popcorn (or your other favorite snack) and something to wash it down, and watch the video.  If it sparks any interesting thoughts or raises questions, start a conversation in the comments!

History is boring and irrelevant. Right?

Wrong.

One of Europe’s most powerful monarchs changed the course of history because the woman he loved wouldn’t have sex with him.

One of the last kings of France died from child abuse and neglect.

One of the greatest scientific minds in history was put on trial because he dared to suggest that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe.

A man who went down in history as one of the greatest explorers ever actually was a complete failure.

The world’s most fearsome warriors (recently featured in a blockbuster summer movie) spent their formative years training to become killing machines … and becoming so attached to other men that when they married, they kidnapped their brides (who shaved their heads and wore boys’ clothing to make themselves more attractive to their mates).

History is definitely not boring.

If you follow headlines, you’ve recently heard a lot about:

  • the Arizona law about illegal immigration
  • a judge’s decision about gay marriage in California
  • building a mosque at Ground Zero
  • ending combat operations in Iraq
  • Middle East peace talks (yet again)

To understand these issues, it helps if you know about

  • the fall of Ancient Rome (what happened when Rome didn’t protect its borders?)
  • marriage from the earliest societies until today (is there a common thread through all civilizations regarding the institution of marriage, and does that matter?)
  • the history of Islam (what kind of a leader was Muhammad, and exactly what does the Qu’ran say about relations with other religions?)
  • the history of Israel, the Jewish Diaspora, and the creation of modern Israel in 1945 (who can rightfully lay claim to that land on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea?)

History boring and irrelevant?  I say no, but I will defer to an expert:  “Professor” Andy Taylor: