Sunday, November 9, 2008

An Inexplicable Energy Outage & Religion with Reham

Feeling better-rested than usual, I was prepared to start the day off on the right foot. I wandered, half-awake, down the hall to turn on BBC World, as usual, but without effect. I peered at the remote control, but couldn't see much since the closed shutters and doors blocked out the sunlight. I got up to turn on the overhead light. Nothing. Surely a fuse must've blown. I check--nope. So it was that our apartment (and ours alone in all the building) was without power all day. I can help but indulge the suspicion that Ahmed, furious about his altercation with Catherine and her comrades was seeking revenge and that it got botched in the process, our apartment being mistaken for theirs. That's just speculation, of course. Fuming, I ate my muesli with yogurt from the fridge that was warming up again, just as when the motor broke down not so very long ago. I showered, grabbed my things, and stormed off to Costa Coffee where I half-heartedly read the required readings for Refugee Law today. At 3, my friend and classmate Reham joined me. We'd begun discussing Islam and religion in general the other day and had decided to get together again to discuss more. This was put off in favor of venting, which both of us did. Eventually we reached the topic at hand and discussed the similarities in our religious over mediocre mango "Frescatos". We also discussed the propensity for Copts to have favored John McCain in the American presidential race, their identity and Egyptian identity in general. We touched on extremism and Ibn Taymiyya and the concept of Islam having a detailed plan for temporal governance while Christianity was differently focused. We spoke of saints in Christianity and a similar practice in Islam and found that we hold in common a disagreement with the ideas of praying to the dead and worshiping people instead of or in addition to God. Reham readily admitted that Mohammad was simply a man who was dead and could be of no supernatural service to mankind any longer, a huge distinction between Mohammad and Jesus that those who would seek to compare them cannot reconcile. The life of Mary (or Maryam as she is known in the Qur'an) is treated far differently by the Bible than it is the Qur'an (as are a great many things). Reham and I found it interesting that many Christians and Muslims across the spectrum agreed on a whole host of social issues, but that it is theology that divides us. Next time we meet, we hope to delve into that theology a bit more.
We were off to Refugee Law after that. The topic today was exclusions clauses of the 1951 Refugee Convention--reasons for revoking or denying a person refugee status. After our three-hour class Phil and I went to the Thai restaurant in the Semiramis Intercontinental only to find that the half-dozen or so empty tables were apparently all reserved. We then trekked (somewhat circuitously as I tried to remember how to find my way) to Kowloon for Korean food. Tomorrow night is my night to teach English in Ain Shams after which I may be having a friend cut my hair. God only knows how that will end up.

Omar bin Laden ends up in Qatar after being refugee asylum in Spain, Egypt
EU, US officials meet with Arab leaders to discuss Iran
Nile, source of conflict among Egypt, Sudan, and Kenya

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