Things you ought to know about Egypt…

DSC02480I’m going to keep this as short and to-the-point as I can, so that all of my politically liberal friends can actually learn something before they automatically disregard this post.

The man on the left in the above picture is Abdul and his friend to the right is Mohamed.  They are both members of the Egyptian military and to be frank, they are absolute bad-asses.  Friendly, tourist-loving, and well-dressed, but bad-asses nonetheless.  These men are members of a military unit that protects tourists in the Sinai region of Egypt.  The reason that Abdul’s jacket is cut rather large and has a bulge on his left side is because both men are carrying H&K MP5 submachine guns.

I took this picture with my camera while I was standing outside of St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai.  You see, the fact is that I’ve actually been to Egypt.  These guys had ridden on buses with us from the border with Israel and protected us until we got to Cairo, if memory serves correctly.  The reason that I feel compelled to write is that Abdul and Mohamed are awesome guys and if you are an American that thinks the Egyptian military needs to ease up and that President Obama knows what he’s doing regarding Egypt…you are an idiot.  I was going to say that you are ill-informed, but idiot is really more accurate at this point.

Here’s the short version:  President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton completely botch their handling of the Arab Spring event in Egypt.  The Muslim Brotherhood comes to power, thus endangering the millions of liberal Muslims and 10% of Egypt’s population that is Christan, not to mention women of every religious affiliation.  Next, the Muslim Brotherhood starts drafting a constitution that is going to send Egypt back to the time of Salah al-Din (look in up…maybe you’ll really learn something).  As that is happening, there are lots of anti-Christian, anti-women, anti-freedom events occurring all over Egypt that our media just refuses to cover because no one at the White House or at the State Department wants the American people to know how badly we’ve screwed up in Egypt (which is the largest Muslim populace of any country on the planet, by the way).  Finally, the Egyptian military gets tired of watching their country descend in the Sharia-driven chaos.  When the Egyptian military moves to peacefully break up the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations, the demonstrators suddenly have lots of weapons and fire on police…almost like they were Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists or something.  As for the current situation, you should read these two articles: One, about the violence being perpetrated by the “protestors” and the other, about the liberal Muslim view of the situation.

Now that we’re all up to speed, I would like to give you the main point.  Our current Presidential Administration and State Department are completely out of their depth in regards to Egypt.  They are wrong and getting worse by the day.  The world stands at the brink of a cliff with this Egyptian situation and all of our allies, from Israel to Saudi Arabia know it.  God help us if we continue to support our President and his policies regarding Egypt.

I hate to admit it, but…

Ashton Kutcher is hardly the first place that I would look for any sort of wisdom.  That being said; I was simply amazed at how “on-point” he was with this speech.  He killed it.  Especially, with his thoughts about opportunity.  It is so nice to see work ethic promoted in such a way.

Ernest Greene

Scan-111006-0024Not many people know this, but my dad has no middle name.

No middle name…no middle initial…nothing.

Just Ernest Greene.

It has never caused any inconvenience because, in Asheville, lots and lots of people know my dad.

He was nice enough to give me his name.  He and Mom just stuck “Stuart” on the front of his name and I suddenly had the customary three names that most of us have.  That single act has gotten me out of more jams and opened more doors than I can count.

“Ernest is your dad?”

That was the golden question that I knew was instantly about to make the remainder of whatever conversation that I was having much, much easier.  In fact, the only job interview that I’ve had since leaving the ministry and switching careers started with that question, lasted exactly forty-five seconds, and ended with me being welcomed into my new position.  Seriously.

People love my dad.  He was a great businessman and always did his dead-level best to treat everyone the way he wanted to be treated.  We would be eating dinner at a restaurant and he would see someone he knew and ask the waitress for their check.  He never stuck around to let them know he paid; we just got up and left.  He would go out late at night and on weekends to open up his store to get auto parts for service stations that had patrons who were stranded on the road.  He even paid several of his employees full salaries while they were out with injuries or sickness…sometimes for months on end.  He’s always been a devout Christian but I never once saw him make it an issue with anyone.  He just loves people the way he would like to be loved in the name of Christ and practices charity without publicizing it.  A lot of people could learn something from that.

There’s no “but” to the story of my dad, either.  He never beat me or even whipped me when I didn’t have it coming.  He wasn’t some closet drunk or anything like that.  We always had food on the table and good clothes and nice things.  He bought me my first vehicle and I can honestly say that most, if not all, of the good things that I have in this life are largely due to him.

Ernest Greene may not have been the most successful or most profitable businessman ever, but he has left a huge number of people in his wake that love and respect him for the way that he treated them.  I can only hope to be half the man that he’s been and I respect my dad so much that I did the same favor for my son that he did for me…I just slapped the name “Bruce” on the front of his name.  I thought it fitting.

Now, the doctor has given my dad somewhere in the three to twelve month range to live.  His kidneys are failing and dialysis won’t really prolong his life because of some heart issues, so he’s chosen to live what life he has left and spend it with his family.

I really don’t blame Dad for his choice.  Most of his old friends have been dead for years, the business is gone, and he can’t hear or see well enough to communicate like he used to.  Dad is eighty-one years old and this world bears scant resemblance to the world in which he spent most of his life.  He believes in a hard days work, keeping his word, and telling it like it is.  I imagine that Dad would be mortified and angry if he could still communicate well enough to understand everything that is going on in our country.

I love my dad and I’m going to miss him.  I’m forty-two years old.  I’m big enough and prepared enough that I’m not scared of much, but I know this: I’m going to feel a little less safe and a lot more alone in this world when that man is gone.