Good Reads: A lesson for democracy, lost and found on Google Earth, and the next Arab uprising
This week's good reads include words of wisdom from Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, using the Internet and applied mathematics to find the long road home, and a profile of Egyptian courage.
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Brierley used strategies from an applied-mathematics course to narrow his search, and after months of scouring aerial photos, researching leads, and networking on Facebook, he pinpointed his hometown.Skip to next paragraph
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Armed with the encouragement of his adoptive parents, Brierley flew to India. “With every step, it felt like two films overlaying, his wispy memories from his childhood and the vital reality now.”
Spoiler alert: Brierley found his biological mother. A tearful reunion was followed by 11 days of family reintroductions.
A profile in Egyptian courage
Yasmine Fathi, writing for Al Ahram, the English-language Egyptian paper, pays tribute to Mina Danial, a revered 19-year-old Christian activist a year after his death. Mr. Danial was one of 27 Coptic protesters killed by Egyptian security forces in the Maspero massacre on Oct. 9, 2011. The piece captures not just the brave ethic of a young revolutionary but the struggles of post-Mubarak Egypt, strained by sectarian tensions.
The recollection is framed largely through the lens of Danial’s unlikely friendship with Salafist Tarek El-Tayeb, forged in “Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square” during the uprising. Though the two “became like brothers,” Mr. Tayeb “still struggled to overcome his discomfort at having a Christian friend.” Eventually he says the “emotions I felt towards him destroyed all of these shackles.”
“Despite being heartbroken over the deteriorating situation for Christians in Egypt, friends say, [Danial] did not have sectarian tendencies. He always believed that the Christian problem was part of the bigger Egyptian problem.”
Saudi Arabia, the next revolution?
Bruce Riedel, in a book review in Al-Monitor, a website of news and commentary from the Middle East, notes that the “greatest international challenge the next US president could face is a revolution in Saudi Arabia.”
In his review of “On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future,” by Karen Elliot House, he details a “country seething with internal tensions and anger” – a stratified society, with high poverty rates, a glut of foreign workers, “regional racism,” gender discrimination, a largely unemployed youth bulge, Al Qaeda undercurrents, and an aging royal family facing an “unprecedented succession challenge.”
The stark takeaway: “Revolution in Saudi Arabia is no longer unthinkable.”