Peace Feast: Egypt and Black History Month

by Jim Mullins

What do the recent events in Egypt and Black History Month have in common? Other than both being the theme of our last Peace Feast, the main commonality, I believe, is the use of cultural power over political power.

The Civil Rights movement utilized the power of words and non-violent demonstration to upend the unjust and dehumanizing policies that smothered the African American community until the '60s.

In Egypt, Mubarak had a monopoly on political power, but he wasn't strong enough to stifle the Egyptian poets on the streets of Tahrir Square or contain the cultural power of Facebook. In some ways, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, played a significant role in the transformation of Egypt.

Few of us have political power, but we all have cultural power in the way that Andy Crouch defines it. Engineers, musicians, graphic designers, chefs, and stay-at-home moms all have some measure of cultural power. The question is, are we using it intentionally and wisely? Are we wielding it for the good of society and in attempts to love our neighbor?

On February 24th, we gathered at an Egyptian restaurant called the Nile Cafe in south Scottsdale. The night included amazing food and a few interviews. The first interview was with Mohamed Maio, owner of the Nile and local entrepreneur; and Riccardo Stewart, former ASU football player. We interviewed them about cultural power, Martin Luther King Jr., and the worldview that informs their thinking about society.

We closed the night by interviewing Souzan Elsaiddi, Mohamed's mother, about what life was like while growing up in Egypt She gave us some cultural insights about Egypt and expressed gratitude for so many people praying for her country.

Let's continue to pray for Egypt and use our gifts, abilities, training, and resources to bless our neighbor.