News Item: Egypt bans World History Book

We Americans have a bad habit. More often than not, we are of the opinion that the rest of the world thinks like we do. That, however, is not always the case, and doubly not the case in the Middle East.

World History, Connections to Today, is a series of textbooks used by 9th and 10th graders at the American International School in Cairo. Used until yesterday, that is. They’re not part of the curriculum anymore. A rumor began circulating that one lesson in the books claimed the Pyramids were built by the Jews. Reportedly, the books say nothing of the sort, but some Egyptians became offended by the very idea. From the rumors came other accusations that the books contained ‘condescending’ material about Egypt, as well as a ‘demeaning’ picture of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser. The rumors took on a life of their own, as they often do.

I haven’t read the text books, so I can’t say what was condescending about them, unless they inferred the Egyptians only ‘helped’ someone else build the pyramids. I haven’t seen the picture of Nasser either, so I’m not sure what they consider demeaning. Could be it was just a bad photo, I guess. We’ve all had those, haven’t we?

The point is, we consider Egypt to be one of the more modern countries in the Middle East, and one that is closest to establishing its own democracy. Truth is though, it is still against the law [meaning you could wind up behind bars, or worse] to criticize the president, the military, or Islam, or to say anything that could be construed as harming the country’s reputation. See the difference? Here at home, we bash the president, protest the military, and skewer religion on a daily basis. Some get upset, but generally life goes on. It’s not like that everywhere else, for one very simple reason, we are not them, and they’re not us.

Full Story: CNS News

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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