President Obama addressed Muslims at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt, and stated, “I’ve come to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world…”
His speech, translated into 13 languages and viewed throughout the world, addressed people of all countries and faiths.
“I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground,” he continued.
And speak openly he did. The scope and breadth of Obama’s speech was breathtaking.
After opening the dialogue between Muslims and Americans, he laid out seven other important world issues: violent extremism, the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world, nuclear weapons, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights, and economic development and opportunity.
The issues he addressed would normally all be considered “third rail” topics; topics so “charged” or “untouchable” as to be political suicide. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, “He said things that American politicians almost never say in public. Especially American presidents.”
This did not deter President Obama from being open and honest. So honest in fact that he admitted “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States had played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”
Former National Security Advisor under President Carter, Zbigniew Brezezinski, called the speech ‘gutsy,’ and said, “I think this speech was a very courageous statement of his political philosophy and previewing the strategy that he’ll follow. I consider this speech to be a watershed.”
This is a speech that will be discussed for weeks, months and years to come as a defining moment in American foreign policy and world relations.If you have not done so already, take the time to listen to this incredible speech in its entirety. You can find it at www.whitehouse.gov. You will find it well worth your time.
*NOTE: The photos shown here are from the White House Photo Office
Cheri is a single, freelance writer living in Southern California. She has two grown children, one in Iowa and one a recent graduate of Columbia University, and is the proud grandmother of two. Cheri is also a purveyor of fine coffee, warm chatter and dry wit.
You can find Cheri’s home page at www.ccabot.gather.com
Her weekly political column “Personal About Politics”, can be found at www.personalpolitics.gather.com.