Here you see another one of my drawings showing Gaius Julius Caesar and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra in front of the lighthouse of Pharos in Alexandria Harbor, Egypt. Many of you know the story of how they met and what happened. Cleopatra was already entangled in a bloody family-feud and fight for power when she in her early 20’s called for help from the Roman military leader Gaius Julius Caesar. She had hid inside a rolled carpet to get to him. The 60-year old soldier was captivated by the young queen and soon they had a love affair. Cleopatra also had one of her sisters and her younger brother killed in the struggle for power and she begot a son with Caesar, Ptolemy XV, or Caesarion in 47 BCE. The year after she followed him to Rome, but the Romans didn’t like Caesar’s love affair with the Egyptian queen. He was also already married back home. In March 44 BCE, when Caesar had proclaimed himself imperator he was assassinated. Caesarion was also killed later and after another love affair with Mark Antony Cleopatra commited suicide in Egypt in the year 30 BCE.
In Egypt today the demonstrations against President Muhammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood continues. Two years ago Hosni Mubarak was forced to denounce his presidency and leave the power after Egypt was caught in a democracy revolution, The Arab Spring, which we know have spread to several countries after Tunisia and Egypt. The Egyptians are a proud people with a long and rich history, which the story above only is a relatively late section of, (only 2000 years ago). Now they want bread, democracy, rights for both men and women, but the conservative forces have been strong in the power-struggle. In the two referendums held in December 2012 Muhammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood decided to minimize the democracy and give themselves more power. The demonstrations have continued since then. A few days ago five were killed in Suez and 250 injured in the fights. Demonstations and protests have been held in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and more places, and this last Saturday 30 were killed and tens of thousands marched out in protest against the limitations of democracy. Mohammed El-Baradei, leader of the opposition said a few days ago: “Go out onto the squares, so that we finally reach our goal”. The Egyptians are not stupid, and I hope for their sake that they will succeed. Nevertheless, since the revolution started in 2011 also Egypt’s Christian Copts and the Jews in Egyptian Diaspora have been assaulted, threatened and killed. The Copts existed in Egypt some hundred years before the country mainly converted to Islam, and it’s an enormous shame that the religions will be used as tools of hate and intolerance. It has happened time and again through history, instead of focusing on the finer, more accepting aspects of the different convictions. This goes for all religions and secular belief systems, and seems to be based on human greed, envy and madness.
It is said that the satire film about the Prophet Muhammed was made by a Copt and produced in the States. The film has provoked many loud protests among muslims all over the world. Their anger is justified, but also their disrespect of other belief systems is just as wrong. Protests against the film has been held in Bangladesh with thousands in the streets, bricks thrown at the police and 40 activists arrested in Dhaka. Protests also have been held in Hong Kong and two days ago here in Malmoe. The march here in Malmoe against the foul presentations of the Prophet Muhammed and negative images of Muslims was a fairly peaceful one, even though a minor incident occured between a man in the audience and one of the marching Muslims.
The Spanish satire paper El Jueves recently published a charicature of the Prophet Muhammed, showing Muslims infront of a police officer and the text: “But…does anybody know what Mohammed looks like?”. I believe that all belief systems develop from the inside if they can take constructive criticism. Every belief system, religious and secular, need criticism and debate to evolve and improve. All the big “prophets”, Moses, Kong Fu Tze, Siddharta Gautama, Zardosht (Zoroaster), Jesus Christ and Mohammed and all those afterwards were all ordinary men with flaws and everyday problems, but they had something inside them, (call it Divine inspiration or whatever you like) that made them special in a certain way, but it didn’t make them perfect. No one is. Haters of a certain ideology tend to attack flaws in the belief system and attack the leader. Instead I believe that we ought to try and see what connects us all, indepentent of religious faith or secular belief…Try to find the love and human affection. Also civil wars and domestic violence are proofs of that we can’t always blame some other people or belief system all the time.
The civil war in Syria rages on and new bomb-attacks and assaults have been made the last few days. The Syrian population is harshly divided for and against the Assad régime, and it’s a great tragedy that so many lifes will be ended, so many atrocities against women, children and men in that horrible civil war.
In Libya the tensions between the different clans continue after the fall and assassination of Muammar Al-Khaddafi in the autumn of 2011. Westerners have been attacked and a few days ago the US Ambassador was killed during an attack against the US Consulate. American troops have also been sent to Mali to support the French in the fight against Al-Qaeda militia, and yesterday a commemoration day was as usual held in memory of all the Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, Communists, dissidents and others who were killed in the awful Nazi genocide during World War II, 1939- 1945. Here in Malmoe it was held at the city library. Sometimes I wonder if we ever learn when I see all this fractionising, Neo-Nazi tendencies, sectarianism, genocides, wars and civil wars all over the globe? Difficult times tend to lure out the worst aspects of being human and we definitely need to reconsider our future path.
Barack Obama now has sworn his oath again as President of the United States. “Four more years” he wrote on Twitter the other day. Despite the financial problems and the problems with defence against political enemies I wish him good luck. I am a huge fan of Barack Obama and hope that the coming four years will be at least partly successful as much as possible considering the world situation. Despite all problems in the world there are positive forces, there are strifes for peace, there are consideration, understanding, mutual respect and love. I want to see more smiling faces. Like the beautiful smile in my drawing below. Have a nice day.
Anders Moberg, January the 28th 2013