Entries in Cairo (3)


Secretary Clinton Delivers Powerful Religion Speech After Middle East Embassy Attacks

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary Clinton delivered a powerful and personal speech about religion at an Eid ul-Fitr reception, marking the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The speech, at times, was a direct response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East, and the deaths of four diplomats at the hands of militants in Libya.

In her remarks, Clinton repeated much of what she’s said in the last two days, namely that the Benghazi attack was carried out by a “small and savage group,” and that the United States completely rejects what she called the “inflammable and despicable” anti-Muslim film circulating the Internet. However, Clinton pointed out all religions have faced insults and denigration, but that’s no justification for violence.  The response to such insults is what separates people of true faith from those who would use religion as an excuse to commit violent acts, she said.

“When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. When Hindus or Buddhists are subjected to insults to their faiths, and that also certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence,” said Clinton. “The same goes for all faiths, including Islam.”

She spoke movingly about her own personal beliefs as a way of re-enforcing her point.

“I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults.  They have withstood offense for centuries,” said Clinton. "Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.”

She asked the crowd to work towards building a world where if one person commits a violent religious act, millions of people will stand up and condemn it.

“We can pledge that whenever one person speaks out in ignorance and bigotry, ten voices will answer,” Clinton said forcefully. “They will answer resoundingly against the offense and the insult; answering ignorance with enlightenment; answering hatred with understanding; answering darkness with light.”

The secretary urged the audience not to be discouraged by the hatred and violence that exists, but instead resolve to do something tangible to promote religious tolerance in their own communities.

“In times like these, it can be easy to despair that some differences are irreconcilable, some mountains too steep to climb; we will therefore never reach the level of understanding and peacefulness that we seek, and which I believe the great religions of the world call us to pursue,” she reflected. “But that’s not what I believe, and I don’t think it’s what you believe… Part of what makes our country so special is we keep trying. We keep working. We keep investing in our future,” she said.

This year’s annual Eid event honored three young Muslim-Americans who are part of the State Department’s Generation Change program. The initiative, launched by Clinton two years ago, supports young Muslims to develop positive organizations and movements around the world.

Clinton acknowledged that given the deaths of the diplomats killed in Libya this week, the event had a more somber tone than in years past. But she also highlighted the outpouring of support the United States has received from the Muslim world.  She thanked the Libyan ambassador, Ali Suleiman Aujali, who gave a heartfelt tribute to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, whom he called his dear friend, killed in Benghazi on Tuesday.

“I must tell you, Madam Secretary, and tell the American people, that Chris is a hero,” said Aujali. “He loves Benghazi, he loves the people, he talks to them, he eats with them, and he [was] committed -- and unfortunately lost his life because of this commitment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Flood Fight: Army Corps to Blast Open Missouri Levee

Comstock/Thinkstock(BIRDS POINT, Mo.) -- The Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered to activate explosions at the Birds Point, Mo., levee, which could save Cairo, Ill., from disastrous flooding, but at the cost of some of America's richest farmland.

"Public safety remains the No. 1 issue for the corps of engineers," Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh said Monday during a news conference, announcing his decision to go forward with the project.

"[The Cairo levee] continues to be under enormous and unprecedented pressure," he said. "The Cairo gauge has gone up a foot and a half since yesterday. It's going to continue to rise."

The corps' explosives experts will blow a two-mile hole in the levee sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Once the explosives are detonated, Mississippi River water will flood 130,000 acres of prime farmland that includes about 90 homes. Army Corps spokesman Jim Pogue said letting water escape from the swollen river should "lower the Mississippi by anywhere from 3 to 7 feet."

The idea is to take pressure off other levees protecting Cairo, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, where river levels this week rose past a record set in 1937.

Cairo, whose population exceeded 15,000 in Mark Twain's day, is a ghost of what it was as a booming riverboat-era port town. The city currently has approximately 2,800 residents, most of whom have already evacuated, according to Mayor Judson Childs.

Missouri farmers in the water's path are outraged by the decision. Bill Feezor, who farms 2,500 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans near Birds Point, said he fears the flooding.

"It will ruin my farm," he said. "This is my whole life."

Farmers such as Feezor worry about a toxic stew of diesel fuel, propane, fertilizer and pesticides that, they believe, will cover their land once river water rushes in.

Twenty-four hours after the first explosion, the corps plans to detonate more explosives at the southern end of the floodway to drain the water from the farmlands.

Missouri officials fought the move in court, but U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh, Jr.-- siding with Illinois and Kentucky -- ruled that the corps had the right to breach the levee to protect Cairo. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an emergency appeal from Missouri's attorney general.

For Cairo's mayor, the decision was "a no-brainer."

"What's more important, land or lives?" Childs said. "You can replace land. You can't replace lives."

Walsh on Monday cautioned that this levee explosion would be just the beginning as the corps continues watching pressure levels.

"This doesn't end this historic flood," he said. "This is just the beginning."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Hails Mubarak's Resignation: 'Egypt will Never be the Same'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama hailed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's abrupt decision to step down Friday, ending his 30-year-reign, as Egyptian armed forces took control of the country's leadership.

"The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," the president said. "By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change, but this is not the end of Egypt's transition. This is the beginning."

Hailing the protesters, especially the young generation that "turned the wheel of history," Obama called for a peaceful and constructive move to democracy in the country that has been rocked by protests for 18 days.

As Mubarak's long-awaited announced was made by his vice president Omar Suleiman, crowds gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting "Egypt is free, Egypt is free," as the historic announcement was made.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio