They say: “As the end of the year is approaching, try to get rid of everything that is not worth starting the new year with you.” A few hours left to bid farewell to 2020, which will leave carrying all what we experienced: joys and sorrows, calmness and turmoil; and be replaced with a new year, bearing new hopes for the world to be prevailed by peace, happiness and goodness for everyone, and let us begin it with “peace”.
Previous articles have tackled peace; one of the urgent fundamental needs of the world currently, as the turmoil, stress and conflicts the world is going through will bear nothing but more suffering. We have mentioned that peace starts from within man’s heart through reconciliation with God, hence, man begins to feel harmony with his own soul, then the range of peace extends to others, with important pillars as the common human rules which unite all human beings.
Likewise, the understanding and acceptance of “diversity and pluralism” is one of the most important pillars of peace among human beings. In his book “Pluralism and Diversity”, Dr. Samir Omeish wrote: “Humans are obviously classified into males and females, with multiple qualities and features: black and white, short and tall and others. Such diversity is also clearly noticeable in the characteristics and traits of children of the same family, with the exception of twin cases. In this sense drawn by nature for us, expressing the greatness of its Creator, enlightens us the understanding of “pluralism and diversity” in its clearest and simplest meanings, as a natural phenomenon worthy to be remembered and thought of, concerning its necessity and importance of existence.” Diversity is one of God’s graces, apparent in all of His creation; we see it in plants and animals in terms of shape, size and benefit to man, and we also see it clearly in the formation of man and his various organs, each of which has a special function, and with these functions working together in conformity, man is able to live and work positively, besides, diversity among individuals. Looking at societies, we find that diversity draws its distinct features through the diversity of its members, as every human being carries different characteristics that make him distinct from others, some of such characteristics can never be common in two, in addition to the diversity of backgrounds, personal values, beliefs, traditions, education and experiences, and the diversity between old and young, and between men and women, and between talents, potentials and abilities. From this standpoint, man shall realize that diversity is a feature of life that God created, and it implies many advantages. A man’s acceptance of diversity distinguishes the society, as the one society members would be able to deal with each other, without trying to make changes to others, diminish them, deprive them of their rights, or to exaggerate in their duties, on the base of ethnic or religious difference. This distinction implies the power to consolidate and build the community bonds; in order to establish a society pervaded by the values of justice and equality, with the lives of which children are harmoniously conformed together in cooperation and coexistence, united by the love of one nation.
Egypt and the Diversity and Pluralism
Egypt has always known pluralism; throughout its long history, many civilizations have existed on its land, the Egyptians have been famous for their unique personality that accepted diversity and plurality, and at the same time preserved its uniqueness and distinction. In Egypt, you find the features of its Pharaonic civilization, as well as other civilizations such as the Greek, Roman, Coptic and Islamic, thus, Egypt’s land has received and embraced comers from all parts of the world, whether they came seeking security or education or seeking the lovely life in its quarters. Thus, Egypt has been a destination for everyone, in consistency and harmony that no other country in the world has ever known.
Let’s consider other societies whose people refused to understand the thought of diversity and refused to accept it, they have become a center of rivalry and conflict, and some of them has even disappeared over time! Happy New Year to all of us, we plead for God to bestow peace over Egypt and the whole world and … And stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center30 December 2020