If a nation wants to build itself, it must build the human being in it. Building the human being is the most difficult path to the peak an individual or a society seeks to reach. Perhaps the difficulty of building is due to the nature of man represented by the spirit with its rational essence, the soul with its thought, emotion and will, along with the body. Building awareness or perception is one of the urgent topics raised today in the arena of conferences, meetings and discussions in order to work on the internal human structure for the benefit of the individual and society. Attempts to define “awareness” began among scientists and philosophers thousands of years ago, and are still being researched today. However, we are not going to present the dialectic between different analyzes and interpretations, but we rather to talk about what we need today in order to build the human being, the country and the future.
We might wonder: Why is building a human being important? Because man is of a great value for God and this is clearly expressed by religions. In Christianity, man was created in the image of God and according to His likeness in the attributes of justice, mercy, love, etc., with human limitations: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” In Islam, man is God’s successor on earth, “And when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we exalt You with praise and declare Your perfection?” He said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
Since man is also the bearer of a mission in building life, he was placed on earth to work and preserve it. Not to mention that man is the creator of civilizations and development, as without man, there would have been no civilization, no development, no inventions witnessed by the world throughout the ages till this day. Innovations are the result of his mind gifted to him by the Creator, the Greatest Mind, God – blessed be His name.
In Cambridge dictionary, the word “awareness” is defined as “a state of understanding and perceiving something”, while in Oxford’s, awareness is: “the state of being aware of or responding to one’s surroundings.” Thus, awareness is connected to a man’s ability to be aware of himself and the world around him. Once, I read a report by the National Center for Criminal and Social Research in 2009 that more than 10 billion pounds are paid for witchcraft and sorcery in Egypt! This indicates we shall study and work to build a citizen’s awareness, besides highlighting the important role and responsibility of the Egyptian society in order to work on building the awareness of the individual, in several axes, including:
• Awareness of himself and his identity
The Egyptian citizen needs to become aware of himself, his potential, and his talents, in addition to returning to a deep awareness of his Egyptian identity. He has the history and personality traits that make him achieve the greatest achievements.
• Awareness of societal values
We need to build awareness of the values of citizenship, peace and peaceful coexistence, which are manifested in:
• Individual human freedom, freedom of expression, belief and religion, and the right to justice.
• The right to participate in political life through the Parliament.
• Citizen’s enjoyment of social services such as education, health care and other societal basics.
• Awareness of the importance of citizen’s participation in public interests and civil society.
• A person’s awareness of citizenship, which creates and consolidates his view of himself, his country, and his country’s fellow citizens, which will undoubtedly lead to building and reconstructing the country, taking it and leading it to its first leadership among countries.
• Awareness of human rights
According to the United Nations definition, human rights are rights inherent to all human beings – whatever their nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language or any other status – and everyone has the right to obtaining them equally and without discrimination. Among those rights are, for example, the right to life, liberty, justice, security, peace and respect.
• Awareness of work values and community cohesion
Citizen awareness of the importance of work and community cohesion must be built, for simply when a division occurs in a society, it will inevitably collapse. On the contrary: in our unity we integrate and have all our needs satisfied, and we work to build our country and secure the future of our children. And… Stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center