1 – 2017
What family for a peaceful future?
The family is like a tree with deep roots, branches and leaves. The root of the tree can be compared to the thought of Pierre Tei-lhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings with spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings with human experience.” It’s easier to internalize this statement than to explain it.
Theillard de Chardin, a French Jesuit, my father’s teacher in Cairo; also for this reason I feel that he is an author very close to my interiority.
- My family in Egypt
- Parents and children
- The challenges of the traditional family
- Human Rights and Marriage
- Islamic immigration and family
- Husband and wife: The law of love
My family in Egypt:
We are seven brothers and sisters born in Egypt, migrated to three different continents. As a result of discriminatory laws and acts against non-Muslim citizens, we have been pushed towards emigration one after the other. The parents, left alone, recommended that we keep in contact with them and help each other, write a weekly letter and have it circulated to everyone, choose light paper to lighten the postal burden, carbon cards to duplicate (Egyptian censorship opened all the letters) are formalities that kept us spiritually united.
Little by little, the description of the daily life of an emigrant in search of work and affection took over from the description of the daily life of an emigrant in search of work and affection, the strength of one’s feelings towards the other and the discovery of how much family ties kept us united. My wife and I passed this habit on to our four children, writing our best wishes at every anniversary occasion, thus strengthening the cohesion between us. Maintaining correspondence was different from today. With my granddaughter in Oceania, in contact through skype and internet, the expression of feelings, even in the ease of current barrier-free communications, is not deepened to the same extent, it remains a mere description of current life, or quick verbal contacts today; I think that family feelings are enriched more by letters, which require care, attention, introspection.
Parents and children
Through the children God renews the world. The heart of a child is similar to that of a Saint; it is known that in the womb the child is reached by the affection and thoughts of the pregnant woman in preparation for the meeting and the embrace that will welcome him. The family has a decisive influence on our personality; we are always born within a human context, in a woman’s body and in her network of relationships, whether single, married or divorced. Ideally the family is a space where children are raised, find security and learn trust, but also a context of mutual love and responsibility throughout life. Parents can learn from their children but remain the first teachers in life. The family environment influences the existential perspectives of the children; the presence of the father is equally important to help the children develop emotionally, which is essential to help the mother who contributes with her work to the home economy. Let us remember that children do not belong to us, they are free people given to us, but destined to walk the path they have chosen. If some of these choices can cause us suffering, the dignity of the person comes before our desires.
The challenges of the traditional family
By family, I mean the family I lived in. Lately currents have arisen that aim to break the traditional model in the name of individual freedom, sublimating other situations. Just to name a few: divorce with the consequent situation of psychological instability of children, sperm donors and surrogate mothers, test tube babies, biological parents, the shortage of women in China and India caused by abortion. Under the label of establishment liberal are advertised practices so called LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), accusing all those who are against racism. They advertise as normal practices such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, redefinition of marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning. If you don’t conform, you’re considered anti-progressive. Today more than ever, freedom of thought, speech and expression is under attack; when the thought in question is not the one aligned to the politically correct: that is to say, to what has been established as “right” and “true” by power groups as much influential as little or not at all representative of common feeling. I leave it to more competent people the arduous task of dealing with such topics that challenge the traditional family.
Human Rights and Marriage
On the basis of my life experience, I have tried to describe the value of spiritual unity to maintain the bonds arising from marriage in accordance with Article 29 of the Constitution of the Italian state confirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. In the world other Declarations on Human Rights have arisen in particular published by nations where the source of the law is Islamic Sharia. In practice, in a society where there is legislation that discriminates against citizens on the basis of religion and sex, the damage to families can be overcome, in part, by the ability to raise the spiritual aspects of citizens, a responsibility that falls on the family. Incidentally, in the UN the Vatican is often closer to the Islamic states than the so-called “Christian” states, including Italy, in voting on birth and life issues.
Islamic immigration and the family
I would like to open a brief parenthesis on a subject of which little is said. After the Second World War, the African countries bordering the Mediterranean embarked on a strong campaign of demographic development with the result, over a period of fifty years, of tripling the number of their inhabitants accompanied by a growing impoverishment; in the same period Europe grew economically, with an older population stable demographically. This has led to a gap that new generations in Africa are trying to bridge. The increased availability of means of transport and communication facilitated the emigration of young Arabs to Europe. They come from countries governed by laws that privilege Muslim citizens over adherents of any other religious belief. These young people are conditioned by mental prejudices when they arrive in Europe, a country where equality, rights and duties and non-discrimination between citizens prevail.
Unlike the European citizen, and in particular the Italian, it should be remembered that the Arab citizen, both Christian and Muslim, has an identity that is intimately linked to his religious beliefs and his community even before the state he belongs to. The most organized and ramified political force in Arab countries is that of the Muslim Brotherhood – political Islam – whose motto is “The Koran is our law, Jihad is our way. To die in the way of Allāh is our supreme hope”. The chronicles report that they aim to obtain legal recognition of Islamic laws on our continent. Opening the door to the possibility of applying a law that discriminates against citizens on the basis of sex and religious faith would create havoc to family and social peace.
Husband and wife: The law of love
There is no magic formula to achieve an immediate happy relationship, except with a slow, deep and constant transformation in the heart of each spouse. Accept the other even when he or she acts in a different way than I would have wished, because we are all a complex combination of light and shadow. When we follow the law of love in our families, we are able to face any kind of trial or sacrifice; mutual love becomes an image of the love with which God loves humanity. If our spiritual being grows in the hearts of each member of the family, it is reflected in society: it is a responsibility that the teachings of Jesus Christ, but also of the founders of other religions, have left us to the extent that we each live our own faith and visibly demonstrate charity and love in front of the whole community.
At the end of this brief talk I return to the initial thought: we are spiritual beings with human experience. The spirit brings me closer to God in the measure in which I act according to my conscience, listening to the voice of the Creator, Father of all men, creates the base of conviviality, of a dialogue that brings people from different backgrounds and history closer together. This is my thought on the theme “what a family for a peaceful future”.
Giuseppe Samir Eid
Free web translation from the original in Italian
The published articles intend to provide the tools for a social inclusion of the migratory flow, shed light on human rights and the condition of life of Christians in the Islamic world from which the author come from. Knowledge of the other, of cultural and religious differences are primary ingredients to create peace in the hearts of men everywhere, a prerequisite for a peaceful coexistence and convinced citizenship in the territory.