obama_cairo.pngPresident Obama delivered his long-awaited speech today at Egypt's Cairo University on the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. The talk was an effort to mend relations frayed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to write a new chapter of history between the cultures based on friendship and mutual respect.Obama directly addressed sources of tension between the U.S. and Muslim countries, including the long conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. Rejecting anti-Semitism while also acknowledging Palestinians' displacement and suffering, the president held up the lessons of the U.S. civil rights movement in urging Palestinians to abandon violence in their quest for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own:
Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth:  that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That's not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is surrendered.
As editor Michael Landauer of the Dallas Morning News observed, it's a "powerful message coming from the first black president of the United States." Those remarks come at about 28 minutes and 48 seconds into the speech, which you can watch in full here: