Will Oratory Cut It in Cairo?

The much-heralded speech to the Muslim world is upon us. But just what will Obama say to the throng in Cairo tomorrow? Three writers share their guesses.

Reza Aslan knows what Obama is unlikely to articulate in his speech: any mention of democracy. It's an irony of ironies that the president choose Egypt for his podium, a country, Aslan points out, that has an abysmal record when it comes to free speech and protecting civil society. "It will be surprising if the word "democracy" even escapes Obama's lips," Aslan writes.


Ramez Maluf reminds readers in Foreign Policy that the issue closest to listeners' hearts will be the same issue that has existed for decades: the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Selling America back to the Muslim world, he says, is contingent upon some overture to the Palestinian sympathies in the six decade old imbroglio.

Similarly, Roger Cohen writes in the Times that the continued expansion of Jewish settlements within Palestinian territory is the linchpin in any regional peace. He offers the original 1967 Israeli borders, that have shrunk and expanded countless times over the intervening decades, as a point of departure at the U.S.-led negotiation table.

Essential pre-speech viewing:

A great number of Big Think experts have addressed the issues close the hearts of Muslims, among them are:

Director of the Muslim Studies Group Dahlia Mogahed

Businessweek editor Paul Barrett

Council on Foreign Relations fellow Vali Nasr

Professor of Islamic Studies Reza Aslan

Being a father to a school-age girl makes men less sexist, study suggests

The findings are based on a phenomenon known as the "Mighty Girl Effect."

Pixabay
Culture & Religion
  • The study tracked the responses of more than 5,000 men over the course of a decade.
  • The results showed that men who lived with daughters were less likely to hold traditional views on gender relations and roles.
  • This effect seemed to be strongest as the daughters entered secondary-school age.
Keep reading Show less

Scientist's accidental discovery makes coral grow 40x faster

There might be hope for our oceans, thanks to one clumsy moment in a coral tank.

Photo by Preet Gor on Unsplash.
Surprising Science
  • David Vaughan at the Mote Laboratory is growing coral 40 times faster than in the wild.
  • It typically takes coral 25 to 75 years to reach sexual maturity. With a new coral fragmentation method, it takes just 3.
  • Scientists and conservationists plan to plant 100,000 pieces of coral around the Florida Reef Tract by 2019 and millions more around the world in the years to come.
Keep reading Show less

Technology will kill the 9-to-5 work week, says Richard Branson

The billionaire entrepreneur predicts the rise of technology will soon force society to rethink the modern work week.

(Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Technology & Innovation
  • Branson made the argument in a recent blog post published on the Virgin website.
  • The 40-hour work week stems from labor laws created in the early 20th century, and many have said this model is becoming increasingly obsolete.
  • The average American currently works 47 hours per week, on average.
Keep reading Show less