Eugene Cho

governments exist to serve its people

These are extraordinary days – in both good and painful ways.

Are you tracking with the situation in Egypt?

Part of why this and so many of our current global affairs are so complex for me is that it’s difficult to exegete the event as an isolated event. I fear that this is what we often do – rather than seeing it in the lens of a larger picture and history.

This is why our affairs as a country in the larger world are so difficult and complex to understand. We have a long and complicated history – both internally as a country but also in relationships with our global neighbors. Truth be told, it make absolute sense for leaders and governments to seek their self-interests but when we seek our self-interests at the expense of others or at times, while oppressing others, it’ll catch to that respective country in the long run. This is why everything in Egypt seems so confusing to me. It’s too easy for America to wipe our hands at the situation in Egypt and Mubarek when in fact, we may have been complicit in some of Egypt’s affairs that have finally led to the current uprising.

Whatever the past, it seems clear to me that there is a fundamental declaration in all revolts and revolution:

People want to be heard.

During my couple years in Korea in 1995-1997, I witnessed the ‘protest culture’ of Korea. There were protests nearly every day and on a few occasion, there were protests and marches that involved over a million citizens. I participated in couple of them and it was an incredible experience. When I asked some folks why Korean citizens were so prone to protests, I’ll never forget this one particular answer:

We have had a history of an oppressive government. They sought to crush the spirit and will of the people and while it may have worked on numerous occasions, the spirit of the people and their desire for freedom and to be heard eventually overthrew the military regime in 1985 and ushered in a new era.

We protest today to remind the government that they serve the people and not the other way around.

This is what I see happening in Egypt and what I saw in the recent years with Iran. It is what we’ll see in the years to come for many parts of the world.

It is both painful and joyful to see.  You may oppress your people for a period of time but in the long run, you cannot quench the human spirit for freedom.

We were born to be free.

God created us to be free.

So, I pray for the people of Egypt and I ask you to join in prayer as well.

Whatever form of government, I’d love to see a universal agreement between all leaders and their respective governments such as

  • Preserve basic human rights.
  • Uphold peoples’ right to peaceful demonstration.
  • Limit terms on leaders.
  • Transparency and commitment to quenching corruption
  • and the list goes on..

We must remind the powers to be that

governments exist to serve the people…

and not the other way around.

I saw this video a short while ago and wept. I can’t understand everything that’s being said but what is apparent from my viewing is a “peaceful” demonstration that turns murderous. It’s painful and graphic but it is a glimpse of what is going on in Egypt. Right now.

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14 Responses

  1. Tracey says:

    Here’s another opinion, with some historical facts.

  2. Kimberly Rixon says:

    Here is another opinion, from one of the most well known journalists in America, who was actually in Egypt last week. He addresses the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the author of the article is worried about.

  3. Jaci says:

    Here’s another opinion, which backs up what Kimberly’s article had to say.

    Also (shameless plug following), if anyone is interested in learning more background to what’s happening in Egypt, I recently started a blog that’s trying to provide just that. It’s at I’d love it if you checked it out and let me know what you think!

  4. Andrew says:

    That first article is awful.

    I quote “when we call for democracy among Muslim nations, we are hoping for the impossible.”

    This is not only incredibly bigotted, it’s absurdly and demonstrably false. Turkey is both majority Muslim and democratic, and it has been that way for more than half a century.

    The protests have been peaceful (except when Lemay’s boy, Mubarak, has set his goons on the protesters), they have been non-sectarian, and they have been decidely pro-democratic.

    I’ve been following the situation in Egypt very closely, including a lot of reports from protesters on the ground, and almost everything in that article is wrong.

  5. Tracey says:

    Here we are free to express our opinions! Isn’t it great?

  6. Andrew says:

    Yes, that’s why I support the Egyptian protesters.

    One more reason to cut our support for Mubarak: He’s increasing anti-American sentiment.

    Not only does his political repression and torture regime radicalize his people, he blames us to divert the radicals attentions. We will have much better relations with Egyptians once Mubarak and his ilk are gone.

  7. Cliff says:

    Okay, I know an Egyptian, 18 months ago he had no problem with Mubarak. Now, Mubarak obviously has enriched himself while being president of Egypt, he’s worth 7 billion dollars.

    But a functional democracy does not always mean Majority rule, as our former President Reagan said, “Individual Rights are respected.” I’m not talking about other countries having the right to decide what kind of government Egypt is, it is up to Egyptians. On the other hand, too, let’s not forget, Egypt has a ton of poor people kind of like some Latin American countries, it is not easy to fix that unfortunately.

    Still, there was a study done by Pew Research Center:

    “Eighty-two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77 percent support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves, and 84 percent support executing any Muslim who changes his religion, the Pew survey found.”

    So, I love my Egyptian friend, a Muslim but he doesn’t even go to the Mosque/Muslim Center here because he doesn’t like the way they act up there but he prays, he has his Koran, I’d say he’s a devout Muslim. But there are obviously some big questions about Egypt, wasn’t a Christian Church bombed early this year? I believe so with around a dozen people killed. Also they were going to “cull” or slaughter all the pigs when the Swine Flu warnings came out. Not sure they did that but the UN health organization said that that would not help or do anything to prevent swine flu from spreading, hence since then swine flu has become the H1N1 virus in terminology.

    So I think President Reagan had it right, democracy but a respect for an individuals’ rights too. I don’t see stoning women for adultery or what happened in Bangladesh, something about a 14 year old girl who was raped was publically whipped and died from her injuries. Rotten stuff.

    And how about Iran?? By the end of January this year alone, they had hung, hung 66 people and the Netherlands froze relations with Iran because they hanged an Iranian woman of Dutch ancestry and they accused her of drug smuggling but her family says it was because she was involved in the protests. Sounds like “real” democracy.

    Hey, did everyone talking up the Egyptian protests support the protests against the Tyrants in Iran?? Huh?? Can they even protest in North Korea??

    Egypt is Egypt’s business, my buddy likes Israelis, doesn’t care for the radical elements of the Palestinians. You know if these countries resort to Medieval times with modern weapons, we’ve got to be careful. Israel is just one little strip of land.

    • Andy M says:

      So we shouldn’t support democracy in Egypt because they might do such questionable things such as you mentioned?

      Were we much better when we had our own revolution? We had slavery, among other things. We oppressed the natives. Capital punishment was the standard and wasn’t always fair. But we changed, we progressed, and we now are one of the most free countries in the world.

      The point is that we cannot hold a revolution or protest movement to the current standard to which we hold ourselves. That is like a University rejecting a freshman student because he doesn’t have a PhD. But we must challenge them to progress.

      The situation is complex, and I don’t know what would be best for Egypt. But America has always been for “the people”. If we continue to support dictators because they do something we like then I think we have lost the principles on which this country was founded.

      Iran has a “theocracy”, not democracy. Their hanging of those people has little to do with the will of the Iranian people. So I’m not sure what your point is there.

      • Yank says:

        Iran started as a people’s revolution too, that’s obvious.

        In turn, America had slavery for hundreds of years, 40 years of abortion. Our country is not perfect. I said I don’t think we should interfere with the affairs of Egypt. I don’t see what your point is. Can people discuss things??

        • Andy M says:

          Yes, Iran did start as a people’s revolution. But apparently given the scale of the protests, much of what that government does is not necessarily what the people want. It may have started that way, but current reality is different.

          I didn’t say our country is perfect, but we have 200+ years of experience with democracy. Thats 200+ years of living with the tension of strong political, economic, and social disagreements. I am critical of many things our government does, but our ability to work and stay peaceful within that tension is in my opinion one of our greatest assets (except the obvious example of the Civil War).

          Your point was that we shouldn’t interfere? Sorry, missed that one. The majority of what Cliff (you?) said was more about democracy, individual rights, human rights issues, etc. rather than whether we should get involved. Maybe we shouldn’t be involved, but the truth is that we already are involved because of our past support for Mubarak, the question is which side are we on now, Mubarak or the people?

          I am discussing things. Does my disagreement somehow close the discussion?

  8. Cliff says:

    Pardon, I meant to say the Dutch froze relations with Iran because Iran hung an Iranian woman who is a Dutch Citizen.

  9. Andrew says:

    Egypt’s premier university has rejected an Iranian style revolution:

    Mubarak is not our friend. Not only do his repressive policies inspire anti-American sentiment, he encourages it:

    Mubarak cannot be trusted to transition peacefully. He has been responsible for almost all of the violence in these otherwise peaceful protests:

    Yes, there was a Church bombing. You can read about what happened next (the much bigger story), here:

    As for the slaughtering of those pigs, that was done by Mubarak.

    Honestly, I don’t trust those poll results. Have you ever heard of a stoning in Egypt? Once? If 80 percent of the population supported stoning, you’d see a lot more than you’re (not) getting now.

  10. Cliff says:

    They predict tomorrow trouble will explode after the people go to their weekly Friday prayer services. I hope not. Now we are seeing that the media and US Government don’t necessarily know what is going on. Hopefully all the bloggers here can keep us up on the situation. And I mean real facts, not just what we hear on TV or on the internet. Maybe there won’t be much trouble at all tomorrow, if there is, it could be termed as an “insurrection.”

  11. only when we are willing to die for these enalienable rights we’re suppose to possess will we ever achieve that goal. rebel with every fiber of our being to possess this God given freedom and to show this democracy dictatorship . the people of this country will be heard and represented if not by you ?? then we’ll represent ourselves !! don’t need your political corrupted asses any longer tired of the same old shit !! outcast !! ginny pigs , and sacrificial lambs of your greed for wealth and power !! its time America to fight back by any means possible !! and it start with “occupy wall street ” , keep the movement moving !!”no surrender no retreat !!

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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