President Obama is due to arrive in Cairo on Thursday to give a hotly anticipated speech to the Muslim world during a five day trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany and France.
His speech is said to be similar to his previous one in Turkey, in which he will reiterate that the US wishes to foster warm relations with Muslim nations and will not, in his words, “simply impose… values on another country with a different history and a different culture.” He also told the BBC he plans to engage in “tough, direct diplomacy”.
This tough and direct diplomacy, though, should entail recognizing and tackling human rights violations in the region, such as those in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. President Obama has said that while his administration will not impose our American values on other nations, they will encourage universal principles like freedom of speech and religion. He has also said that “part of being a good friend is being honest”.
Now is the perfect time to be honest. This is an important moment for the universal value of human rights in the Middle East, and excuses are not acceptable.
Be sure to take a look at Obama’s full BBC interview regarding the trip here.
Samah Choudhury contributed to this post