Posts tagged Egypt
Good Friday Saturday and Easter time for prayer meditation for Boulder Christians Jews Muslims, Hindus Buddhists0
Both Christians and Jews celebrate this time of the year. It is Easter for Christians and Passover for Jews. Jesus was a Jew and celebrated passover at his last supper before his crucifixion on Good Friday.. Then there is the question of how do Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists fit in. We try to explain.
During Lent, we should; live as children of the light, performing actions good, just and true
(see Ep 5:1-9)
O, My people! What have I done to thee that thou shouldst testify against me?
from The Reproaches
Veneration of the Cross – The Reproaches
Good Friday ideas for families
The Cross – The Sign of the Cross – The Crucifix, Crosses and Symbols of Christ
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the ‘Reproaches’, in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.
The Church – stripped of its ornaments, the altar bare, and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open – is as if in mourning. In the fourth century the Apostolic Constitutions described this day as a ‘day of mourning, not a day of festive joy,’ and this day was called the ‘Pasch (passage) of the Crucifixion.’
The liturgical observance of this day of Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death evidently has been in existence from the earliest days of the Church. No Mass is celebrated on this day, but the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of the Presanctified because Communion (in the species of bread) which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people .
Traditionally, the organ is silent from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil , as are all bells or other instruments, the only music during this period being unaccompanied chant.
The omission of the prayer of consecration deepens our sense of loss because Mass throughout the year reminds us of the Lord’s triumph over death, the source of our joy and blessing. The desolate quality of the rites of this day reminds us of Christ’s humiliation and suffering during his Passion. We can see that the parts of the Good Friday service correspond to the divisions of Mass:
- Liturgy of the Word – reading of the Passion.
- Intercessory prayers for the Church and the entire world, Christian and non-Christian.
- Veneration of the Cross
- Communion, or the ‘Mass of the Pre-Sanctified.’
The Veneration of the Cross
In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord’s cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century. According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on the a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): ‘Behold, the Wood of the Cross.’
Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ’s cross does not mean that we are actually adoring the material image, of course, but rather what it represents. In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to the our Lord’s cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we are, in effect, adoring Christ. Thus we affirm: ‘We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.’
The Reproaches and the Reading of the Passion
The Reproaches (Improperia), are often chanted by a priest during the Good Friday service as the people are venerating the Cross. In this haunting and poignant poem-like chant of very ancient origin, Christ himself ‘reproaches’ us, making us more deeply aware of how our sinfulness and hardness of heart caused such agony for our sinless and loving Savior. A modern translation of the some of the Reproaches, originally in Latin follows:
My people, What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
I led you out of Egypt; but you led your Savior to the Cross.
For forty years I led you safely through the desert,
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to the land of plenty; But you led your Savior to the Cross.
O, My people! What have I done to you that you should testify against me?
Holy God. Holy God. Holy Mighty One. Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Three times during Holy Week the Passion is read – on Passion Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. By very ancient tradition, three clergy read the three principal parts from the sanctuary: Jesus (always read by a priest), Narrator, and all the other individual parts. The people also have a role in this – we are those who condemn the Lord to death. Hearing our own voices say ‘Away with Him! Crucify him!’ heightens our consciousness of our complicity by our personal sinfulness in causing His death.
Catholic Commemoration of the Day
By Scott P. Richert, About.com Guide
April 22 2011 The Friday before Easter Sunday; see When Is Good Friday? for the date of Good Friday this year.
Type of Feast:
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday; instead, the Church celebrates a special liturgy in which the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, a series of intercessory prayers (prayers for special intentions) are offered, and the faithful venerate the Cross by coming forward and kissing it. The Good Friday liturgy concludes with the distribution of Holy Communion . Since there was no Mass, Hosts that were reserved from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday are distributed instead.
Since the date of Good Friday is dependent on the date of Easter , it changes from year to year. (See When Is Easter? for more details.)
Fasting and Abstinence:
Good Friday is a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
Do protestants celebrate lent, shrove Tuesday, ash Wednesday or good Friday?
Most mainline Protestants do-Episcopal, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran. Most Baptist and non-denominational/independent churches do not. I grew up Baptist and am now Evangelical but work for Presbyterians (clear as mud?) and think we miss something in not being involved in the whole story of the liturgical year.When I was growing up Baptist, all of a sudden it was Christmas and then all of a sudden it was Easter without any preamble. I believe in expository preaching but without the guidance of the church year, you miss the heart of the spiritual journey. Of course, to get the complete picture, you also have to be aware of the Jewish festivals as they also reflect the story of God’s people and redemption as well.
What is Pass Over
The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And, by following the rituals of Passover, we have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that our ancestors gained.
The Story in a Nutshell
After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G‑d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G‑d’s command. G‑d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.
At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G‑d spared the Children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day, and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G‑d’s chosen people.
Click here for the full Passover story.
Passover is divided into two parts:
The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night, and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. We don’t go to work, drive, write or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (click here for the details).
The middle four days are called chol hamoed, semi-festive “intermediate days,” when most forms of work are permitted.
To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.
Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday.
For more on this topic, see Operation Zero Chametz.
Instead of chametz, we eat matzah—flat unleavened bread. It is a mitzvah to partake of matzah on the two Seder nights (see below for more on this), and during the rest of the holiday it is optional.
Click here for more on matzah.
The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast.
The focal points of the Seder are:
Eating bitter herbs—to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites.
Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice—a royal drink to celebrate our newfound freedom.
The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover.
Visit our Seder Section for guides, insights, tip, and a Global Seder Directory.
Rebirth, Passover and the Arab Spring
April 18th, 2011 by Dean Foster | Discuss This »
I’ll be going to the traditional Passover seder tonight, on the first night of Passover, the Jewish celebration of freedom that has been celebrated now for over 3500 years. The seder (or “order”) recall the story of Jews enslaved in a political system not of their choosing in Egypt, and of their release from this bondage, known as The Exodus. And, as all traditions and ceremonies do, tonight we will retell this ancient story through poetry, song and verse, with special foods (like the matzoh, or unleavened bread, representing the haste in which the Jews had to make their escape). Over the centuries, this holiday has become one of the most beloved in Jewish tradition, not least because it occurs in the home with family and friends, and resonates with the hunger for freedom that each generation, according to the Haggadah (or prayer book used at the Seder), must identify and then struggle to achieve.
It is not coincidental that at the same approximate time each year, Christians celebrate the resurrection, or rebirth, of Christ, and the spirit or Easter, of rebirth in our lives, and in the earth itself (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Being reborn requires freedom, and freedom is a statement of rebirth itself, for in order to move on, we must be transformed.
Seeing Passover and Easter as different events connected by the same story is a simple, albeit acceptable, understanding of both. After all, Christ was captured as he endeavored to celebrate the Passover seder (the “last supper” was a seder), with his crucifixion and resurrection occurring soon thereafter, insuring that Passover and Easter will always be celebrated at approximately the same time: the Northern spring season.
But it would be a dry and limited reading of the meaning of both holidays if we understood them only through their historical connection; the richer reading sees the theme of freedom and rebirth as the much more powerful thread that binds Passover and Easter together. Freedom, rebirth, release from the past: not a Jewish or Christian theme, but a human one. One that embraces not only Jews and Christians, but Muslims, (and Buddhists, and Hindus, and non-theists, and … ) as well.
This spring, the Arab world has awakened. And the message resonates across all the Maghreb, Levant, and Gulf Arabia: Freedom, rebirth, release from the past. At every level, male and female, young and old, freedom to govern oneself, freedom to achieve, freedom to become. To be reborn anew, to start over again, to look to the future, as determined by oneself, and not by others.
Islam has always talked of these themes too, in its own way, from its own heart, but this spring, the Arab world has added its voice to that of Passover and Easter, imbuing both with greater urgency and legitimacy. It seems that the three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, this spring all cry out with the same voice: Freedom, rebirth, release from the past.
The Jewish seder ends tonight with the visionary words, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Jerusalem is the universal symbol of the aspirations, hopes and struggles of all three religions; the place where freedom, rebirth and release from the past are achieved. A metaphor, for sure, but if Jews, Christians and Muslims can all share the same dream of freedom, rebirth and release from the past, then why not “Next year in Jerusalem” for everyone?
The ride will present an experiential learning opportunity for the participating college students in conjunction with the broadcast of “Freedom Riders” and the 50th anniversary of the original May 1961 Freedom Rides.
Roberson (pronounced RAH-ber-son) is an international affairs major with interests in ethics and voter enfranchisement.
The 40 Student Freedom Riders were chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants and represent a diverse cross-section of America. Participating students hail from 33 states and the District of Columbia, along with others who grew up in China, Tajikistan and Haiti.
Students from a broad range of schools are represented — from state universities to community and junior colleges, from religiously affiliated schools to the Ivy League. Students were selected on the basis of their essays on their reasons for wanting to participate, their thoughts on the role of social media and technology in civic engagement today, and their extracurricular activities.
Over a 10-day journey from May 6 through May 16, the ride will be a moving classroom in which the students will retrace the route of the original Freedom Rides. Accompanied by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, original Freedom Riders and others, the ride will engage students in this important era in our country’s history, as they learn about the extraordinary commitment and courage of the individuals who took part in the Freedom Rides.
Roberson will miss his May 6 commencement ceremony to participate in the PBS event.
“At ‘American Experience,’ we think history is fascinating, but more importantly, we know it informs almost every social and political decision made today,” said “American Experience’’ executive producer Mark Samels. “We saw that in Egypt, where protesters looked to the American civil rights movement for instruction and inspiration.
“Fifty years after the original Freedom Rides, young people all over the world are once again having their voices heard. They’re using new and very different tools to do that, but drawing on lessons from history to inform how they use those tools. It’s those lessons from 1961 and how they are informing civic engagement today that we look forward to exploring on this ride.”
“Freedom Riders” will be broadcast on PBS on Monday, May 16, at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
A website, twitter stream and Facebook page will be chronicling the riders experiences, as well as cataloging in-depth information about the original Freedom Riders.
<a href="http://www.justin.tv/radiomando5#r=-rid-&s=em" class="trk" style="padding:2px 0px 4px;
Note: If you click on the arrow on the bottom left of each channel, you can watch each and all at once, adjust each channel volume, open in a separate window and keep up on each of these important world situations . Don't click in the middle of the channel or it will take you away from us to Justin TV, so you'll have to come back. To see full screen and still stay on Boulder Channel 1 click the lower right on channel. But it works pretty well and is a very good way to watch all at once.
We think these are the best aggregated channels for the middle east and still marvel at the technology that will allow us to set up this kind of world wide viewing. Since we don't have any alliance to anyone network (well , except our own) we can do what other networks won't.
Asia Times / By Pepe Escobar
Here’s a crash course on how one of “our” – monarchic – dictators treats his own people during the great 2011 Arab revolt.
The king of Bahrain, Hamad al-Khalifa, has blood on his hands after his mercenary security forces – Pakistani, Indian, Syrian and Jordanian – with no previous warning, attacked sleeping, peaceful protesters at 3 am on Thursday at the Pearl roundabout, the tiny Gulf country’s version of Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
In the brutal crackdown, at least five people have been killed – including a young child – and 2,000 injured, some by gunshots, two of these in critical condition. Riot police targeted doctors and medics and prevented ambulances and blood donors from reaching the Pearl roundabout. A doctor at Salmaniya hospital told al-Jazeera there was a refrigerated truck outside the hospital, which he fears the army has used to remove more dead bodies.
The resourceful Maryama Alkawaka of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was there; “It was very violent, [the police] were not showing any mercy.” An avalanche of tweets from Bahrainis denounced an “Israeli-style” sneak attack and shoot-to-kill approach. And many have denounced al-Jazeera for not having kept a live satellite link as it had in Cairo, and for implying that this was only a Shi’ite protest. The Pearl roundabout is now surrounded by nearly 100 tanks at every entrance and exit. Downtown Manama has been turned into a ghost city.
The Shi’ite opposition described it as “real terrorism”. Reem Khalifa, senor editor at the opposition newspaper al-Wasat, said, “The regime forces just came and massacred a crowd of people as they slept.” They had been “chanting together, shouting ‘neither Sunni nor Shi’ite but Bahraini’. We have not seen this before. And this is what annoyed the government agents the most – they are always trying to divide the people … And now the regime is spreading lies about me and other journalists who are trying to say what is happening.”
Khalifa had the courage to stand up and harshly confront Bahrain’s foreign minister at a press conference, totally debunking his version of events (he called the deaths “regrettable” but insisted protesters were sectarian, and armed).
The Gulf Cooperation Council – the scandalously wealthy club of local kingdoms which holds over US$1 trillion stashed away in foreign reserves and almost 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves still underground – issued, what else, a bland statement supporting Bahrain.
Kill them, but with a velvet glove
Is Washington remotely outraged by all this? The record speaks for itself. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “deep concern”, according to the State Department, and “urged restraint”. The Pentagon said Bahrain was “an important partner”; later Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman – certainly to make sure everything was dandy with the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and its 2,250 personnel housed in an isolated compound inside 24 hectares in the center of Manama.
Even the New York Times was forced to acknowledge that US President Barack Obama had “yet to issue the blunt public criticism of Bahrain’s rulers that he eventually leveled against President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt – or that he has repeatedly aimed at the mullahs in Iran”. But he can’t; after all, Bahrain’s I-shot-my-people king is another usual suspect, a “pillar of the American security architecture in the Middle East”, and “a staunch ally of Washington in its showdown with Iran’s Shi’ite theocracy”.
Under these strategic circumstances, it’s hard to dismiss Lebanese political scientist and blogger at the Angry Arab website As’ad AbuKhalil, when he stresses, “The US had to plot the repression of Bahrain to appease Saudi Arabia and other Arab tyrants who were mad at Obama for not defending Mubarak to the every end.”
Incidentally, Saudi Arabia’s prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz – father of the billionaire darling of the West prince Al Waleed bin Talal – told the BBC there’s a danger the protests in Bahrain could spill into Saudi Arabia.
It’s never enough to stress Bahrain is all about Iran vs Saudi Arabia (see All about the Pearl roundabout Asia Times Online, February 18).
The US naval base in Manama translates as a cop on the (Persian Gulf) beat. Moreover, 15% of Saudi Arabia’s population is Shi’ite, living in the eastern provinces, where the oil is. That makes it very hard for Bahrainis – Shi’ite and even Sunni – to threaten the ruling, Sunni, al-Khalifa dynasty, as the House of Saud will immediately rush in with all sorts of logistical and military support.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia has huge leverage over Bahrain’s oil, which comes from the shared Abu Saafa oilfield, explored by Saudi Aramco and shared with a Bahraini refiner.
Bahrain is far from swimming in oil. According to International Monetary Fund figures, in 2010 Saudi Arabia produced roughly 8.5 million barrels of oil a day; the United Arab Emirates 2.4 million barrels; Kuwait 2.3 million barrels; and Bahrain only 200,000 barrels.
According to Moody’s, to balance its budget the Bahrain government needs oil at $80 a barrel, “one of the highest budgetary ‘break-even’ points in the region”, says the Financial Times. As a Barclays Capital report puts it with typical corporate contortionism, “The announcements of street protests, concessions by the government at the cost of a deteriorating fiscal position and simmering political tensions have created a backdrop that has clearly caused investors to view Bahrain with increased caution.”
So if protesters really want to hit the al-Khalifa where it hurts, they should aim at the nexus oil business/financial sector. It will be an extraordinary uphill struggle against a nasty police state crammed with mercenaries – especially Jordanian military consultants (the “master torturer” of the Mukhabarat is a Jordanian) and now also counting on “help” from Saudi tanks and troops. Moreover, the riot police and special forces don’t speak the local dialect, and in the case of Balochis from Pakistan, don’t even speak Arabic.
Prospects are bleak. The inside dope in Manama is of a split within the royal family. The dreaded, sectarian Khalid bin Ahmed, responsible for the policy of naturalizing “imported” Sunnis to alter the demographic balance and dilute even more the voting rights of the indigenous Shi’ite population, would be on one side; and the king plus Crown Prince Salman (Gates’ pal) would be on the other. The king may be losing control. And in this case Saudi Arabia would be lobbying for bin Ahmed to take over and get one of the king’s sons, Nasir Bin Hamed to be crown prince. This does make sense if seen under the angle of the brutal crackdown.
Time to cross the bridge
What Bahrain’s Shi’ites can certainly accomplish is to inspire Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia in terms of a long fight for greater social, economic and religious equality. It’s wishful thinking to bet on the House of Saud reforming itself – not while enjoying extraordinary oil wealth and maintaining a vast repression apparatus, more than enough to buy or intimidate any form of dissent.
Yet there may be reasons to dream of Saudi Arabia following the winds of new Egypt. The average age of the House of Saud trio of ruling princes is 83. Of the country’s indigenous population of 18.5 million, 47% is under 18. A medieval conception of Islam, as well as overwhelming corruption, is under increasing vigilance on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The middle class is shrinking. 40% of the population actually lives under the seal of poverty, has access to virtually no education, and is in fact unemployable (90% of all employees are “imported” Sunnis). Even crossing the causeway to Manama is enough to give people ideas.
Once again, talk about an extraordinary uphill struggle – in a country with no political parties – or labor unions, or student organizations; with any sort of protests and strikes outlawed; and with members of the shura council appointed by the king.
The Arab News newspaper anyway has already warned that those winds of freedom from northern Africa may hit Saudi Arabia. And it may all revolve around youth unemployment, at an unsustainable 40%. There’s no question; the great 2011 Arab revolt will only fulfill its historic mission when it shakes the foundations of the House of Saud. Young Saudi Sunnis and Shi’ites, you have nothing to lose but your fear.
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With all of the world crisis going on today, we have put these TVchannels to the topof our news blog. Good coverage of pirates in Somalia, the Earth Quake in New Zealand, the revolutions in Libya, Iran, Egypt, middle east.
–Nabil Echchaibi, assistant professor of journalism and media studies, can address religious aspects of the events in Egypt as well as correlations with Iran. Echchaibi is the associate director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture and his research has included identity, religion and the role of media in shaping and reflecting modern religious perspectives among Muslims in the Middle East. He is best reached by e-mail at email@example.com. He also can be reached at 303-492-8246.
–Najeeb Jan, instructor of geography, can address issues relating to the broad relationship between the United States and democracy in the Muslim world. Jan, who is part Pakistani, spent several years attending school in that country and has relatives and friends living there. He currently is researching “political Islam” in Pakistan and has interviewed clerics, students and members of the military for a book he is writing called “The Meta-colonial State: Pakistan and the Crisis of Power.” Jan can be reached by calling 303-492-2860 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–John M. Willis, assistant professor of history, can address the history and politics of the modern Middle East, including topics such as imperialism, modern Islamic thought and nationalist movements. His research addresses the history of empire and the rise of Islamic reformist movements in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean. He is best reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
On Wednesday, Feb. 16, all four CU-Boulder professors listed above will participate in a panel discussion titled “The Revolution in Egypt: Causes and Consequences” at 7 p.m. in Eaton Humanities Building room 1B50. The event is free and open to the public. The forum is sponsored by the CU Faculty Federation; the CU Peace and Conflict Studies Program; the Center for the Study of Conflict, Collaboration and Creative Governance; the Political Economy Group of the sociology department; and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. For more information contact retired sociology Professor Thomas Mayer at 303-442-5311.
Posted by MARK THOMPSON Friday, January 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm
The U.S. Marines have a pair of warships — the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce — just hanging around the southern end of the Red Sea waiting to see if they’re needed to rescue U.S. diplomats and citizens from Cairo. They’re half of the Marines’ 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a mini-armada that recently dispatched 1,400 of its 2,000 Marines into Afghanistan. But they’ve got a “fair number” of helicopters, and Marines, still aboard. “They’re not in the on-deck circle yet,” a military official says. “They’re kind of getting ready to come out of the dugout.” Meetings in Washington through Friday night and into the weekend will determine if they’re ordered to carry out a NEO — a non-combat (but potentially dicey) evacuation operation.