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Cairo is a bloodbath.  600 Morsi supporters are dead.  A suicide bomber detonates himself in a Shiite neighborhood in Beirut.  Images of Gaddafi being torn to shreds by an angry mob in the streets of Libya are fresh in memory.  Saddam has gone to the gallows and his sons to perdition, but bombs regularly erupt in Iraq as the young flame of democracy there flickers ands bends before the winds of tribalism.  Who doubts that the winds will win?

A courageous young girl in Afghanistan is shot in the face as a hundred others are poisoned for the crime of seeking an education, and still the Taliban rises.  Iranian scientists work feverishly—not for peace or justice—but toward the day when they can go Hitler one better and annihilate 7 million Israeli Jews in a thermonuclear fireball.  The flames of Benghazi still smolder.  Even Doctors Without Borders, those tireless Samaritans who bring only medicine and healing, announced yesterday they are throwing in the towel in Somalia. We try to imagine how bad it must be before the doctors would ever choose to walk away, but it is bad beyond our imagining.  And so it goes, seemingly on and on, forever.

Yet I listen to a woman speak to a BBC reporter above the din of helicopters sweeping the streets of Ramses Square, and I hear in her voice the echo of Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and Paine.  I hear the hope of freedom and the promise of a civil society.  If she still hopes, how can I despair?

I have a daydream of sailing to Jerusalem.  More than 6,000 miles in all.  Perhaps that is the gulf to be spanned before I can begin to understand.  Should it surprise anyone that it would take 40 days and 40 nights to cross the wilderness of water between here and there at the hull speed of a modest sailboat?  Perhaps that time, speed and distance would provide the measure of clarity needed to see the truth, or the horror, for what it truly is.  I imagine asking two questions of every Muslim, Christian and Jew I meet along the way.  What is the path to happiness in our lives?  What is the path to happiness in our world? 

When I reach Jerusalem, I would nail the answers to a cross, in hopes that we might make some sense of the whole of it and find our way forward, together.  Perhaps then the world would listen, and understand.  Perhaps then there would be peace.