Easter in Egypt: One Year Later

Cartoon by Carlos Latuff depicting the unity between Christians and Muslims during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution

I remember last year’s reports on the church bombings in Egypt on Palm Sunday. When I heard the news, my blood curdled. I was reminded on Christmas of the harm Salafism causes when I read on Mada Masr about the church attack. I was filled with rage. I was afraid friends and family might have been hurt. It’s as if Islamist terrorist way of celebrating Christmas and Easter was to kill people and bomb churches. I was fed up of hearing from friends and relatives “Don’t worry: the martyrs are in a better place now,” “Heaven needed another angel,” and words from the Coptic Orthodox Pope such as “The Church needs martyrs.” I have no idea as to why heaven has such a great demand for Egyptians.

However, I remembered something else. In Egyptian newspapers and social media, there were mentions of Muslims leaving candles, message of condolences, and flowers in front of Saint George’s church and Saint-Mark’s cathedral after the Palm Sunday attack in 2017. Should this be surprising?

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Sunday, Bloody Palm Sunday

Note: This is an unreleased article about the terrorist attacks on Palm Sunday 2017 in Egypt. It was meant for newspapers.

Sunday, April 9th 2017. Palm Sunday. A bomb explodes in Mar Guirguis (Saint-George in Arabic) church in Tanta, a few kilometers away from Cairo, while another terrorist blows himself up as two police officers, a male and a female, deny him entry into Saint-Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria. Same old story, business as usual, but what went on social media was a bit different. Why are these bombings somewhat usual and what is different? What are the terrorists’ motivations?

An example of images shared on social media after the attack. It reads “Do not say ‘I am a Muslim and you are a Christian’ but ‘You are my brother, my blood and my friend’ “. Unknown author

Since 2010, Islamic terrorists bomb churches during the three biggest Christian feasts in Egypt: Christmas, Palm Sunday, and the biggest one of all, Easter. Only major incidents are reported because the minor ones have become so common that they have become routine. The reasons for attacking Saint-Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria are quite clear.

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Qatar the Scapegoat

Countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar. The official reason was that this country supports terrorism. There are some who support Islamic terrorism more such as Saudi Arabia but no sanctions have been made against them. Of course, nothing was done against them because Qatar is a convenient scapegoat.

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Copts and Muslims of Egypt: What ISIS can’t Divide

On the first day of Ramadan 2017, ISIS attacked three buses carrying Coptic (native Egyptian Christians) children on a field trip to Saint-Samuel’s monastery near Minya.

ISIS killed children on a field trip. How tough and manly of you, ISIS. God is surely impressed with your devotion and bravery. Your mothers must be so proud of you. Here, you deserve a (poisoned) biscuit.

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Open letter to the people of Egypt

Note: This article was originally published on November 26th, 2012 on the blog The Lighthouse.

The people of Egypt pushed their former president, Hosni Mubarak, to resign in 2011, motivating the countries that would become part of the Arab Spring to rebel against their leaders. Egyptians hoped for a better tomorrow, but many are disappointed by the current situation and believe the revolution was in vain.  They have voiced their opinion in movements such as “Egypt isn’t a ranch” in October and by shouting slogans such as “Morsi sold the revolution to become president”. Egyptians should not give up: revolutions do not solve a country’s problems overnight.

The goals of a revolution are not reached normally after one trial. The French Revolution in 1789, whose aim was to get rid of the monarchy and implement “equality, liberty and fraternity”, did not meet its objective initially. Although the French were successful in overthrowing King Louis XVI, the revolution was followed by a constitutional monarchy that lasted a year and the monarchy was later restored after the first French Empire. Even during the French Third Republic, an era in which the monarchy was long gone, Emile Zola showed in his book Germinal the inequalities in French society and how the rich exploited the poor. He even portrayed the bourgeois as the new monarchy. The aims of the French revolution were achieved over an extended period of time, although some might even argue that they have never been fully achieved. Still, France has come a long way since the time of the monarchy. The French strived for a better tomorrow and even though they had some failures, they did not give up. Egyptians must do the same so that their aspirations can be reached.

Demoralized Egyptians tend to believe that one person alone cannot change the world. They assume one should not attempt to change things in Egypt because the only possible outcome is failure. They are only partially right: no revolution was ever accomplished by one person alone. George Washington is often thought of as the symbol of the American Revolution, but the Founding Fathers and help from the French tend to be overlooked. They all worked together and to play their respective parts in the American Revolution. One of the key elements of the success of that revolution was the cooperation between powerful and influential individuals. That is not to say that people who were not of the stature of revolutionaries like Benjamin Franklin or George Washington did not have a part to play in a revolution: all people played a part, but those with power and assets needed to lead the charge, so to speak.

If Egyptians want their economy to recover, a functional government and to restore their country’s past glory, they must be willing to see the revolution through, gather all the resources they can and not despair. Over the past 100 years, Egyptians have shown great interest in the United-States, France and England. If there is one thing they must learn from these Western countries, it is how to lead a successful revolution.


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