There has been at least 12 dead people and two churches burned in clashes between egyptian christian, muslims and military who apparently shoot against the christian protestors after the fight. There is a christian minority in Egypt, the Copts, about 15% of the population in 2009 by accounts of the Catholic Church,, and 10% now by a report of the New York Times about the recent incidents . In times of Mubarak as president it was a minority repressed and by many ways, under represented in the political institutions and with many difficulties to have places of worship and to have access to education. Now things are not different. the rumor of a young woman christian or muslim raped or kidnaped or forced to marry a man from the other religion, true or false is many times the beginning of the first sparkle that ends usually in a church burned and people dead. This happened before and nobody knew. Now it’s news because there is no more an umbrella of International (western) protection over the military regime, or if it remains, it’s weak, and uncertain.
So, what is telling us all this?
First, that the minorities in Egypt, and in this case the christian copts, are still in a very dangerous situation, as it happens with christians in the Middle East (call it Iraq, Iran, the Arab Peninsula, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian Territories, and so many other places).
Second, that it’s kind of strange why an attack to a shrine of other religions is big news and this burned churches, one of them with an burned body inside, has make news because is in the middle of a so called “pacific” and popular revolution against dictators in the muslim world.
Third, that the revolution in Egypt is not yet a revolution done, is not over, and has not changed so much the situation of the country because the key issue: the military is still in power but without doing too much to govern the country. The images of Al Jazzera in the video at the top of this post, are pristine clare. Men in uniform looking fights and looking to the other side if thew are close, shooting if they are safe.
As I see the Egypt situation in my humble opinion: they had a military president, Anuar El Sadat, supported by the military chiefs , who was killed in the middle of a military parade by a soldier, an then another military president, Hossni Mubarak, sustained also by the military chiefs, who was in power for decades thanks to a exception law that suppressed civil liberties. And now, after the popular demonstrations, he is gone, and the power is in hands, once again, of the military chiefs who, I think somehow opportunistically, have take “the side of the people”, just in case, maybe to gain time, maybe to make changes?. Let’s hope
So, what changed? Names.
The military chiefs remains, only it seems that they can’t decided now what to do, and in the meantime, insecurity is growing. And they have a big problem in their hands. If they call elections soon, there will be no too much people who made the revolution on the streets to organize themselves, for the benefit of the people who where in the exile (not very popular between the ones who were in the opposition on site) or groups like the muslim brotherhood, who had an infrastructure and organization already at work. And in the meantime, there is no clear government, no clear power, and with that a danger to derive to chaos or to prompt another military regime with a new name on the top and no actual changes.
If the future doesn’t bring another dictator or another exception law or another International or strategical umbrella, maybe we will know by the news the actual problems of Egypt, that big, great beautiful and historic Country so valuable and important for al of us, christian, muslims, people of whatever believing, artists, historians, human beings from all around the world.