[Until Victory, #3, Page 3]
The Fires of Sectarianism Beset the Revolution
So Let Us Struggle For a Society Without Discrimination
Once again, Egypt is witnessing a crime of violence against the Copts, against the background of a rumor—uncomfirmed—of a church’s detention of a Christian woman who had converted to Islam.
And thus the picture of political unity and cohesion on the part of Egyptians of different backgrounds and beliefs against oppression and injustice that was shown during the eighteen days that preceded Mubarak’s deposition recedes, to be replaced by a different, ugly picture of sectarian fires, literally burning the Church of the Virgin in the Imbaba neighborhood, and about to devour the Mar Mina Church in flagrant violation of the sanctity of houses of worship. And injustice unmistakable to the eyes of Egyptian Christians. The revolutionary forces that sought to eliminate corrupt and totalitarian one-party rule—by a single individual in a police state, even—today face the reactionary beast that was set loose during the period of the referendum. This vote encouraged many to resort to sectarian mobilization and hate speech against Egyptian Copts in broad daylight, from many minbars and mosques, and on banners hung in the streets in full view of everyone, without the slightest interference or even reservation from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which issued statements threatening Egypt’s workers and its hard-working employees because of their demands for the most simple rights for a decent life in which the most minimal human needs are met.
What came to pass in Egypt after the revolution in terms of inflamed sectarian conflict cannot be viewed in isolation from the desperate attempts of the counter-revolution to intimidate the people and place them between two choices, the sweetest of which is bitter: either accept oppression, theft, torture, and exploitation, or accept chaos, violence, and sectarian conflict. And in this situation, it is necessary to firmly address all the forces of counter-revolution that have doubtless played an essential role in using the most recent event to incite violence against the Copts. But it is not possible to address this danger through more repression. This confrontation requires adherence to the values of justice and transparency, as far removed as possible from the military and exceptional trials that disregard the rights of the accused by interfering with witnesses and the provision of defense. Likewise, this danger will not be confronted by traditional reconciliation councils that force Coptic victims to renounce their rights and deprive the public of an understanding of incidents’ circumstances, counting on a bright future that never comes.
The appearance of those who instigated and executed the incidents of Imbaba and other sectarian crimes before an independent just judiciary, impartial and transparent, would confine and limit the Salafi and religious forces—whether organizations or shaykhs—that toy with the crises of poor Muslims and describe to them that the cause of their misery is another segment of the proletariat, the Copts. As though the poverty in the slums, displacement from the factories, torture in the prisons, the invalidation of the citizen’s dignity in the street, unemployment, and poverty ever discriminated between Muslim and Christian or between woman and man.
The success of the great Egyptian people’s revolution continues to depend on the realization of complete equality between the Copts of Egypt and its Muslims, in employment, building houses of worship, and all aspects of life. This success will not be realized other than through shared struggle on the part of Egyptians, Muslim and Christian, against all those who want to preserve the old regime and all the discrimination, tyranny, and exploitation that came along with it.
Say it loudly, O Son of the Nile … The Qur’an alongside the Bible
(one of the chants from Tahrir Square)
Acquired end of May, 2011
Translated by Alex Winder
Translation reviewed by Emily Drumsta