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OUR CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF ARMED FORCES (SCAF) رسالتنا الى المجلس الأعلى للقوات المسلحة في عيد الميلاد

January 7, 2012

Members of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, and Egyptian politicians, attending Christmas Service at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, Cairo, on 6 January 2012

You attended the Coptic Christmas celebrations at St. Mark’s Cathedral, in Cairo, last night. The majority of the Copts kept quite because they didn’t want to embarrass their much loved spiritual leadership, and because Christmas brings with it the good tidings of good will and Christian love – so all are welcome to Church, including Islamists and you.

But it must never be lost to you that the Copts hold you responsible for all the attacks on the Copts, their properties and places of worship since you seized power on 11 February 2011 – from the attack on the Coptic Church in Sol, Atfih, on 4March 2011, by the Salafists to the Maspero Massacre on 9 October 2011 by your own men. Your hands are tainted with much innocent Coptic blood. It is clear to the Copts that your attendance at the Coptic Cathedral wasn’t a reflection of any love or sincere feelings towards the Copts from you – your presence there was intended by you only as a propaganda opportunity in order to mislead the West, whose media was present, into thinking that you were tolerant to Christian Copts and that you were protective of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The clever eyes of the West, however, will not be deceived by appearances.

The Coptic nationalists shall continue to work, with other Egyptians, towards a civilian, secular and fully democratic Egypt.

That is our message to you on the day of Coptic Christmas on 7 January 2012.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. mindthehat permalink
    January 10, 2012 10:35 am

    SCAF’s first aim of delivering the country to the Islamists seems to have been achieved. I came across this article a while ago which may offer some insight about SCAF and its actions http://thinkafricapress.com/egypt/bed-brotherhood

    Most probably, SCAF’s next aim will be to have its “special role” enshrined in the Constitution. Undoubtedly, the protection of the Copts will be used as a tool!

    Poor Copts, they were {ab}used by SCAF to strengthen its relationship with all Islamic movements. Soon, SCAF will be using the Coptic card to prevent the Islamists from having absolute control.

    Who said that the victim never looks to the perpetrator for protection?

  2. Dioscorus Boles permalink
    January 10, 2012 7:00 pm

    You have touched on a very sad fact, my friend. The Copts find themselves in a very difficult position as we witness two main competing political powers emerge in Egypt: the Islamists, supported by 70% of Muslim Egyptians, and the callous military rulers who control up to 45% of Egyptian economy, and so would like to continue in power, one way or the other, to protect their privileges and vested interests. And both vie for the support of the Copts, whether at the Church or Laity level. But the Copts know, from experience, that both Islamists and military are bad; that none of them really respect the Copts or care about them. We are left, it seems, to choose in between these two, since the rest (those Muslims who are anti-military, anti-Islamist) are weak and divided, being made up of diverse groups, and having no real chance of securing the support of the majority of the Muslims in the near future. In such situation, it is natural that some Copts would go for the lesser evil, which is the military, and give them succour.

    I think this is a wrong position – the Coptic nationalists must reject both wolf and viper, and work for a civilian, secular and democratic Egypt. That is the only situation in which we can live as equal citizens protected by the law, and not live always having to beg or buy favours or tolerance from our Muslim rulers, whether civilian or military, and yet get only an insecure, subhuman life. Some may criticise our policy as being unwise since, they argue, if we don’t support the lesser evil the greater evil may triumph, rule over us and so leads to deterioration in our position. I respond in three points: first, our position has never been good, so talking about a deterioration is only relative; second, our position will continue to be bad whether under military or Islamist rule – we have experienced all; third, whether we are ruled by wolf or viper, we will win at the end no matter what: let either of them rule, the lesser or greater evil, but without our acquiescence or blessing; let them abuse us and continue to oppress and treat us as subjects undeserving of human rights or fundamental freedoms as they have always done; let them so push us to adopt a secessional option. Our immediate situation may get worse but the final outcome will undoubtedly be much better. Furthermore, our position will be noble: we will not be betraying the real democratic forces of Egypt or compromising our moral standing. And when we work for secession, none of the Muslim in Egypt will have right to accuse us of betrayal or being separatist at heart.

    I really hope that our fellow Copts will abandon putting themselves in the position of choosing between two evils, lesser and greater. Let them start working for dignified, self-respecting options: either full equality in a democratic united country or full independence in a separate state.

    At last I would like to warn against divisions within our nation. Our enemies, Islamists or military, will work to divide this nation: they will particularly bid for a split between Church and Laity. The Copts should be cleverer.

  3. mindthehat permalink
    January 11, 2012 9:31 am

    Dear Dioscorus,

    Thank you for your reply and it is always a pleasure to exchange views with you. I cannot agree more with your approach regarding the Copts’ potential future. Salama Moussa’s equation, in my view, could be the slogan of all Coptic nationalists: Full Equality or Complete Separation.

    As for the internal struggle, as long as the Church confines its jurisdiction to theological matters, the split may be avoided.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink
      January 11, 2012 11:20 am

      Agree. But let us, my friend, not forget that the Church’s interference in politics is a symptom of its oppression by the Egyptian State. The Egyptian government forces the Church to take certain political positions which are favourable to the government. This has been part of Islamic intervention in our internal affairs since the Abbasid government at the least (since Ab Ja’afar al-Mansur [754 AD – 775 AD]), and was intensified in modern age, particularly after 1952. We should be clever and avoid any confrontation with the Church.

      It must be said that as the Church has sometimes interfered in temporal issues that belong to the Laity, so the Laity have also sometimes interfered in purely ecclesiastical matters. I think this tension between Church and Laity is inevitable to some extend since the two overlap at many points. The West has managed to develop its Two-Swords Theory and found a happy balance between the Church and State (which represents our Laity in some respects). We must also find that happy balance. But we ought first develop our political philosophy and debate this matter in a rational, mature way, as I am sure you and all Coptic nationalists would like to see.

      A confrontation between the Church and Laity must be avoided by all means. That is my strong conviction as I know who will be the only winner from that – our enemies: that is the enemies of both Church and Laity, or in other words, the enemies of our nation.
      It is good to talk and explore these issues. Perhaps this topic merits a separate article with detailed reflection on all points of view.

      Regards.

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