THE CAUSES AND RESULTS OF THE LAST BASHMURIC REVOLT (831-832 AD) ACCORDING TO THE COPTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
The Coptic Encyclopedia, as in the article of Mounir Megally “Bashmuric Revolts”, gives an analysis of the causes of the failure of the last great Coptic Bashmuric Revolt (831-832 AD), and then talks about its devastating results on the Copts. I simply copy the last part of Mounir Megally in the Coptic Encyclopedia here without comment. This should provide a starting point for later discussions. Here it is as we zoom into Megally’s article:
The temporary success of this rebellion did not achieve any amelioration of the conditions that had made the Bashmurites revolt. Some of them were deported to Iraq; others were sent to Syria and were sold as slaves in Damascus. The army destroyed and burned the entire area to wipe out all possibility of further revolts.
Thus ended the last revolt of the Copts in Egypt. Without any real political plan or any national leadership, without any organized armed force, and in the face of a strong, experienced army, these spasmodic revolts were an indication of desperate courage. Not only did they achieve nothing but they drained the force and pride of the Copts. Nonetheless, these revolts are important for Coptic history, as they shed light on the character of the Coptic masses.
Megally attributes the failure of the last Coptic revolt to:
- Absence of a real political plan;
- Absence of a national leadership;
- Absence of an organized Coptic armed force.
With these weaknesses, the Copts were not able to defeat for long the strong, experienced army of the oppressor Abbasids.
While Megally’s analysis of the outcome of the Coptoic revolution is overall accurate, his conclusion that “Not only did they (the Bashmurites) achieve nothing but they drained the force and pride of the Copts”, in my view, is unfair. But, as I said, the time to discuss the causes and outcomes of the failure of the Bashmuric revolts in depth will come later. Suffice it to say here that the revolts of the Bashmurites were driven by what no human being could possibly tolerate; and even though they ended in defeat, they are a source of great pride to the Copts. The Bashmurites might have started their revolts without much thinking, without much preparation, and without having a good chance of success against a cruel, inhumane empire that squeezed the last drop out of them, and would not hesitate to exterminate them; but, they cannot be blamed for their failures as much as we, as a nation, Church and Laity, could. In the hour of their need we abandoned them. Rather than blame the brave Bashmurites, we ought to shed tears on their unimaginable suffering and get engaged in an exercise of self-criticism about our national failure to ward off the evil of the Ishmaelites right at its beginning when it descended on our north-eastern border in the seventh century to occupy our country, oppress our people and persecute our Church.