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May 5, 2020


The greatest goal of Coptic nationalism – and it should be the greatest goal of ALL Copts if they are equipped with a sound mind and care about their nation and Church – is to achieve the maximum possible independence/autonomy for the Copts within the Egyptian state.

We do not advocate for full independence as in a separate state, but that has always to be an option if things got tough. We reached a situation like that at some stage when the Muslim Brotherhood achieved political power in Egypt and threatened the existence of the Copts or what is left for them in terms of autonomy. But that option is not active now, though it may come back to life if our plight became intolerable. There is nothing to be horrified by what I have just written: all nations must have the option of secession on the table if oppression becomes unbearable. Hope this paragraph will put minds at ease, though I think ease of minds is not always possible to some.

What solutions do the Coptic nationalists have to their present dilemma of finding their autonomy increasingly being encroached on by the Muslim and Arab dominated Egyptian state, particularly under a dictatorial rule? We presented the following:

  1. Democratisation of Egypt under civilian rule, and replacement of the military dictatorship by consociational democracy. It is not always possible to explain the term ‘consociational democracy’ at any occasion it is mentioned, so I advise my readers to read about it in order to understand what I mean in this website and also in other sources.
  2. A Coptic cultural (non-territorial) autonomy for the Copts in Egypt. Again, I advise my readers to search for this term in my website and elsewhere.

These two tools, if realised, and there is much hope that they will sooner or later, in ten years or longer, are sufficient to provide the Copts with a large degree of autonomy to govern their cultural affairs and also to all the Copts to share in the political running of the state.

But we know that is not enough. There will always be the prospect of intervention and oppression even with these measures in place. The Copts must continue to think of ingenious ways to maximise their autonomy within the Egyptian state.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. A Free Soul permalink
    May 5, 2020 1:49 pm

    I don’t think that this could work in a country like Egypt, in Lebanon it may have worked, but we still see its ugly face in the rise of oligarchs, who get their legitimacy just for being a part of a certain community, this isn’t even democracy in my opinion, it is still a weak useless type of representative democracy, which wouldn’t function unless you have almost equal balance of power in institutions, which is impossible to achieve in a country where you have everything in the hand of one nation, and then using them against the rest, I suggest totally dismantling the current regime of the military oligarchy, and then putting in its place a system of direct democracy with cultural and territorial autonomy as its base, the Nubians get their territorial autonomy within a decentralized Egyptian state, and the Copts get their cultural autonomy outside of the church, a fully 100 % secular constitution is in order, and the dismantling of any nonsense regarding the role of the Sharia law in the law making process, Al-azhar shouldn’t be a university teaching any science or lierature, and should only regain its primary role, with no help from the state, with tight control regarding its resources, and all religious institutions should pay taxes to the state, a true democracy is the direct one, and without it we will create even more tyrants, in the name of national security and the “true Islamic faith” whatever that means, you can gain your freedom only when others gain it as well, otherwise you are just blowing against the wind.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 5, 2020 6:49 pm

      Thank you, my friend.

      The example of Lebanon is always cited as a case for consociationalism not working well. But I have two observations on that:
      1. Despite the problems of Lebanon, its consociationalism is working better than any system in modern Egypt: the Maronites have much say and a great share in the state and government

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 5, 2020 6:59 pm

      Thank you, my friend.
      The example of Lebanon is always cited as a case for consociationalism not working well. But I have two observations on that:

      1. Despite the problems of Lebanon, its consociationalism is working better than any system in modern Egypt: the Maronites have much political power and a great share in the state and government and more importantly are able to protect and promote their culture without hindrance or intervention from the Sunnis or Shiites of Lebanon. The Maronite cultural autonomy is greater than any autonomy the Copts have ever enjoyed.

      2. While we agree that Lebanon’s political system is strained – and it’s strained for reasons outside the sharing of power agreement – there are many other successful Consociational democratic systems in the world that we tend to ignore: e.g. Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, Ethiopia and South Africa. In Czechoslovakia in between the two war it worked very well; and also in Cyprus between 1960 and 1963 until it was destroyed by the Turkish minority dependent on Turkey. Northern Ireland ended it’s civil war following an agreement based on consociationalism that gave each faction their due share of power. Austria and the Netherlands tried it at certain points of their history.

      I agree it is going to be difficult because of the autocratic nature of the Egyptian state, but this can change. It did change in 2011 though the democracy that ensued was aborted by and because of the Muslim Brotherhood.

      We must continue the struggle and not be deterred by how hard it is.


  2. Daniel Myerson permalink
    May 5, 2020 5:59 pm

    You advocate for a separate nation for the Copts if “things become intolerable” as they were under Morso. But why then will the Coptic establishment have no UNDERSTANDING OR FEELING FOR the plight of the Jews for whom things became intolerable not only in Egypt and Germany, but in nation after nation over the years? Why cancel a visit with Pence because the Jews, a Biblical people, returned home to THEIR Jerusalem after 2,000 years? Does the Coptic establishment think that by currying favor with the Palestinians, they will win a “pardon” or mercy from their tormentors? Ha! Remember the line of the prophet Isaiah:
    If God is for us, who can be against us? Too many Copts hate the Jews in solidarity with
    the Brotherhood… too many… it is very sad… Sign me: A LOVER OF THE COPT NATION

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 5, 2020 6:25 pm

      Dear Daniel, I don’t agree with you that the Copts hate the Jews. They may have political opinion about something but that must not be translated into hatred. The Copts in the modern age, a nation deprived of political power and oppressed by the Arab and Muslim state, cannot be free in expressing their political opinion about the politics of the Middle East and the rest of the world. They largely followed a very cautious course in all their dealings.

      Some of the Copts did die in the wars with Israel, and this understandably created bad feelings. I have no illusion that some Jews were killed by bullets proceeding from arms held by Copts in these wars, and the Israelis understandably also feel bad about it. Some of the wars with Israel are clearly aggression by Israel against Egypt and some are also evidently aggressive wars by Egypt against Israel. The Arab nationalists placed us in this situation which we had no say in. I do not want to get into details of which wars were an Egyptian aggression towards Israel and which wars were Israeli aggression towards Egypt. We better forget that, particularly when we discuss Coptic matters.

      You criticise the Copts who are a weak and oppressed nation that does not control its political decisions or have free expression of opinion, but you rarely criticise Israeli positions. For instance, Israeli did not show any concerns for the plight of the Copts, even when the Muslim Brotherhood was tightening its grip on Egypt, and went to glorify President Morsi when he made an agreement with Hamas to control the borders, thereby offering greater security to Israel, and Israel’s foreign minister at the time went out of his way to hail Morsi as a “statesman”, ignoring what the Copts thought of him. There is no doubt that the Israeli government then was in agreement with the Obama administration in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s so-called democracy.

      Again, you criticise the Copts harshly despite their weakness and vulnerability but what about Israel when it comes to the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Turks? Why can’t Israel, a sovereign state and possessive of military and diplomatic power, recognise it? One would expect Israel to be the first to recognise the Armenian genocide because of its own experience of the Holocaust under the Germans. I say that because political convenience not principles sometimes dictates our behaviour.

      With kind regards.


  3. A Free Soul permalink
    May 6, 2020 11:27 am

    well, I think you have raised some good points there, regarding the Swiss democracy and Belgian, but they are still somehow homogeneous and part of a larger culture called the European culture, so no problems should arise there regarding sharing powers, no oppressed and no oppressor there, but look at the countries where you have this system, Israel is by no mean a state that respects its minorities like one would imagine of a Western like state, Lebanon isn’t going to get anywhere with this system on the long run and sooner or later it will collapse, so I can’t agree that we need to have a similar example like the Maronites, but sure we should keep fighting for this autonomy, a strong authoritarian state ruled and ran by army men is going to be always an obstacle to this true autonomy, they are exactly the same like their Muslim Brotherhood counterparts, both parties never believed in democracy, and only used it as a mean to an end, crushing the people in the meantime.
    And I do agree with Daniel Myerson on some points at least, some Copts do believe the official narrative of the great conspiracy theory orchestrated by Israel and its allies in the West, which is utter rubbish, and only an old lie still used to keep the population in check, they even go as far as justifying the ceding of Tiran and Sanafir to the Saudis as a master plan to stop the Israeli expansion, if they ever thought of re-attacking Sinai, which is already ridiculous, and yet they believe all this, with of course total absence of alternative media sources, the government controls all the media in Egypt, and any opposition or any thought that might show dissent, is crushed very hard, and disregarded as animosity to the state.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      May 6, 2020 11:30 am

      I take your point about the different situation in Egypt but with internal and international pressure all things as possible. Time is always on our side.

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