One of my best friends is Egyptian (his parents and older sister were born there but they moved to the US just before he was born). I called him last night to see if he’d heard anything from his extended family.

To complicate matters, his family are Copts. Needless to say, they don’t like Mulsims and they expect the worst from – even a moderate – Islamic government.

At this point, it sounds like his extended family is fine. However, it also sounds like they’re preparing to be slaughtered (and to flee or fight back) if a Muslim government takes over.

Think of them, dear reader, next time you hear someone gushing about the beauty of free expression in Egypt. They will be on the receiving end when "the Egyptian people" are allowed to express themselves.

15 Responses to Copts

  1. Obsidian says:

    I wrote the following, just a few minutes ago, over at Dr. Stuart Schneiderman’s blog:

    “Hi Doc,
    I am sure you recall the election of Hamas by the Palestinian people, and how the then-GWB-led US gov’t and Israel reacted to it. In my view, they both undermined their own claims toward upholding democratic ideals. No wonder so many in that area of the world call us hypocrites.

    And I think the same thing may happen again in Egypt. Let’s assume that the Muslim Brotherhood is indeed all the bad things said about it – don’t the Egyptian people have the right to choose for themselves, who should govern them – whether we like it, or not? OK, so Egypt may very well become an Islamist state – fine. That is the will of the People of Egypt, and we ought to respect that. Mind you, that doesn’t mean we have to like it or endorse it – I am quite sure there were many people around the world who disagreed with GWB being elected and then reelected into office – but no one suggested bringing sanctions against us and the like, like we and Israel did against the Palestinian people for voting in Hamas.

    And afterall, look at Lebanon – they have a sizable presence in their elected gov’t by Hezbollah, and they haven’t gone to hell in a handbasket necessarily. Again, I’m not endorsing Hezbollah, just making the case that if we’re going to be the standard bearers and apostles for Democracy, then we have to actually mean it, by supporting the right of any people, to decide for themselves who will lead them.

    I’m just sayin. If I’m wrong on this, please point it out to me?


    As an African American, I can most certainly relate to what the Coptic Christian friend of yours has said. Yet we as a nation are proof that we could use democratic means, for the most part, to iron issues out, and that included how to deal with minority groups. Nor are we alone as a nation in this regard and yes, that includes even Islamic ones. Turkey, for example, as long had a Jewish presence in its country, and until very recently had a very friendly relationship with Israel. Nigeria, which is roughly equal parts Christian and Muslim, has enjoyed a smooth transition of power from a Muslim president to a Christian one, and vice versa for several election cycles now as I recall. There are other examples of tolerance and commitment to democratic principles in Islamic countries. It can be done.

    Your turn.


  2. Handle says:

    The Moldbug’s recent link sent me over here, and what good fortune it was. I immediately read through dozens of your posts and it’s as if I’ve found a lost twin brother and fellow soul. Hope lives again.

    I’m in government as well, for many of the same reasons you well described, though it’s military and makes some difference (though less and less).

    I now work in legal, where it makes even less difference. I can tell you that this isn’t even the start of the sad story. Alas, there will be no fix.

    As for Egypt, a relative was born in Cairo to a reasonably prosperous Jewish family soon after WWII. This person remembers childhood fondly and speaks often of the greatness of “Old Egypt” as being quite the Liberal, Modern, Strongly Europeanized, and Cosmopolitan paradise. A place tolerant of innumerable intersections of art, commerce, ideas, culture, and even those from different ethnic and religious background.

    And then came the war with Israel, and then the Free Officers movement, and then their coup and revolution against “Great King Ali”, and then the die was cast. The family stayed during Naguib’s reign as President, but when Nasser forced him out things began to deteriorate quickly, especially for European Christians and most especially for the formerly tolerated Jews. By the time of the Suez crisis, the writing was on the wall, and 15-year old rural rabble revolutionary conscripts were told they could steal what they wanted, rape who they wanted, and burn down their houses and farms and occupy and seize their lands. That should sound like a familiar pattern to us 21st century folk.

    Leniency was being allowed to live and flee with only the shirt on your back to one of the few European countries chartering boat-lifts to save the lives of those in the forced exodus. My relative was a young child at the time, and the experience has never worn off.

    And things are so much worse there now than they were in 1956.

  3. Genius says:

    What nobody ever says and what most Americans would be very surprised to learn is that the Copts aren’t just a religious minority. They are the real, authentic Egyptians whose continuity as a people in Egypt is totally unbroken, even as their ancient language and religion were lost. The Muslim colonization of Egypt and incorporation into a large Arab empire has only reached a culmination in the past generation; before that time, everyone knew that Copts were Egyptians and Arabs were Arabs. I warmly recommend Bat Yeor’s book The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, which deals at length with the Copts. Mordechai Nisan also has a nice chapter on the Copts in his book Minorities in the Middle East.

    Bat Yeor herself is from Egypt, though she doesn’t live there any more because she’s Jewish. The Jews were also an ancient community in Egypt; notwithstanding the biblical account in Exodus, the early Jewish settlements in that country were probably founded on the order of ~3000 years ago, and their continuity was also maintained (with a lot of in-migration) until the late 20th century. An interesting personal account to read about the decline of Jewish life in Egypt is Andre Aciman’s memoir Out of Egypt.

    There is every reason to believe that the Copts will experience in the next generation what the Jews experienced in 1948 through the 1960s.

    Also, I assume that a black American who comments in favor of Arab/Islamic democracy knows that Arab Muslims are absolutely the most viscerally racist people on earth against black people. Calling blacks “dogs,” “slaves” and other terrible things is totally normal among Arabs (you should hear how they describe the Ethiopian-Israelis who have the misfortune of being both black and Jewish!) and it’s only very recently that black slavery has pretty much ended in the Arab world. I predict that a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt will help the north Sudanese Muslims make a war of conquest against the south Sudanese within five to ten years and that at least 50,000 black Africans will die unnecessarily.

  4. PRCalDude says:

    Obsidian is an idiot and a troll. I wouldn’t take him seriously.

  5. Darrell says:

    Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor) was the Coptic Orthodox Abbot of the St. Macarius Monastery in the Egyptian Dessert.

    In his book the Titles of Christ, Father El-Meskeen writes the reasons for Christ’s silence “before Pilate in response to the main questions concerning the accusations”. His discussion is in the chapter titled: The ransom and the expiation.

    In today’s Egypt is silence the proper response to the evil that is trying to engulf Egypt? After all it was Christ’s silence that led millions and millions of people to confess their sins, repent of their sins, and seek God so that their hearts can be Holy.

    We do not know the core beliefs of the Muslin Brotherhood, but they seem to be the group that is in control of the streets and they seem to have a well organized secret structure that will be able to take a leadership role in any transition government.

    Already they operate an underground parallel government that provides services that are vastly more efficient than the same government services.

    As to the Israel question I would recommend that readers read the fall 2010 (#43) issue of Road to Emmaus has an interview with Dr. Maria C. Khoury, a Palestinian Christian. The title of the article is: Tayhen’s plea for the last Christians of the Holy Land.

    The article descriptions is: Dr. Maria C. Khoury, Orthodox teacher, peacemaker and Palestinian resident gives a compelling look at the dire situation of Christians in the Holy Land, and what Bethlehem, Taybeh, and other Palestinian villages are doing to survive.

    Road to Emmaus web site is:

    An excerpt from the interview:

    RTE: Just a moment. You are in the desert and you have no water for four days out of seven?

    Dr. Khoury: Yes. Another huge problem is the deliberate ecological devastation of Palestine by the Israeli army. Since 1967, over a million trees have been uprooted in Palestine by the Israeli army; half of that number were destroyed in the last decade on private Palestinian land. Most of these were olive trees and many of our families depended on the olives for a livelihood, as there is very little work. This systematic uprooting by the army not only destroyed theses families’ livelihoods, but has drastically hurt nature in an already vulnerable region. The Israeli settlers burned twenty-five of our own Khoury family olive trees in 2002 and when they destroyed 125 olive trees on Taybeh land. These olive trees were 500, 600, and 700 years old. It’s a tragedy for both the people and the earth.

    The interview takes up over twenty pages of discussion and explains why peace is such a difficult road to travel.

  6. Genius says:

    Here we go, it’s the beginning of the end for the Copts in Egypt. Whoever is happy about democracy in Egypt is on the side of the mob that murders families in their homes.

  7. Tschafer says:

    “In today’s Egypt is silence the proper response to the evil that is trying to engulf Egypt?”

    No, it is not. Christ’s Sacrifice was redemptive, not a political act. As Christians, we are obligated to speak out against injustice. And as for anything that the Israelis have done to Palestinian Christians, am I to understand that we are to keep silent about Islamic abuses of Christians, but speak out against Israeli abuses? Why precisely?

    “We do not know the core beliefs of the Muslin Brotherhood,”

    Why not? They have stated them over and over again.Anyone who does not know what they are doesn’t want to know. One might ask why…

  8. […] occasioned further reflection on the country’s “lost splendor.” Handle writes at Foseti’s (3 Feb. […]

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