It has been a while since I have posted this blog but that is not because everything has been peaceful and the transition is working out in Egypt. I have been working on other things and truthfully trying to ignore the dire situation there. Every day there has been one incident after another with a few occasional ones that turn ugly and get the world’s attention. As I mentioned in my previous blogs everyone thought that this would be the best thing in the world for them, that with this revolution Christians would get their rights, and democracy will lead to a better future for the Middle East. But as I said from the beginning, it is everything but good.
This is not the first incident in which a church has been burned down, another one was burned down in February and the military took responsibility for it and rebuilt it, good one would think, right? No, this past weekend the new radical Islamists, the Salafists who are moving rapidly throughout the country are trying to create a full Islamic state and get rid of the Christians altogether. They have burned another church down after a failed attempt and scuffle at a different one down the street. They are an increasingly violent and oppressive group and the military council is struggling in trying to control them. Last week they protested outside the church’s headquarters in Alexandria threatening to kill the pope and destroy the Christians in Egypt. Day by day the situation has deteriorated not just because of incidents like this, but because of events in daily life where Christians cannot even walk around in the streets anymore to buy food, go to work, or even sit in the balcony without being hassled, beaten, or forced to give money as some kind of payment for living in the country.
What makes this situation worse is the lack of coverage from all news networks here at home with the exception of the two minute breaking news skit that CNN had. These people are dying overseas trying to get the basic rights we have and yet we don’t pay attention to them. It is surprising how the government hasn’t acted yet as Egypt is the largest recipient of aid from the United States and a major ally in the Middle East. Who knows maybe the oil excuse is valid in terms of foreign policy as we pay more attention to Libya then our most important Middle Eastern ally who are on the brink of civil war. Not to mention the hundreds of people that are being killed and wounded and in desperate need for outside help or at least an attempt from a major international country to show support for their cause.
I will not lie and say that I have questioned God’s reasoning behind all of this. I have asked why the Lord has allowed such bloodshed and terror to occur at his home and to his people. It amazes me how much pain and suffering has occurred and yet people are still strong and even more determined to get the fundamental rights that they deserve, even with these cowards hovering in the streets in an attempt to scare them away. Even though sometimes these thoughts still come to me and in a way I wonder if the Lord does hear us, the answer to my question came to me the other day in an email.
The first church that was burned down was the church of St. George the Trophy-bearer in Giza, as I mentioned earlier that is the one army rebuilt. After it was rebuilt and thank God better than before, four guards (which is significantly greater than at any other churches, as I am witness from my visit there) were assigned to guard the church at night. They sent a report to their superiors asking to be reassigned because they were hearing weird noises like footsteps, specifically horse footsteps running throughout the church. A general was sent to investigate the issue and sent a report back to the council saying how he spent three nights with the guards and every night when the sound would start they would run into the church immediately to see what was happening. They reported that when they would go in, the would find a man with a white horse in old military attire staring at them and then would ride around the church and them in circles all night. Yes, St. George would appear to them and showed them how he was protecting his church, not them. As you can imagine the officers were moved immediately in order to calm the situation down as word spread. For those of you who don’t know who St. George is, and mind you the guards didn’t know as it isn’t their religion, St. George was a Roman solider who served under Diocletian and was regarded as his best solider. When the emperor declared that all Christians will be killed, George revealed himself to be one and even though Diocletian tried to convert him he stayed strong in the faith and in result he suffered tremendously before being martyred.
The question that goes in and out of my mind constantly is how much longer will this go on? How much more can we take before everything goes completely downhill? As I am just a witness and victim to what is happening there, I can only assume, there isn’t much time left. The next incident and I pray that there won’t be one, will be the last before total civil war breaks out. Preliminary reports indicate that the Military Council has taken heed to this and have made some arrests and are thinking of changing the rules on building churches. However, actions speak louder than words and with every second that passes by tensions are rising and the situation becomes even more unstable. I personally wish I could go there, yes I know it is crazy but I want to see what is going on, I want to feel their pain and try to do whatever I can to help. Even though I have family over there, I see the difference in their pain versus mine, it is incomparable. Mind you I’m sure they are hiding things from me that I cannot even find out about online. So hopefully this will give you another insight to the continuing situation in Egypt and give you another reason to thank God for the blessings we have here at home. I will continue to keep you all posted and as always, “Rabina Mawgud” or “God is with us”.