Voice of the Copts has announced a demonstration to be held in front of the White House on the occasion of Egyptian President Mubarak’s visit to the U.S. on August 18th – next Tuesday.
Voice of the Copts describes their mission:
Our goal is to report news of discrimination and oppression of religious minorities in every corner of our planet. A special attention will be given to those taking place in countries ruled by the Arabs, as well as providing an in-depth explanation of their mentality, behaviour and their way of living.
Since we are Copts, events of interest to the Copts concerning issues in their homeland, Egypt, will be covered, Our website would be an open window on the Coptic culture, as well as a comprehensive source of information on the Copts’ suffering in their own land.
The Copts are an ancient people. In fact, the name in Arabic means “Egyptian”, or at least it did. The fact that they survive at all after a millennium of slaughter and persecution is testimony to the strength and determination of this people. Despite the ongoing, endless inequity they experience in their native land, they have managed to maintain a precarious existence in the face of hatred and mindless attacks.
Consider the Copts a safety valve the Arab usurpers use to keep their own people in line. The latter have to queue up for necessities like bread, even though their government receives large subsidies from the West. When government is as corrupt as it is in Egypt, people suffer hardships. Thus, the Copts are a handy distraction to keep the attention of the larger population focused on something besides Mubarak’s feckless governance.
Many people are not aware of the flowering of Christianity very early on in Egypt. By the second century it had begun to spread through the region. The apostle Mark is credited with mission work in Alexandria, and it wasn’t long before Anthony (born c. 270 A.D.), founded the cenobitic monasticism movement in Egypt. Pachomius learned from Anthony, though he was more interested in an eremitic, communal monasticism. Centuries before Benedict founded monasteries in the West, Christian monastic communities were flourishing all over North Africa and the Middle East.
After the invasions of the Muslims and the beginnings of serious slaughter, any discernible level of North African Christianity disappeared. But this didn’t happen in Egypt. North African Christians (Bishop Augustine of Hippo was one) belonged to the urban areas and to the educated elite, who were Romanized. None of those Christian leaders envisioned their theology or ecclesiology as something that belonged to the rural areas. To the extent that they “evangelized” the message was directed to urban populations.
Coptic Christianity, in contrast, went all the way to the bone. There were churches in even the smallest villages and the numerous monasteries were centers of learning, not just of Greek scripture, but also of an indigenous Coptic language collection of scripture, sermons, and hermeneutic theses. These codices and scrolls were revered by those charged with their keeping. Eventually, the murdering hordes would attack and destroy the great majority of these works, but it would take many centuries to penetrate from the cities into the hinterlands of Egypt.
The invaders found the native Copts useful. They were intelligent and literate so the Copts established a precarious niche as the clerical staff for their unschooled rulers. This didn’t mean the persecutions ceased. Rather, it guaranteed that the Copts would be harassed, intimidated, killed or kidnapped here and there when the occasion presented itself, but there would be no outright Final Solution. The Copts were always too useful to dispose of entirely.
[Here are the other sections of this story: Part Two and Part Three]
Thus these dhimmis have eked out a living as a subjugated people forced to prop up a repressive, corrupt state. During the latest government outrage, however, the Copts in Cairo who collect the garbage (the Zabaleens) were dealt a severe blow by the government when it swept in and destroyed all their pigs. The public excuse was fear of the swine flu, though even the most ignorant of these persecutors knew that pigs are not a vector for this epidemic. It was just another excuse to demoralize Christian dhimmis further, in this case the Zabaleen Copts, the poorest of them all.
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The way the system worked is that the Zabaleen collected Cairo’s trash and garbage. They sorted it, sold what they could, and (in theory) put the refuse in a landfill. Any organic materials were fed to the Zabaleen swine herds and these pigs were in turn sold to more well-to-do Copts for food. The Zabaleen couldn’t actually afford to eat what they sold to wealthier Copts.
When Mubarak had the army swoop down and destroy the swine herds (warning: graphic description), the Zabaleen no longer had fattened pigs to sell to the wealthy. Now their herds are gone and the garbage is rotting. A substantial part of the Zabaleens’ income was simply wiped out without recompense; the rotting garbage will keep piling up.
After doing some research, it’s still not clear if the Zabaleen will continue to collect the food waste since they have no way to recycle it now. The Egyptian government may have shot itself in the foot. They weren’t paying the Zabaleen anything to take care of Cairo’s garbage and they acted stupidly, throwing a spanner into the works by removing the pigs. This was more than harassment; it was a flashy demonstration to the Muslim population that the Zabaleens could be safely persecuted without recourse. No one seems to have thought through the ramifications of this latest flashy display of power.
The American government has enough leverage with Egypt via its welfare payments to push for some lessening of the persecution of the Copts. The government could demand some changes that would ease the burdens that Copts currently face in Egypt. However, our State Department is inured to others’ suffering so it will have to be citizen activism that gets the ball rolling.
The Copts know this. That is why three groups of exiles with differing philosophies have banded together to fight for this larger issue. They are the force behind the planned demonstration on Tuesday, August 18th. Here is what the exiles are fighting for, and they are asking other Americans, particularly Christians, to join them:
The objective of our peaceful demonstration is to protest and expose to the world the unprovoked, continuous and escalating criminal acts against the defenseless and peaceful Copts in Egypt, their families, their homes, their property and the defaming of their Christian religion by the Islamic extremists, encouraged by the policy adopted by the Egyptian regime.
The list of human rights violations against the Christian Copts is too long, as long as the 1,429 years of suffering, discrimination and oppression we have experienced since the Islamic invasion of Coptic Egypt.
- We want to reiterate our rightful demands to President Mubarak and his Regime.
- We seek the deletion of Islamic Laws from the Egyptian Constitution.
- The return of all abducted Coptic women to their families immediately.
- We want equal rights for the over than 15,000,000 Copts in their own homeland, Egypt.
- We want protection of life and property for the Copts.
- We want freedom of faith.
- We want laws to be passed which guarantees freedom to build our places of worship equal to the rights of Muslims without having to beg for a permission every time renovations even to a Church’s lavatory is required.
- We want the Coptic file taken away from the hands of the radical Islamist State Security.
- We want a just and fair representation to the over than 15,000,000 Copts in public life, and their rights to organize themselves in civil, non-religious organizations.
- We want the immediate release of our innocent Coptic priest Father Metaos. The return of all exiled Coptic spiritual leaders such as, Bishops Amonious of Luxor, Taklah of Isna, Mitias of Al Mahalah, and all others to their followers and parishioners.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
- We say no more to attacks on our churches and monasteries without any protection from the authorities.
- We say no more to Muslims killing Copts without being convicted, following Shari a law of the non-conviction of any Muslim for a crime committed against a Christian. Coptic blood is equal to Muslim blood.
- We say no more to the regime’s plan of systematic abduction, rape and forced Islamization of Coptic teenage girls, in conspiracy with the extremists and the security forces.
- We say no more to the enforced Islamization of Christians in Egypt. Even our monks have been subjected to torture to renounce their faith.
- We say no more to the marginalization of Copts.
- We say no to the government’s plan for the Islamization of Egypt.
- We say no to the government’s plan to eradicate the Coptic Identity.
- We say no to any disrespect to our Christian faith.
We appeal to President Obama to stand by his election promises concerning countries which do not respect human rights and freedom of religion.
Let us together send a strong message to Mr. Mubarak and his regime that such policies will not be tolerated by the free and civilized world. We ask you as a believer in freedom and human rights to help us defend the rights of the Copts in Egypt, for freedom and security.
Support us to obtain justice and stop the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Copts.
For any information please contact us on the following e-mail address:
The information in the flyer contains the following signature:
Dottore Architetto Ashraf Ramelah, President
And it has these directions:
On Tuesday August 18, 2009 we will gather at 9:00AM at Pennsylvania and 17th Street in Washington, DC. From there we will move towards the White House.
They are praying that those of you who live or work near enough to this demonstration lend your support to their pleas to the President.