Monday, February 28, 2011

Trouble in Egypt (for Christians)

The Assyrian International News Agency posts this story:

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured

(AINA) -- For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army's use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday's army attack.

Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising.

"When we tried to address them, the army fired live bullets, wounding Father Feltaows in the leg and Father Barnabas in the abdomen," said Monk Ava Bishoy. "Six Coptic workers in the monastery were also injured, some with serious injuries to the chest."

For the rest of this important story, click here.

Also see the interview with Pope Shenouda recently included by our friend Josephus over at Byzantine Texas.

Incidentally, AINA should be added to your regular reading (as should Byzantine Texas) for more in-depth coverage of the treatment of Christians in many places in the Middle East.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Egypt and the turning point of history.

Over the last couple of weeks we've been following the growing turmoil in Egypt. There are many questions: What is happening? Where is it all going? What does it all mean?

There is also a question about what led to its eruption.

For live coverage, Al Jazeera has an English language web cast available here.

Israel's Haaritz News service has produced a thought provoking deliberation about the place of the Egyptian revolution in the context of the broader Middle Eastern history and the decay of Western hegemony. It is available here under the title "The Arab revolution and Western decline". It is well worth a slow and careful reading.

Of great concern is the fate of Egypt's Christian community, particularly the Coptic Christian community, as events continue to unfold.

The Copts, after all, are the original indigenous population of Egypt, still remembering the old Egyptian language, and having the only other Pope historically recognized by title other than the Patriarch of Rome.

Prayers should be offered for the Egyptians and other Middle Eastern nations currently experiencing the tidal wave of change and uncertainty as events transpire.

Prayers for the non-Moslem population of the region should also be offered as the Copts and other Christians and religious minorities have much to hope for and much to fear as today drifts into a tomorrow that no human hand has yet written. For too many centuries these populations have lived the second-class citizen status that is little more than slavery by another name.

St Mark, St Cyril, St Antony and all Desert Fathers pray for us.