مصر ليست وطنا نعيش به و لكنها وطن يعيش فينا
But rather, a home that lives within us.
That's what the title of the post means in English for those who can't read Arabic. They are also the words made immortal by our shepherd Pope Shenouda the third. As a matter of fact I used to think that it was the pope himself who said that, because I so often heard him saying it growing up in Shoubra. (Forgive me but I don't remember who originally uttered these words. I just remember it was a prominent Coptic personality)
That's how we feel about Egypt Mohammed. We, the Copts have a part of Egypt in our hearts no matter where we go. Whether we live in Egypt or abroad. Whether we are young or old, teachers, builders, mothers, children, doctors, engineers, labourers, you name it. It is undeniable and you can see it in a Copt's face.
It is true I've lived here in Australia for many years, and I love this great country too and feel loyalty and respect to my new home. But the love I have for my old home is always there.
I take offence to your implication we don't understand or that we're trying to smear our country's reputation. There's something that keeps coming up in Egyptian media about this too:
"why do we need to air our dirty laundry for the world to see"
And to that we say: "why have dirty laundry to begin with?"
"why don't we clean our laundry ourselves?"
The Copts of Egypt have endured 1400 years....1400 long painful years of subjugation, humiliation and oppression in the name of Islam. We have shown goodwill and loyalty only to be rewarded with thuggery and hatred. We faught the Crusaders alongside the Arabs, and we faught the British alongside the Muslims, we faught the Israelis away from Sinai alongside the Muslims. We always faught alongside our Muslim compatriots, believing promises of a happy independent home land where we can live together as equals. We never regretted fighting to protect our beautiful home...but
What did we get in return?? I'll tell you what we got:
* We lost our language (they cut our tongues off in fact if we dared speak Coptic)
* They burnt the Alexandria library
* They forced us to wear huge wooden crosses and forced our women to wear prostitutes dresses
* We weren't allowed to ride horses, we had to ride donkeys...Backwards sometimes, just so the Muslims could have a laugh
* We were told either convert, pay a tax or we kill you
(all the above was done before the Crusades, so you see even after all that we still gave Islam the benefit of the doubt)
* The Hamayoni decree: presidential approval required to build/mend a church
* El Zawya Elhamra attacks
* El Kosheh massacre
* Church of The Virgin Mary in el Menya was attacked because the Muslims were offended by the ringing of the bells
* A newly built in El Oboor city was attacked by the POLICE. They claimed the church didn't have a permit
* State security police raided a church service in St Mark's Church in al Tor Sinai. They kicked the worshippers out, desecrated the altar and stole the Holy Altar Vessels (usually made of gold or silver)
* Our Muslim neighbors attack us for daring to pray (Udayssat and Ezzbat Wassif) while their Saudi fellow Muslims are ensuring the nightclubs of AlHaram have a steady trade. But no, a church where people pray is more offensive to them
* Books of the nature of those listed in post "How Enlightening" that insult our faith. Not to mention the abuse we hear out of loudspeakers of mosques and the tapes they play in minibuses and taxis
* Our daughters are being taken away and forced to convert
* The army...our country's army attacked one of our charitable organisations...a center for disabled children!!!
And many more heart wrenching and painful attacks on our churches, homes and businesses.
If we mistakenly gave the impression of weakness because we have been abiding by Jesus Christ's message of loving our enemy and turning the other cheek...we're sorry. We are not weak. We are the children of Jesus Christ and of beautiful Egypt. Jesus taught us to be humble, but never taught us to be weak. We'll never use arms or force, we'll never shed blood. But we won't take the abuse anymore. We'll shout it from the roof tops Mohammed, we'll keep telling our story. You can't possibly deny us that right as well.