What is going on in Egypt?
Egypt is going through a difficult and critical time these days. The 30th of June marked one year since Mohamed Morsi, the Islamic leader who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood group, was installed as a president of Egypt.
It is obvious that we have an angry nation due to the regime’s very poor performance on all fronts during the past year. In addition to almost complete failure to fulfill the minimum requirements for which the nation revolted in January 2011, our nation lacks bread, freedom, dignity and social justice. People’s anger escalated because of the deterioration in all services: security, health, education, and the supplies of daily needs such as gas, water and electricity.The frequent attacks on media, political opposition and the Judicial System frustrate people causing them to feel as if they did not succeed in replacing a dictatorial, inefficient and corrupt regime.
In the middle of such a depressing situation, unknown young people, who do not belong to any political party, started a campaign inviting each unsatisfied citizen to sign a “Tamarod” (i.e. rebellion) petition against Morsi and his regime. They aimed to gather 15 million signatures to outnumber the voices that voted for President Morsi. Surprisingly, Tamarod’s campaign succeeded in gathering over 22 million signatures. Most of those who signed the petitions were determined to demonstrate in the streets on the 30th of June, the 1st anniversary of Mohamed Morsi.
Different scenarios were expected on June 30:
Scenario # 1:Multitudes of people demonstrate all over the country and force Morsi and his regime to step down. There would be a call for earlier presidential elections and freezing the current Constitution, which was formed by majority of Islamists, until a new constitution is being prepared. A body of selected leaders from the Supreme Court and Army would lead a short transitional period towards democracy and stability.
Scenario # 2: Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic parties manage to get through this crisis safely. Then, it is expected that they become even tougher and heavier handed on their opponents, taking revenge from everyone who did not support them. Freedom of speech, religious freedom, democracy and equal rights based on citizenship, and justice all will be seriously jeopardized.
Scenario # 3: Conflict and violence arise between demonstrators opposed to the regime and the supporters of Morsi, in a way that forces the army to intervene. Morsi and his regime would be forced to step down but the future of the country will be once again at the hands of Military.
The position of the Egyptian Church:
In the past, previous regimes pushed the Church to give them support, by controlling Christians and calling them not to oppose standing regimes. In the long run, this minimized the effective role of Christians, separating them from the rest of society and depriving them of the liberty to act independently as full, mature citizens according to their faith and conscience. Now we have learned our lesson and refuse to be a tool in the hand of any regime. We believe that Christians are full citizens, who have the complete right to express themselves peacefully in the way they like. Nevertheless, we call Christians and Muslims as they demonstrate to avoid all sorts of violence or destruction. We also see that religious institutions cannot dispense with their moral and prophetic responsibility in exposing mistakes and corruption. The simple requirements of the Egyptians for which they revolted over 2 years ago and are now rebelling, are fair, legal, and logical. They deserve the support of everyone and of all civil and social institutions including the religious ones.
How can partners and friends help us?
- Please pray earnestly that the Lord may protect our nation during this very critical time. As we have seen, each of the different expected scenarios includes elements of risk that can divide and damage the country for years.
- Please pray for special wisdom and unity for church leaders to be able to actively participate in this critical moment of change and transformation, standing bravely against corruption and injustice without being trapped in being politically used by any party.
- Please do what you can to stand against unwise and inappropriate polices which Western governments sometimes adopt as they support political powers that have a dark history of violence and terrorism. These short sighted polices, will damage the countries of the Middle East and soon afterwards will be a thorn in the flesh to the rest of the world.
President of Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC)