Do I Care More About Coptic Rights Than Copts In Egypt Do?

May 23, 2006

If you’re a Christian Egyptian, you may be bristling at the title of today’s article.

After all, if I cared so much about Egypt’s welfare, then why did I leave her? Why am I depriving myself of grilled corn and midnight walks on the Corniche? Why did I abandon a perfectly acceptable medical career in the land I was born in?

I’ll tell you why. It’s not because of the lack of equality in Egypt, it’s not even because of the lack of freedom of speech.

Very succinctly put, it’s because of the “Mashhy Halak Mentality.”

If I had obtained my dream job back home, it would not have been enough for me, as research plays a big part in the makeup of my professional interests. I know that most hospitals in Egypt would never be able to afford the excellent equipment that I routinely use here in the West.

For those who don’t know, “Mashhy Halak” is a way to say “Keep going, don’t get caught up in the small things.”

And this mentality that keeps me apart from my homeland has really become part of the national identity, not just for Christians in Egypt but for everyone in Egypt.

For example, I would like to say something that will very likely meet with disapproval, but I must say it anyway: I believe that Egypt is the way it is BECAUSE THE COPTS ALLOWED IT.

They did NOT fight back, they did NOT file complaints, they just put their chin to their chest and skulked off into the night, as they have been for thousands of years. How else could they stay around so long? On one hand, it’s good that they haven’t died out, but on the other hand, the only thing that lives on of Ramses and Mina and Tutankhamen is their DNA.

Well. We can’t change what has been accumulating since 1952, 1971, and all of the other significant dates in Egyptian history.

But we CAN join hands together—Christian and Muslim, atheist and devout, Egyptian and non-Egyptian—and begin to fight back now.

This will never happen if different Egyptians keep making trouble or letting their egos get in the way. One of the men who has made the most happen for the Copts is a man whom I know goes by an alias in everything he does. I cannot blame him, of course, but I CAN praise him to the sky, since he disregards all glory—even though he is the one most deserving of it—and trudges on, trying to change the status of Christians in Egypt, and Egypt in general.

But this brings me to my next point: This man isn’t even in Egypt now! He lives here in the west, and I know he wouldn’t be happy if I mentioned his new country of residence, so I won’t mention it. It doesn’t matter, though. He disregards all of the whiners back home and quietly tries to change things for his complacent and ungrateful brothers and sisters in Egypt.

Oh, yes, you can’t be surprised that I mentioned complacency, can you? It’s the disease of Egyptians, but specifically the Copts who elected to (or were forced to) stay back in Egypt.

Other diseases include (but are not limited to) indecision, taking a month to decide on a plan of action, “The Martyr Syndrome” (liking to be a victim, in other words), infighting (especially when it’s something important at stake)—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So what did I do? What did this man I so admire do? What have hundreds of others done?

They got out. They moved to a place where they would not be arrested for speaking their mind or standing up for something (as the poor activists were arrested recently, may God protect them from the mercenaries, from the hired THUGS who make up “State Security”), and where they would not have their efforts squashed by the very people they were trying to help. They closed their ears to the protests of their children and, like a good parent, did what had to be done.

They wrote articles. They visited their new country’s congress or other legal system. They gave money. They did all they could.

Oh, yes, I realize what I just said. “Like a good parent.”

As though the complacent Copts in Egypt are put into the role of a surly and troublesome child, while we men of action are put in the role of parent.

It isn’t a favorable commentary on the way things have become in Egypt, but perhaps it’s this ability to shake off our dreams and be ‘content’ with what is in front of us that has made the Copts stay in their homeland of Egypt for as long as they have, when other groups were absorbed or killed off or converted to another way.

With these recent arrests of (mostly) Muslim protestors, bloggers, and activists, I must turn to my Christian brothers and sisters back home, and ask: “Do you want to go on record for sitting idly by while the moderate Muslims fight your battle for you? Be strong. Stand with them. Join hands with anyone and everyone who cares about changing Egypt to the better, and shake off your fear, for all we have to fear is fear itself!!”

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One Response to “Do I Care More About Coptic Rights Than Copts In Egypt Do?”

  1. huntley Says:

    i try to find something at google.com and take it on your site…thanks


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