Scratching, Back-biting, and Coptic In-fighting–What REALLY Happened in New Jersey

June 25, 2006

Imagine that a sick man is lying on an operating table: prone, silent, and doped to the gills. Various machines are beeping and whirring all over the place, and the general atmosphere isn’t the most comforting. Now imagine two doctors looming over him, one on either side, hands ready to plunder the table of glittering instruments. All of a sudden, the men begin arguing about where to make the cut.

“Start it here! We have to start it here!” says one.

“No way! Then we’ll run into all sorts of trouble! Start on the other side, and a little lower!”

“I’m TELLING you, we must start it right here, and at the top!”

The voices escalate, maybe one of them throws a punch. And the patient? He begins to shift restlessly in his “sleep.”

I don’t need to spell out the various elements of danger present here–the likelihood that the patient will come out of his anesthetic cloud too soon (since they took so long discussing what to do), the chance that his condition will actually deteriorate as time goes by, or even that, in their “communicative state,” they might knock him clean off the operating table.

Crazy thing to imagine, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we don’t need to imagine it; it’s happening today, right under our noses, in the Middle East.

Actually, the fight over Egypt’s Copts isn’t just in Egypt. Sad to say, it’s going on in “The Diaspora” (fancy way of saying “Everywhere but Egypt”) and no one seems to know how to stop it.

The Egyptian mentality, I must tell you, is very stubborn and vain. (Generally speaking.) Especially if you happen to be a man. I am sorry, but that’s the way it is.

We Egyptian men always have to be right. We always have to have our way. And if not, it’s “Goodbye Charlie.” I can honestly tell you this because it’s something I have struggled with for many years now, but I am praying to be free from such a Byzantine mentality.

Activists can sometimes go about fixing the problem the wrong way, but more common is the incidence that each one has a good idea that he thinks is the best idea and the only way. This is not the case! We all have good ideas, but we must put them into some semblance of order or else we will never get any of them done.

I want to bring your attention to something. You may or may not have heard of “The New Jersey Conference” that happened last week (The fourth international Coptic Conference of Mr Adly Abadeer and Copts United) but I have read a few accounts of the party, seen footage of the event, and spoken to some people who attended it.

Please do not think that I was pumping these people for information, or that they were spies, but in my line of work, I have to ask the correct questions that give me the best set of facts I can use. Imagine me as an investigator, trying to figure out the events of the night in question. My task was made more difficult when I found out that the accounts conflicted, and that there were the Pro-Copts United people and the totally Anti-Copts United people. This being a group of Egyptians, though, I was not surprised in the least.

From what I could gather, there were many factions present in this conference, as there were in the Washington Conference and the Zurich Conference before that. In this case, Gihad Auda told Saad Eldin Ibrahim (mid-speech) that Saad had misquoted him. They actually scuffled (verbally!) for a few moments, each accusing the other of having forgotten when happened during Auda’s speech. Also, a few hecklers kept saying “Qur’an!” every time a speaker said that the problem in Egypt was anything but Islam’s “Holy Book.” Conference Security reportedly had to come in and tell one of the guys to shut up. How I wish I had been there!!

Other things that I have heard about from other sources included Mob Boss Adly Youssef’s vitriol-laced rantings, and what I call “The Ineffective Resolutions.”

I call them “ineffective” because they never get put into effect. This is the umpteenth time that the Copts have met, and not only has the group shrunken (apparently Youssef does away with all the people he has previously worked with, for not only were Michael Meunier, Megdi Khalil, Milad Eskander, and others absent from the show, but I have it on good authority that the co-host of this years’ show has also been excommunicated by Youssef).

Of what use is it to meet up so often (this was the fourth conference in only 2 years) IF nothing gets accomplished? They should call it “The Brainstorming session” because the word “Conference resolutions” isn’t cutting it anymore, it’s actually a joke.

But I haven’t even told you the best part!! Yes, it’s true. The whole reason I even sat down to write this is because, despite the fact that I am not involved with “The Coptic Cause” in any way, shape or form, I do know what Copts are like. They are gossips. They love hurling accusations. They have to make the person in front of them look like a crook so that they will look better (this bespeaks a deep-seated insecurity in their own worth). Are they so unsure of their work? Are they so certain that their goals are less than noble? Are they afraid someone will steal the spotlight? Or are they just so disconnected from the God they are supposed to be fighting with and for?

It is with a HEAVY HEART that I tell you these things. It is with the deepest of sadnesses that I report these tales. But do not let your sadness at them overshadow the work we can accomplish if we really and truly band together. We are, after all, different limbs of the same body.

I beg you, friends, to do your work in secret, to hide what your left hand is doing from your right hand. Because then, and only then, will you gain heaven’s reward. (And curtail the War of the Egos!)


2 Responses to “Scratching, Back-biting, and Coptic In-fighting–What REALLY Happened in New Jersey”

  1. yaweeka Says:

    Quote: (((do know what Copts are like. They are gossips.))))
    Even though I agree with a lot of what you say, but I think that the statement of yours that I’m quoting is racist. Copts are like any other people, they have the good and the bad. Your statement is offensive.

  2. iris2083 Says:

    Sorry my sweet dear muslims. Unlike you we debate and sometimes even argue.

    However, I understand that muslims aren’t used to this because as soon as someone disagrees with you they get captured by the police, striped naked, handcuffed and beaten.

    I’d prefer the Civil Coptic way.

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