A new issue of the journal Israel Affairs features a number of articles about the Arab Spring and its implications for the state of Israel. Only two of these are about Egypt.
Yehudit Ronin’s assessment of the “jihadist” threat in the Sinai is already out of date, since Israel’s recent occupation of Gaza and destruction of the tunnels into the Sinai through which arms, food and medicine flow.
His basic argument seems to be that thanks to the Egyptian revolution, and the decline in security in the Sinai, the peninsula is poised to once again become a central security issue between Egypt and Israel as militant activity in the region grows.
The revolution unleashed Coptic youth to speak out against injustices practiced against Christians in Egypt, sometimes with tragic results. Many Copts were thrilled with the ousting of President Morsi by the military last July, but others were more cautious, recalling that the military had struck at Coptic protesters two years ago.
Shortly after the coup, Pope Tawadros made a short televised speech in which he voiced his general approval for the new road map for Egypt’s future, essentially giving his approval for the coup.
“This roadmap has been drafted by honourable people who seek the interests, first and foremost, of the country,” he said.
The Church has always played a significant role in representing the Coptic people to/for the state, although the revolution and the subsequent passing of Pope Shenouda raised questions as to whether this would remain the case.
The Catholic on-line journal Oasis, devoted to “Christians and Muslims in the age of mestizaje of civilizations” published a lengthy interview with Pope Tawadros, leader of the Coptic Christian Church, on the occasion of his visit to Rome and meeting with Pope Francis.
Pope Tawadros shared some of his thoughts on the future of the Coptic church in Egypt during this age of revolution. (you can read the full interview here.)
Your Holiness has made some audacious political declarations in many interviews. Is it your view that the Church has a political role that is of no small account?
When we speak about its political role and national role, both are important, but naturally its national role is fundamental and what the Egyptian Church has done is to relaunch its national role.
I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about the sentences handed down the other day against the Al-Jazeera journalists.
Most people seem to think that the absurdity of the sentences is a travesty of justice, and that Egypt should be responding to international outrage.
Others think that the US is squandering its influence, that the fact that Kerry walked hopefully out of a meeting with al-Sisi only to have the sentences handed down the next day, shows that the US has failed to take advantage of its opportunities.
Now, I can just send people to read an essay by my friend Andrea Teti, director of the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Global Security and Governance and senior fellow at the European Centre for International Affairs, whom I met in Oxford (UK) a couple years back.
Andrea points out
Here’s a brief addendum to my blog post on the “Pharrel Williams index” in the Middle East. I just learned about this new Happy video by Syrian refugees at Darasakran refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq.
I have blogged before about conspiracy theories in Egypt, but it looks as if I’ll be doing so more and more since conspiracy theories–particularly those about the Muslim Brotherhood and its foreign allies–have increasingly gone mainstream in Egypt.
One of the most interesting is the weird investigation at the beginning of this year into
Abla Fahita is a puppet character (who has her own Facebook page) who has appeared regularly on television over the past several years, primarily on YouTube but also on Egyptian television. She and her daughter Karkura interact with humans and other muppet-like characters in humor ranging from innocuous to satirical.
She also appears in advertisements. And therein lies a tale.