Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is a graduate of Cairo University and has been the leader of Coptic Christians in Alexandria (and most other Christians residing in north Africa and the Middle East) since 1971. Coptic Christians make up about 9% of the population of Egypt (which is about 81 million people). That means that there are over 7 million Coptic Christians caught in what’s becoming an Islamic oriented state.
Pope Shenouda’s comments on the October 9th, 2011 Maspero Square Massacre of Egyptian Christians are accompanied by English subtitles.
I can’t help but think of Kristallnacht (“the night of the broken glass”) when I think of what Muslims are doing to Christians in Egypt.
If you don’t recall the history behind Krisallnacht, here’s a quick summary: in 1938 a Polish Jew murdered a German Embassy attaché in Paris and German Jews were the objects of retaliation. Here’s how Ed Beattie of the United Press (UP), in November of 1938, opened his report on what came to be called Kristallnacht. This is what a gesture of retaliation for collective guilt looks like:
BERLIN (UP) – The government called a halt to a Nazi campaign of violence against Jews throughout Germany today after synagogues everywhere had been burned, shops and their contents wrecked and thousands of Jews arrested.
Fourteen hours after the violence began, at an hour apparently set by Nazi officialdom, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, ordered the destruction stopped. He indicated new official measures were planned against Jews in retaliation for the assassination of a German Embassy attaché in Paris by a young Polish-German Jew.
Germany’s “further answer to Jewry” would be given through laws and decrees, Dr. Goebbels stated.
Nazi mobs surged through the streets of cities and towns throughout the Reich and Austria, beginning at mid-night and lasting until mid-afternoon, in a systematic campaign of destruction.
The Nazi mobsters were instructed by party officials not to start until midnight so as not to interfere with the celebration of the anniversary of the 1923 Munich beer cellar putsch.
Police made no effort to interfere as the crowds set fire to synagogues, smashed shop windows, demolished furniture and stocks of goods and manhandled Jews. Persons who expressed sympathy for the Jews were maltreated, and some were arrested.
Isn’t it quite obvious that something like this is coming to Egypt over the next decade, and that the massacre of 26 Christians in Maspero Square is just the beginning of sorrows for Egyptian Christians in post-revolution Egypt?
This, from the European Council on Foreign Relations, seems to me a pretty good five sentence summary of what happened at Maspero Square on October 9th, 2011:
The Christian victims of the Sunday massacre in the Cairo district of Maspero died a cruel death, many of them under the treads of military vehicles. . . . There is no doubt that State TV did incite the populace against the Copts, already under attack by thugs. . . . Police and troops were sent to Maspero to quell the riots – and the State TV broadcast appeals to “honest Egyptians” to rush to the scene and defend the Army, allegedly under attack by Copts. Dramatic footage of wounded military personnel was shown. Crowds flocked to the scene, and the riot turned into a massacre.
And here’s a bit more (again, from the European Council on Foreign Relations):
It started with an attack of sword-wielding thugs on a thousand-strong Coptic demonstration against an earlier attack on a church in Aswan. The church was allegedly illegally built; in Egypt it is allowed to build a new church only if the old one is crumbling down. This early attack, unfortunately, is hardly news; in Egypt, attacks on Copts are almost the norm.
Sword wielders? The norm? Indeed.
Below is an image of a ruined synagogue after Kristallnacht (image source: Wikipedia Commons).