Yes, the majority of victims of wars in the Middle East are Muslims. That is not a matter of debate. But the people who have been dealt the worst hand in the ongoing conflicts in this God-forsaken region are minorities who have been systematically targeted in heinous ways, just because they happen to be different.
The latest is a disgusting attack on the Coptic Church in Egypt, on a day where they were celebrating. Palm Sunday was turned black, with two attacks, targeting two Churches hundreds of kilometers apart. The victim tallies are sky-rocketing and are already North of 30. Injured are north of 100, with numbers rising the more details emerge.
This is not the first time the Coptic Church is targeted, and it won’t be the last. The last time such an attack happened was less than 5 months ago, in December where 30 people died. The Copts of Egypt aren’t the only minority in these parts of the world to be systematically targeted as well. Between the Kurds, Muslims who don’t fit into the mold, and Christians of the some areas in the Levant, the stories keep unfolding, each more horrible than the one before it.
Today’s attack on the Churches in Tanta and Alexandria are horrible. Those were people with their children, having spent weeks buying new clothes, picking out the nicest candles, excited to be approaching the end of Lent, and full of humility at entering the week preceding Easter. Some of those people had their last celebration today.
The Copts in Egypt are not in a war-zone. They don’t live in a country ravaged by a dictator whose favorite pastime is using chemical weapons on his people. Their only fault is being a minority in a country they were historically integral to, as is the case with all the other minorities in the Middle Easts who have been forcibly turned into strangers in their own homes.
What can I say – or what can anyone say – to the mother who just lost her son? To the father who lost his daughter just as he was gushing over how adorable she looked right there, standing on that Church pew, as he tried to keep her quiet while the priest went on with his sermon? There’s nothing to say.
I am fortunate enough, as a Lebanese Christian, not to have to go through any of the hardships in 2017 that other minorities, which I would be considered to be elsewhere, in the region have to go through. I live in a country of minorities that are trying (their best?) to coexist together and have learned (or are learning), through all kinds of difficult ways, that one cannot exist without the other.
But that is not the case for governments of other countries in the Middle East. What can you expect from governments whose solution to the whole mess is to start a Twitter hashtag (in Egypt’s case, it’s #United_On_PalmSunday), but forget about the policies in which those same governments keep stomping on their own people to prevent them from assuming their natural place in society.
What can you expect from governments who have made sure that religious entities that help perpetuate the notion that anyone who is not Muslim in the Middle East is a disgrace, a kafer, whose blood is halal? It’s not the fault of Muslims, many of whom are as victims of their condition as those minorities. All this blood rests on the hands of kings, presidents, sheikhs and sometimes even priests who thrive under the perpetuation of the notion of kuffar, and the notion of victimhood.
What use is your sympathy when people get massacred this way when in all the days leading up to their killing, you’ve been teaching in books that considered them second class citizens, you’ve been advocating for laws that see them being slowly robbed of their own country, and you’ve been making sure that they’re to be considered as pests in their own home?
Just look at this sample of responses that news of the attacks in Egypt garnered:
There’s more when these came from. The sample is not comprehensive.
As long as some Arab Muslims look at Christians (and other minorities) in their own countries as abominations, as kuffar, then their countries will never amount to anything decent.
As long as some Muslim “scholars” and sheikhs keep perpetuating the hateful notion that Muslims are the only entities worth of life in their countries, as they shut away all attempts at modernity, some people of their religion will use their holy words to kill others they deem as lessers.
If you’re crying when I’m targeted but go about an hour later to consider me as less a person than you, then you are not even close to being part of a solution. We are not lessers. We are not second class citizens.
It says a lot about the coward pieces of shit who did this to kill tens of people on Palm Sunday. It shows that such cancerous entities are incompatible with any form of the world that we want.
Such abominations refuse diversity, refuse coexistence, refuse anything that doesn’t conform with their code of death. The only thing they deserve is to burn in the deepest pits of hell.
May the souls of the victims Rest In Peace. It’s about time we stand with the oppressed and claim them as people whose lives are worth celebrating when they’re abundant, not in the moment of their demise.