Thursday, January 30, 2014

الكنيسة والدولة وثورة يناير


في نوفمبر 2012، عندما تم تنصيب البابا تواضروس الثاني بابا للكنيسة القبطية خلفاً للبابا شنودة الثالث، كان الكثيرون يضعون امالاً عريضة لبداية حقبة جديدة للكنيسة القبطية. وبالفعل لم يمر الكثير من الوقت حتى حدثت تطورات كبيرة منها على سبيل المثال: إعادة تنظيم المجمع المقدس وعودة بعض اساتذة اللاهوت للتدريس في كلية اللاهوت القبطية "الاكليريكية" بعد ان تم استبعادهم سابقاً بسبب آرائهم المثيرة للجدل. إلا أن الامل الأكبر ظل معقوداً على اعادة النظر في العلاقة بين الكنيسة والدولة المصرية.

لمدة تزيد عن الثلاثين عاماً، تعاملت الدولة مع الكنيسة كممثل سياسي للأقباط ولاقى هذا الوضع قبول الطرفين نظراً لحالة الجمود السياسي الطويلة. ففي حين تعهدت الدولة بحماية الكنائس والمؤسسات المسيحية (او هكذا ظن البعض) من المتطرفين، ضمنت ايضاً تحييد وربما ولاء معظم افراد الاقلية. بالطبع كان هناك هزات تحدث في هذة العلاقة لكن الحالة ككل كانت مرضية للطرفين.

وعلى الرغم من ذلك لم ينتهي التمييز ضد الاقباط في المؤسسات الحكومية ولا حتى توقفت هجمات المتطرفين. على العكس، ازدادت الطائفية توهجاً مما اثبت ان الاتفاق غير المعلن بين الطرفين اتى بنتائج عكسية لم تزد الا من جراحات الاقباط.

في ابريل 2013، سئُل البابا عن استخدام الدعاية ذات الطابع الديني في الانتخابات من قبل بعض الاحزاب الاسلامية، فجاء رده: "الدين لو دخل في السياسىة تلوث" ثم اضاف "الكلام دا عام على اي دين".

لوهلة تستشعر ان هناك املاً يلوح في الأفق، فالكنيسة على ما يبدو قررت اتخاذ موقفاً جديداً بالابتعاد عن أي ممارسة سياسية. لكن سرعان ما تبخر الأمل، فبعد ثمانية اشهر ظهر البابا في فيديو صادم يطالب الاقباط ليس فقط بالمشاركة في الاستفتاء (وهو ما يمكن ان  يكون مفهوماً)، ولكن ايضاً بالتصويت بنعم لأن "نعم تعطى بركات وخيرات" على حد قوله. استتبع الفيديو مقالاً في جريدة الاهرام الرسمية مكتوباً بخط يده يحمل نفس المعنى.

موقف البابا تسبب في موجة غضب عارمة على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي خاصة بين المؤمنين بثورة الخامس والعشرين من يناير.

افرونيه عازر، عضوة بحركة "لا للمحاكمات العسكرية للمدنيين" كتبت على صفحتها على فيسبوك تقول: "النظرية دي أثبتت فشلها بعد كل اللي مر بيه المسيحيين في السنين الأخيره، وإن السياسة لازم تتساب للي بيفهم وبيشتغل فيها والدين يتساب لبتوع الدين". فيما قارن آخرون بسخرية بين تعاليم المسيحية وتصريحات البابا. بسنت ماكسيموس، طالبة بفنون تطبيقية، قالت: "المسيح قال ليكن كلامكم نعم نعم لا لا و البابا حب يضيف التاتش بتاعه فقال "قوّل النَعم يزيد النِعم". لكن لاحقاً تسأل بشكل اكثر جدية: "احنا المفروض مانكونش يأسنا من معركة تنظيف الكنيسة، صح؟"

قد يرى المدافعون عن موقف البابا انه كان يعبر عن رأيه كأي مواطن. بالطبع البابا كمواطن له كل الحق في التعبير عن رأيه، ولكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هو ما هي التدابير التي اتخذها البابا ليؤكد ان هذا مجرد رأياً شخصياً وليس رأي لـ"رأس الكنيسة"؟ الاجابة: لا شئ. على العكس، خطاب البابا تضمن كلمات ذات طابع ديني من قبيل: "نِعم" و"بركات" و"خيرات".

"لما كانت بتستخدم المساجد فى الدعاية السياسية رفضنا السلوك ده لكن عملنا نفس الغلطة ديه" كتب كريم ممتاز، مطور برمجيات. "الكنيسة ممكن تشارك فى كتابة الدستور و تشجع الناس على المشاركة لكن من غير توجيه".

في كتابه "الكنيسة والدولة"، أسس الاب متى المسكين للعلاقة بين الكيانين حيث يقول: "المفروض على الكنيسة أن تترك للمواطن المسيحي الحرية الكاملة فى قيامه بأعبائه الوطنية حتى لا تكون الكنيسة مسئولة أمام الدولة عن تقصير ابنائها فى أدائهم الواجب الوطنى."

"يلزم الكنيسة أن لا تأمر رجل الدين أن يتكلم إلا فيما يختص بالشئون الكنسية وفي دائرة اختصاص المسيحية حتى لا تقف الكنيسة مسئولة أمام السلطان الزمني، لأنها لا تسأل قط إلا أمام المسيح روحياً."

تقترب تعاليم الاب متى المسكين من مبادئ "لاهوت التحرير" الذي ظهر في امريكا اللاتينية في السبعينات والثمانينات إبان قيام الثورات هناك لمعارضة التقارب الحادث بين الكنيسة وبين الانظمة الفاسدة، بالاضافة الي إعادة تعريف دور الكنيسة في المجتمع.

ربما تكون عودة تلاميذه الى التدريس بالكلية الاكليريكية مرةً اخرى فرصة لتخليد تعاليمه وافكاره. غير أن أكثر ما يبعث على الأمل الآن هو رد فعل الشباب القبطي حيال تصريحات البابا. حتى اصدقائي المتدينيين الذين اعتادوا الدفاع عن مواقف الكنيسة الخاطئة ابدو امتعاضاً من موقف البابا الأخير من الدستور.

بالطبع هذا احد المكاسب التي صنعتها ثورة يناير والتي يصعب، ان لم يكن مستحيلاً، الرجوع عنها.

OpenDemocracy مقال مترجم من موقع*

Friday, January 24, 2014

Egypt: church and state - OpenDemocracy


In November 2012, Pope Tawadros II was ordained as the new head of the Coptic church after late Pope Shenouda III, who had been the head of the Coptic church from 1971 through till 2012. Many had high hopes for a new and fresh phase for the church. It didn’t take long before major reforms took place, such as the restructuring of the Holy Synod and the return of some theology professors, who had been excluded previously because of their controversial thoughts, to the Coptic theological college. Yet the most anticipation gatehred around the propsect of recasting the relationship between the church and the Egyptian state.

Read more here on Arab Awakening page.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Egypt’s mythical ‘law and order’ - Open Democracy

As the controversial protest law was put into action, government officials as well as local media apologists justified the consequent repressive police measures as an innocent attempt to impose “law and order”. While the government is immersed in its ‘war against terrorism’ (sometimes rightly so and sometimes not), it’s also doing its best at alienating revolutionaries who took to the streets in protest as soon as the law was enacted.

Read more here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Three reasons the current regime benefits from the Brotherhood


More than four months after Morsi’s ouster, the Muslim Brotherhood fails to adopt a strategy that reduces the rift happened between them and the revolutionaries, no to mention the public. In fact, the current reckless moves appear to be in favor of the current government’s rule. Here are three reasons why:

Violence gives mandate
Two weeks the Brotherhood members in Al-Azhar University stormed the administration office & reportedly fired bird shots inside the campus on the university security.
The head of university dean asked police to intervene after violence erupted and the Cabinet granted police forces the right to be present at university gates and furthermore to enter campuses upon universities heads request.


Aftermath of Muslim Brotherhood clashes in Al-Azhar University



Many fear that such violence would be followed by more harsh security intervention in universities that was banned by Administrative court in 2010 even with Minister of Higher Education denying the return of security to campuses in the old fashion.

With violence either committed or condoned by the Muslim Brotherhood or their Islamists allies since Morsi’s ouster in universities, neighborhoods and villages as well as the ongoing violence in Sinai, no one seems to be winning except the security apparatus, this time with a wide public support.

*Update: In a couple of days, we will witness the second anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, and the Brotherhood shamelessly called for commemorating the clashes. Many fear the violence that might take place especially with presence of the Brotherhood.

Helpful defamation campaign?
One of the few things the Brotherhood conducts in a good way is PR campaigns. Across Europe & the U.S. the Brotherhood held many campaigns to market their case, delegitimize defame the current regime (sometimes immorally).

While this seems to be working, as major Human Rights and international organizations keeps pressuring the government (HRW: 1, 2, 3 - Amnesty), it also helps it to prune its repression instincts and prevents the old regime practices from a total comeback in order decrease criticism. In other words, helping the government to rule progressively and democratically.

In addition to that, the Brotherhood members disrupted Alaa Al-Aswany’s conference in Paris, a couple of days later the same happened with Tamarod’s conference in London University. Whether is it directives by the group to expats to prevent pro-government activists from explaining their views to the world or just MB supporters expressing their anger, it’s clearly not helping as Jack Lang, the president of The Arab World Institute in Paris which hosted Al-Aswany’s event expressed in his tweet:

[Yesterday at the Arab Wold Institute, the pro-Morsi militias attacked the writer Alaa Al Aswany. I condemn this intolerable infringement on the freedom of expression.]


Redefining allies
Two days after Sec. Kerry’s first visit to Cairo since the June 30 uprising, Voice of Russia reported the Russian Defense Minister & the Foreign Minister will be visiting Cairo the week after to meet their counterparts.

Russia offered Egypt major arms deal that includes helicopters, air defense systems and modernization of previously purchased Equipment. The visit was met with a red carpet welcome.

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov speaks to his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy

After the visit the Egyptian president had a phone call with the Russian president, in which the latter expressed support for Egypt and in return, Mansour invited him to visit Egypt.

While a total independence from U.S. may seem unlikely to happen in the near future, the Egyptian officials look adamant to restore relations with the old ally, Russia and the latter is warmly welcoming.

The Russian-Egyptian rapprochement comes after Egypt’s Foreign Minister described the relations between U.S. Egypt as in “Turmoil” after the U.S. administration suspended F-16 delivery to Egypt. President Barack Obama announced canceling Bright Start exercise amid Morsi’s ouster and the violence that followed.

With new ties with Russia, Gulf economic aid and deteriorating relations with Turkey and Qatar, Egypt is definitely redrawing its relations with partners.

Unless the Brotherhood rethinks its current strategy dealing with the regime, it will continue to lose support for the benefit of the government on contrary to what they plan.

*article was planned tp be published earlier

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On AJE's Listening Post giving my views on media


I appear on 9:19 on Global Village Voices where I give a quick take about Media under the Brotherhood regime & the current regime. Video here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dalga: The Brotherhood's Doublespeak Continues - Atlantic Council



The Brotherhood’s penchant for doublespeak is nothing new. In April 2013, in the aftermath of the Boston Bombings, and in September 2012, in the wake of the attack on the US embassies in Libya and Egypt, the Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, were quick to condemn the attacks, in English. In Arabic, however, they often take a much less conciliatory and more aggressive tone. The armed forces’ raid on Dalga, a town in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, has proved to be yet another example in how the Brotherhood is presenting two different narratives.

Read more here

Monday, September 2, 2013

Full chart of Egypt's constitutional assembly



Here's a chart of Egypt's 50-member constitutional assembly:


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why New York Times saw "Signs of a Shift" in pro-Morsi protests



This is an email I wrote to David D. Kirkpatrick, Cairo Bureau Chief and Mideast Correspondent of The New York Times in response to his report: Signs of a Shift Among Egyptian Protesters to Antigovernment, From Pro-Morsi on August 30 demonstrations (with minor changes).

Dear David,

I just read your report: "Signs of a Shift Among Egyptian Protesters to Antigovernment, From Pro-Morsi" and would like to give you a sign that might explain the signs of shifts.

Here's AlJazeera's anchor Ahmed Mansour, a strong supporter for the Muslim Brotherhood in Rabaa sit-in:





Mansour is saying: “Our rhetoric should now change; the Egyptian people won’t come out with us unless we remind them that Jan 25 revolution has been stolen … if we kept saying Mohamed Morsi, those who oppose Mohamed Morsi will remain at home.”

Now Mansour is *not* basically saying that we should abandon the demand of Morsi’s return (because for example, he didn’t fulfill the revolution goals), he’s saying that we should say it’s not about Morsi just to get people at our side.

You might have noticed this behavior when suddenly AlQaeda & Saudi Arabia flags disappeared from Rabaa sit-in & the Egyptians flags started to prevail. This is one of his advices in the video (using Egyptian flags).

Also, the Anti-coup/ pro-democracy sign at the back of the stage is a sign of their double talk & deception because in Arabic they often called for Sharia law while in English they claim to be democratic (perhaps, ballotocratic?)

Historically, I might refer you to two incidents of MB bluffing and double talks:
1-Fairmont meeting:
When Morsi gave loads of promises to a group of politicians from different political spectrums and achieved none of them after he won, actually he went the other way.

2- The US Embassy:
The MB double talks concerning the attacks on the US embassy (In Arabic spurred it's supporters, in English condemned attacks). Here is the famous tweet by the embassy account:



Here's a full BBC report on MB's duality of language.

This could be (or perhaps, it is) another bluff or tactic by the Muslim Brotherhood after they lost everything/ everyone as per Mansour’s advice; let’s say we don’t want Morsi anymore it’s all about the revolution. Or maybe it’s just the Muslim Brotherhood being the Muslim Brotherhood.

Genuine question: Where was the revolution when Morsi was in power? It’s just something they use when in need to support their cause, just like religion & blood.

With all due respect, I expected a referral to that point in such piece with all the history of sneaky ways of the group.

Best Regards,                                                                                                                                
Mina Fayek

*A copy of this email was sent to Kareem Fahim, New York Times Middle East reporter and a contributor to the report.