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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Coptic TV????

Egypt's copts are getting their own satellite TV channel, for copts only. What a genius way to add to the isolation of Egypt's christians. Did I say add? I meant end? Oh, who am I kidding? Egypt's beleaguered Christian Coptic minority is to launch its own satellite television this month, but even some Copts fear the church's patronage of the channel will fan sectarian strife. In the aftermath of deadly riots in Alexandria on October 21 - the most serious intercommunal violence in years - religious Copts see the creation of the channel as an essential tool to assert their repressed identity. A Biblical quotation and a glowing Jesus next to a Coptic cross top the channel's promotional poster, which promises viewers a bonanza of hymns, holy liturgies and documentaries on ancient monasteries. Aghapy TV - which means "love" in the Coptic language - is due to start broadcasting on November 14 on Telestar 12, a US-operated satellite network which spans Egypt and several African countries. "The channel is under the guidance of Pope Shenuda III himself, who appointed a general committee of 13 bishops," Aghapy executive director Father Bishoy al-Antony said. He said the channel would be run out of a convent northeast of Cairo. What's the point? We first proposed to have our own radio in 1951. It was rejected and since then it has been our dream to have this TV... It is not easy to build churches in Egypt, so this is like home delivery, church on air," Father Bishoy added. Naturally, the idea has opponents. "I am against any communal posture. I think it will harm national unity," said Munir Fakhri Abdel Nur, a Coptic businessman and MP for the liberal Wafd party. "For decades, some two million Egyptians have gone to work in the Gulf and are bringing back an extremist culture which did not exist before in Egypt. "Some Arabic channels also convey a very radical Islamic culture, but having a Coptic television is not the way to deal with these issues," he said. [...] Prominent Coptic thinker Milad Hanna is also concerned. "I'm afraid this television reflects the new ambitions of the Coptic Church. Pope Shenuda is a fanatic leader," he said. "It would be a good thing for Egypt if secular Copts were more organised, but this television is only going to propagate religious ideas and this is what leads to clashes like those that happened in Alexandria," he said. But the idea also has supporters, and one of them is none other then our old friend Dan Raphael, the Canadian Pharaoh himself ladies and gentlemen. Dan, a Coptic Montreal resident who runs a blog focusing on Egyptian affairs (http://canadianpharaoh.blogspirit.com/), argues it is only fair Copts should seek to impose their presence. This television "will allow us to combat the exclusion of Copts in a more militant way," he said. "Copts are full-fledged Egyptians and they deserve to have a voice. But at present they don't have it, this is why we should take the issue into our own hands and I see the creation of this channel as very positive." I do not see it this way, but i am not coptic, so really, it's not for me to say anything. I am opposed to the idea on the principle that the copts are egyptians, and that they should be pushing for airtime on egypt's national TV instead of making their own seperate TV channel, which will be used by islamists as evidence that christians are not opressed in this country while it proves quite the opposite. I guess their point oif view is more like "this is better than nothing". Oh well...


At 11/05/2005 02:39:00 AM, Anonymous Emad-Coptic Point of View said...

I don't think of of this step as a step towards more isolation. In the US you have BET (Black enterainment TV), numerous hispanic channels. In Lebanon you have several Sunni, Shia, and Christian channels. It depends on what the channel broadcasts.With numerous copts living abroad, getting the Church message to them is much easier with a TV channel.

At 11/05/2005 06:15:00 AM, Anonymous CP said...


Copts have been pushing for more representation on state tv for years with no positive results. They have also been pushing for permits to renovate churches, have coptic history included in Egyptian history textbooks (in school), equal representation in different levels of public society and much more. And as always, still.....NO RESULTS!

When a group of people feel ostracized by the majority, they need to do things for themselves, it's their right. If you are in favor of liberty, equality and westernized values you should agree with such a channel.

Copts and christians have contributed greatly to Egyptian society. Youssef Chahine the great writer, Boutros Boutros Ghali at the UN, the Sawiris Family in business, Omar Sherif the great actor (originally melkite-christian), Dalida the great singer(italian from cairo),Kamal Stino former vice-president and many founding members of the Waft. Please add to this list the thousands that lost their businesses in the time of Naser (the 1960's). Most were educated, spoke 3 languages and contributed to the economy. Ask any armenian or greek from the outside what he thinks of the Egypt of yesterday and the Egypt of today???

And today, they can't even have equal access to schools, renovate a church or jet jobs in media. Let them at least have a TV station!

At 11/05/2005 07:42:00 AM, Blogger richsanter said...

well, i think the big question is how it is funded. is this going to be paid for by egyptian tax dollars, which are party american tax dollars of course, or is it a private station that gets it revenue from commercials like american tv channels? in the US im sure you know there are a few niche channels, like BET, WE, and Lifetime which show womens and black programs. in some cities there are even a few hispanic channels, like in new york, miami, and LA. if the gov't isn't paying for it, what's the harm?

At 11/05/2005 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Now I know why they call you monkey. You're pro-reform and you believe in liberty only when it suits your interest....How typical!

At 11/05/2005 10:19:00 AM, Blogger JohnL said...

Freedom of speech; it's a basic concept. Why can't Muslims get a handle on it?

At 11/05/2005 10:25:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Dear Anon,
What are you talking about? Secluding the copts is reform and liberty?

Look, i am not against them getting their own chanel, or even 10 of them, but I would like that not to be a response to them not getting their fair share or representation on national television. It's part of their right as a major component of our national fabric, and I would like them to fight for it and have it. But if they won't, then as I said, a satalite channel is better than nothing.

At 11/05/2005 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Scorekeeper said...

Sand man

You see everything through the lens of what the Coopts should do to not cause too many waves and not "live up to the Islamist" painting of them..

The problem is not the Coopts behavior, it's like an abused wife who knows she shouldn't do certain things that will exacerbate the situation.

At 11/05/2005 10:32:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

CP, as i said, I am against it on the principle that it would signal the end of the push for more coptic representation in egypt's national TV. I know all about the copts cotribution and god knows i am one of the biggest advocates of equal rights for them, and to me, integration, and not isolation, is the key to bridging the gap that has been widening between the muslims and the christians in this country. I don;t want you guys to be the secluded minority.

However, as i said, if that;s what You want, or if that's all you can have, then I am not going to stand against it or begrudge it to you at all. I just hate how it will be sued as a symbol of inexistant fake tolerance to christians here: "well, they have their own channel now!" You know what I am saying?

We are not in disagreemant ya man, I just think it sucks that it has come to that.

At 11/05/2005 02:27:00 PM, Anonymous CanadianPharaoh said...


You're a great guy and a very decent man. I think you're a talented and great blogger. If more people shared your opinions, the world would be a better place.

The beauty of blogs is that we can all share our opinions in a democratic way. I guess I'm just kind of nostalgic. I heard so many stories of the good old days when we all lived together, attended the same schools and shared the same meals. My parents and granparents friends in Egypt were mostly muslims, they all got along great. Guess I just want these days to come back.

Every religion has extremists, in goes both ways. I just don't believe that a Coptic tv station would be a bad thing. Au contraire, it will help the Copts learn and know more about their culture. It will also give them a voice and some media exposure. It will also help the elderly that can't attend mass on Sunday's to watch it on TV. Nothing more.

It's also important to say that the article published by AFP only had 2 of my quotes mentionned when, in reality, I answered 6 questions in over 2 full pages of document. I had also mentionned to AFP that the channel should be more secular and that to much control of it by the church might not be a good thing. That's how I feel.Unfortunately, that part wasn't published.


At 11/05/2005 03:42:00 PM, Blogger R said...

There is already Sat 7 I guess

At 11/15/2005 03:08:00 AM, Anonymous wafeeq said...

هل تسمحوا لي ان اكتب بالعربي
استطيع ان اكتب بالانجليزي ولكن قد استطيع التعبير احسن بالعربي
انا لا امانع ابدا ان تكون هناك قنوات مسيحية او قبطية بشرطين اولا عدم تحقير الاديان ثانيا عدم تعميق اى شكل من اشكال الفرقة
انا مسلم ولا يكتمل ايماني الا بوضع السيد المسيح والسيدة مريم العذراء في مقامهما الرفيع
اما عن اخوتي واصدقائي الاقباط فلا حد ولا حصر لهم واحبهم واحترمهم وافديهم بحياتي ولا اقبل ان يمس لهم طرف باى شكل
ارجوكم انتتاكدوا ان هذه النعرة لا يراد بها الا ضرب مصر في مقتل
اقباط مصر مواطنون من الدرجة الاولي من كل زاوية تنظر منها اليهم
دعونا نحضن بعض وليموت اعداؤنا غيظا وحقدا
مشاكلنا سنحلها بنفسنا ولن نترك الغير يتفلسف علينا
بالمناسبة انا اول مؤيد لجورج اسحاق رئيس حركة كفاية العبقرية
اتمنى للجميع كل خير وصحة وبركة
واتمنى لمصر مزيد من الديموقراطية والحرية
وانا مؤمن ان الله يحفظ مصر لكل دور سامي ونبيل


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