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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

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New religious clashes in Egypt

On Friday I received an e-mail with a link to this post on the freecopts blog: Another episode of terrorizing Christians has just taken place in Egypt. In a small village called Kafr Salama near Menya El Kamh' in the governorate of Sharkeya (north east of Cairo) some Muslims, mainly young men belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group , attacked the houses, shops and properties of Christians. This took place after a fight between a Christian and a Muslim in the village, during which the father of the latter dropped dead after going into a diabetic coma when he watched the fight. Things quickly escalated after the rumor spread that "Christians killed Muslims." The naive Christians, knowing the tension was only the result of a normal fight, did not believe things would get any worse. However, members of the Muslim Brotherhood began sending messages to neighboring villages asking for their assistance. Subsequently hundreds of Muslims gathered from different villages, attacking the houses, shops and belongings of Christians. So far, seven houses and one farm have been completely burned, and many houses have been destroyed. The Christian young man who was involved in the initial fight was massacred by the mob of Muslims. Furthermore, the numerous police vans that rushed into the village have been so far unsuccessful in protecting the Christians, most of whom have fled the village. The few Christian families that remain are currently stranded in their houses, awaiting attack by the Muslims, unless protection arrives in due time. Hundreds of Muslims from neighboring villages, screaming "Islam is the solution," are still flooding Kafr Salama and threatening to burn and kill whatever crosses their way. Now, I didn't post on it back then because A) I was taking a break and B) I had no way of knowing if this was actually true or mere hearsay. Given that not a single News outlet broke the story, and that it was on a blog that isn't the least impartial or unbiased, I figured it may be just a rumor. I was wrong. The Lawyer in our Company comes originally from Minyah el Kamh and visits his village there weekly. Before I even got to ask him about it, he greeted me with a smile asking me if I have heard what "my loved ones" have done now. By "My loved ones" he meant christians, cause, you know, I am the one who usually defends them in my company. I told him that I didn't hear anything, so he proceeded to tell me this aforementioned story, only he added some new information that made it even more distrubing. Apparently after the old Muslim guy died and all of those clashes occured, the government started negotiations with the villagers, to see what would get them to stop the riots. The villagers said that since one of the Muslim elders died, that it's only fair to kill one of the christian elders, an eye for an eye is all. They said that it's probably better and more peacefull to kill just one elder than whatever masscares that can take place if this conflict continued. And the government apparently agreed to their logic, authorizing them to kill one prominent christian elder to even out the death of the muslim one that died. Ohh yeah! The interesting twist , however, is that after getting that ok, the muslim elders gatherd with eachotehr and then decided that they won't take their revenge after all. That what they did was enough for now and that it's better just to keep the peace. He said all of that to me in a tone that suggested "See, not all muslims are bloodthirsty reactionaries. We have more common sense than that!" Fine, Ok, kudos for the muslims there for choosing not to go ahead with the government sanctioned murder, but..but what in the name of god is the government doing by agreeing to let the villagers carry out their own justice with their sanction? What the Fu*k is that all about? Look, I get it. It's the pragmatic thing to do. One dead and conflict ends versus god knows how many others in an ongoing conflict. Fine. But it's the government's job to protect its citizens, especially if they are innocent and done nothing wrong except being a prominent member of a religious minority. The fact that they wouldn't stop such a murder, let alone sanction it, means that it's failing even at its most basic function. We are living in a police state that can't police its own citizens anymore. While this maybe a good sign that the regime may be at its last throes, I fear and shudder at the anarchy that will be unleashed the moment it crumbles.


At 12/18/2005 07:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, SM, but I'm somewhat skeptical of this story for the same reasons you mentioned in your post.

At 12/18/2005 07:10:00 AM, Anonymous devilfinger said...

That sounds like horse shit to me, i doubt if the government would agree to such a thing. Doing so, the police is signalling their weakness & allowing future concessions on raised issues.IT also says that the villagers are dictating their own laws & to hell with the other laws, once you allow this, more chaos will follow.
It could be that they were convinced to stop the unecessary blood shed but that they wee given a green light to kill someone then then decided against is just a load of tosh.
Sorry, i dont believe the government would allow such a thing.

At 12/18/2005 07:21:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Guys, I am the one person who would hope more than anything for what you just said to be right. That this story to be horse-shit. Unfortunately, I am not really sure that's what's going on, and what the guy at my company mentioned rings true for more than one reason:

1)The police in Egypt is not really there to protect the people, as much as it exists to protect those in power. It's why we always say that we don't have real police, just political police. They wouldn't care if egyptians killed eachother, as long as it doesn't embaress the people in power. Such a deal achieves that splendidly. It ends the conflict quickly, stops any future escelation on the side of the muslims, and level of casualties would remain so low its under the radar of any monitoring NGO.

2)The Egyptian police has a history of looking the other way in such conflicts, and you can ask any christian about what happens in upper egypt and how the police will get out of its way not to get involved whnever a secterian conflict arises. Hell, the same goes when there is a vendetta amongst the upper egypt families. They figure "why get involved and get shot? Let them resolve their problems their own way."

3)The biggest proof that such a deal was made, that the conflict ended in one day. The report stated that the police couldn;t control the situation, and I believe it. Then how did it not escelate? The Alexandria church thing last 3 weeks, and let's not start recounting the other times such clashes occured. This ended so quickly that some kind of deal must've been made, and this kind of deal is exactly the kind that would stop the escelation. You know?

At 12/18/2005 08:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no defense for the government and its police...

I just wish that if this were true, the mob and more importantly those who are responsible for gathering this mob would be rounded up and thrown in prison for a long time to be made an example of. I still refuse to recognize that these "mobs", who are the perpetrators here in this story and in the previous scenarios we heard before, in any way represent ordinary Egyptians...the obvious proof of which is our disbelief here. We obviously have organized mobs of vagabonds who are intent on periodically meddling with our national security, if the police had any sense they would put them all where they belong.


At 12/18/2005 10:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for being on a light note here, but apart from the obvious seriousness of the subject, this line:

We are living in a police state that can't police its own citizens anymore.

Is just brilliant, brilliant writing SM. Evoces an enormously powerful picture of the situation. Keep up the good work.


At 12/18/2005 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"unless protection arrives in due time. Hundreds of Muslims from neighboring villages, screaming "Islam is the solution," "

Why does this sound like Hitler's 'final solution' ?

At 12/18/2005 03:39:00 PM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Kjartan : Thank you. That's me and my writing style in a nutshell: lots of mediocricy with the occasional flash of brilliance.

Vox: OH BOY!

At 12/18/2005 07:26:00 PM, Blogger Scorekeeper said...

Sounds more like Rosewood to me.

And Sandman you left out who will bear the brunt of the violence and destruction at first when this mob takes over... the minorities.

Can anyone tell me how to make a hot link here? The regular commands are not accepted but Jordan pulled it off in the other comments section somehow?


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