Egypt in the wake of Mubarak’s departure
Egyptians were left feeling angry, frustrated and uncertain with the country’s fluctuating political situation, a Catholic priest told the Catholic News Service just minutes before the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak was announced.
February 14, 2011
Fr Shenouda Andraos, from St. Leo Great Coptic Catholic Seminary in Cairo, said: “There is anger in the streets. We are waiting for someone to speak to the people. We never know what will happen. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. It is difficult to imagine.”
Father Andraos also said it was uncertain what role the military would take in the reconfigured government until the election planned for September.
At the same time said Comboni Sister Anna Maria Sgaramella said in an e-mail exchange from Cairo a clear sense of fear remained in the Egyptian capital. She said Egyptian television only showed the protestors in Tahrir Square while ignoring the other 80 percent of the population that was not demonstrating.
“Have they the right to be considered? There are people all over Egypt who see that the transition time is necessary, to gradually prepare the nation to become a democratic country,” she wrote.
In Luxor, 320 miles south of Cairo, the atmosphere has been quiet, said Coptic Catholic Bishop Youhannes Zakaria, although he cited the economic hardship people have experienced because the flow of tourists – the primary business driver – had dwindled since the protests erupted Jan. 25.
“In Egypt, the rich got richer and the poor got very poor,” he said, noting that young people couldn’t find work and prices for food were skyrocketing. “They want a change to democracy after 30 years of an authoritarian regime. People are willing to suffer for the change.”
A separate report by Fides quotes Fr Luciano Verdoscia, a Comboni missionary who works in Cairo saying that “celebrations went on all night” following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Regarding the immediate future for Egypt he says, “we need to see how the economy will respond, given that it has taken a hiding during these days of protests. We will see how the authorities re-establish security. If the army is able to restabilise security effectively, the tourism sector may take up its activities again.
Egypt is currently ruled by the military, by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
According to a report on Aid to the Church in Need: “The regime has always sought to divide the people to better rule,” said Amin Eskandar, a Christian and head of the opposition party, El-Karama, during an impassioned speech one of the stages of Al-Tahrir Square.
For him, and for many others, it is power that orchestrated violence and discrimination between religions, brandishing the fundamentalist threat of the Muslim Brotherhood to better reinforce his takeover of the people. “Moreover, there hasn’t been any religious violence since this revolution began,” he emphasises.
The Christian community itself is suffering from conflicts in opinion, between the Orthodox that compose the majority of the 8 million baptized people in the country: the Catholics, the Evangelicals and multiple Oriental Catholic rites; Maronites as well as Melkites…The Orthodox prelate, Chenouda III called to his faithful not to participate in the protests, whereas the Catholic Church did not offer an opinion on the uprising.
With Mubarak gone, Egypt must overcome residual fears, observers say (Catholic News Service)
Now we need to restabilise security to relaunch the economy and tourism (Fides)
We are all Egyptians (Media Release)
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