Despite Egypt’s turmoil, I am optimistic

Young Egyptian Christian provides insights into her country’s future after President Hosni Mubarak

June 22, 2011 | Young Voices
Angie Atef | Special to Canadian Mennonite

I am optimistic! That is what I tell myself from time to time, but it seems sometimes that my brother is the only one who shares this optimism with me. What is happening in Egypt does not herald anything good for the moment, but, in my opinion, it is very promising for the future.

For now, it is very clear to everyone that there is much chaos. Robberies have increased and thugs are the heroes of the daily stories. They break into and seize houses, kidnap women, children and girls, and rape them. Traffic is not organized and there are many accidents because of high speed. There is lack of security, which makes everybody feel worried and uncomfortable. The police have lost the respect of the people.

I am optimistic, however, because now I can see that people have started to rethink the value of their humanity and to consider the need to live bravely. It is not yet a mindset, but at least it has started. We have begun to include in our regular conversations considerations about how we need to feel and to show respect.

What we hear each day is very stressful and dangerous, but I think it will push the true person in us to come out and scream against killing, injustice and wrongful accusations, no matter what it will cost. We are not afraid of the cost anymore.

More than 50 cases of attacks on Coptic Christians in different forms occurred after the Jan. 25 revolution. There has been attacking, destroying and burning of churches, trumped-up accusations, fabricated fights, kidnapping girls, raping them, and demanding that people renounce Christianity.

However, I am optimistic because there are also good responses so far. For example, many violent deeds occurred over the construction of churches. Now we are about to have a draft law that unifies the conditions for the building of all places of worship. This is an awesome result we Christians could not gain before the revolution.

We Christians have also started to state our points of view, complaints, thoughts, needs and demands through the national media, not just foreign ones. Many movements emerged that aim to unify all Egyptians and to defend against the one real enemy: injustice. Many good and enlightened Muslims stand now on the same side as Christians.

We hear rumours, contradictory statements, wrong announcements and confused ideas. All these come from the same radical sources. Shocking reactions are heard and unexpected situations are created by some of those who are in authority and from leaders of political and religious parties.

Yet all political parties in Egypt have begun to state their real goals and intentions. This makes me very optimistic because it has produced a good result; the Egyptian media have started to work on increasing political awareness by discussing many current issues, like how can we select and elect a new president, why should people join certain political parties, and how we can deal with what we hear in the news. This helps a lot in identifying aims and where are we going as a society.

I am optimistic because, for the first time, Egyptians are participating in designing a new lifestyle for themselves. I’m optimistic because I see us trying to figure out what’s going on, and it means we are trying to see our actual life and accept it.

Of course, this will lead us to the solutions. I am optimistic because I am holding onto the truth that “God didn’t promise us an easy journey, but a safe arrival.” It makes me feel comfortable because I am sure that God will help us in our Egyptian journey. I am optimistic because I am sure that God will accept all the prayers for giving Egypt a peaceful life.

Angie Atef lives in Elqussia, a city in Assiut Province in Upper (southern) Egypt. She has a degree in philosophy from the University of El-Minia and works as an office manager in Assiut.

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