The arrest of Rami Kamel sparked anxiety among a segment of Coptic youth because they saw themselves in him, and they did not imagine this could happen after the revolution of June 30, which they supported. Other current of the elite used the incident for their own benefit or to take revenge from their rivals. The Coptic elite is simply confused just like the rest of the Egyptian elite. They can’t realize the changes and are dealing from religious and partial aspect.
For 40 years I have been following the Coptic Christian situation. They are divided and conflicting as if they came from different backgrounds. In fact, I could mark 3 groups of them in the last decade: One came out from the walls of the church, the second took the church outside its walls, and the third offers spiritual protest.
The first group has rebelled against the Church and adopted positions and paths focused on criticism of the Church and the clergy. They really belong to the church even though they use a impolite speech.
The second group appeared in 2010 in front of Giza administrative building after the events of the Umraniyya Church, and the demonstrations that followed the bombings of the Church of the Saints in Alexandria. They got rid of their fear and expressed their point of views outside the church walls united with their fellow Muslims.
The third category are mainly the men of power and always benefit from getting close to the church, but they only target personal benefits and some of them performed this role even with the Islamists.
However, there is a new generation that realizes the importance of the homeland and the identity of the church. They are able to protest and perform peaceful struggle. They choose to protest by praying and start signatures collection campaigns and achieve what is needed without seeking personal benefits like other beneficiaries.
This new generation rejoice in reaping an old crumbling church more than the most beautiful Cathedrals of the world since they toiled to reopen it in prayers and with the authorities.
Will the officials and clergy realize the identity of this generation belonging to digital revolution? The case is bigger than Rami Kamel, but it has become an indicator of disappointment with the majority of Coptic elites caring only for their personal interests at the time the new generation is able to negotiate and struggle for their Coptic cause. Will this reflect renewal of religious discourse in the church that is still offering martyrs every now and then?