Perhaps the single greatest reason for our parents’ emigration from Egypt tocountries like the United States, Canada, and Great Britain was their desireto ensure a better life for their children. It was thishope which carriedthem through the struggle of leaving their homeland and starting over intheir adoptive countries.
It was their hope that we would share in economic and educationalopportunities that were not possible for them in Egypt.
Growing up in the United States, I heard countless stories of Christianstudents being denied proper grades and applicants being turned away fromjobs despite proper qualifications. There were reports of governmentalinjustices such as the listing of religion on national identification cardsand unwanted religious instruction in public school. Of course, there werealso the more notorious stories of unpunished kidnappings, beatings,murders. The criminals were seldom brought to justice; rather, they wereacquitted, declared mentally unstable, or they were brought to“reconciliation sessions” with the aggrieved. In addition to these crimes,a greater injustice was done to the psyche of the community.
Thepreponderance of these incidents and their retelling in conversation,newsletters, etc can implant a culture of victimhood.
The regime moved slowly, made promises, and excuses, but seldom tookconcrete actions. Many Egyptians abroad attempted to help Copts in Egypt bypetitioning President Hosni Mubarak for change.
After all, he may have nothave taken any steps to help the Church, but at least it seemed he was notactively oppressing them-a fact which is best left to history to decide.
After the New Year's church bombing, many Egyptian Muslims changed their Facebook profile pictures and statuses to reflect nationalistic sentiment.
Many Muslims volunteered to be human shields for Copts at their churches. This show of solidarity surprised some in the American Coptic community. However, it showed the world how close these communities can be.
Some American Copts, perhaps prompted by various media outlets, reacted with fear to the uprising believing it to be a bid for power by the Muslim Brotherhood. To the minority of those American Copts who believe this you also may believe that the demonstrators were persuaded to risk their well-being for some fast food.
On 25 January, thousands of Egyptians took to Tahrir Square to call for change. Egyptians stood in the square for 18 days braving physical harm in the hopes of achieving freedom for Egypt. And it was Egyptians who have given their brothers and sisters across the globe, as well as in Egypt, a reason to hope.
This new generation of Egyptians made history in 18 days. The protesters might have been your neighbors and school friends had our parents not emigrated. As it stands, they championed our Beloved Egypt. They are heroes.
Their courage has created an opportunity for a new Egypt. It is time for Egyptians living abroad to contribute. Celebrate your history, arrange a group visit, or simply tell everyone how proud you are of your brothers and sisters who stood up for our country. Above all, let’s begin this new era in the history of our country not as Copts or Muslims, but as proud Egyptians.