Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 25: International Day of Solidarity with the Egyptian Democracy Movement

The details are here from Unecessary and Not Very Diverting Musings (link).

And here are some more details in the event in America from Freedom for Egyptians (link)


forsoothsayer said...

how come you're interested in middle eastern issues?

DavidNic said...

Back in January I was doing a series of posts on the week of Christian Unity. I focused on the Coptic Church. I had always been interested, but never did a great deal of research. Mostly into our theological differences and the beauty of their faith. But not alot about the daily life.

As I was doing the posts I saw the great troubles they went through. I did more research and saw some of the other issues in Egypt.

Although I am religious I believe in secualr democracies. People should always have the option to choose their own government and practice whatever faith they choose as long as it does not harm others.

As I was doing my posts I started talking to Copts in other countries and in Egypt. I quickly grew to like the people I was talking to.

I thought that it would be right to use the blog to draw awareness to these issues. Even if only one person read it, that would be one more person who thought.

Working at Penn State I also work with students from all over the world. A muslim whose family was from Iran was one of the guy in my wedding party.

I began to wonder why Islam in other nations takes such a different form from Islam in the Middle East.

I always have reflex opinions on things, that's just human nature. But I thought that these issues are too important to have reflex opinions, they require informed opinions. All issues do really.

So I am also trying to become more informed at the same time.

DavidNic said...

So, I guess to sum up. It just happened :)

forsoothsayer said...

well thanks :) i just wanted to say tho...the copts i nthe diaspora have a tendency to sensationalize and believe anything, so inquire closely into the facts.

DavidNic said...

I've noticed that can happen. I think that is a combination of passion for the issue and poor flow of news. Sometimes so many bad things have happened that it's possible to believe anything will happen. That itself is a reflection of the issues.

Hopefully if free elections come about there will be a better information flow.

I try to use sources from Egypt and note in my posts when they are not yet verified. There have been times when I note that something is only from one source and that it is not strictly speaking a news service.

Of all the western sources the BBC seems to be the most on the ball about mid-east issues. Blogs are good sources, but I try to verifiy blog sources with backup.

Thanks for the advice though. Every bit of advice is helpful.

Egypeter said...


As always, thanks for your efforts!

fosoothsayer -

I take offense to your last comment. As a member of the Coptic diaspora, I don't think that's fair!

With that said, sometimes things may be exagerrated a bit, taken out of context or whatever. And considering the Egyptian government I would think you could understand how news DOESN'T get around. If it's not favorable for Muburak, you can forget about reading it in the paper. And since most sectarian issues reflect poorly on the ruling party then they simply don't report it.

Let's also not forget, it's hard to get totally accurate information when an incident happens in a remote village in Upper Egypt...but they happen...and all the time.

In all honesty, it's tough to sensationalize:

-getting stabbed in your church while praying
-Never being able to repair or build a church when there are MILLIONS of mosques in Egypt
-discrimination in every aspect of life b/c you're a Christian
-No sensationlization needed for a 5000 person crazy muslim mob trying to burn down a Church
-Coptic abductions/forced conversion/forced marriages.

The list goes on and on and on.

While some things may be exagerrated... MOST ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Anyway, God bless you in your efforts Dave!!! The Copts of Egypt have a very special person who is praying for them and concerned for them. A person who understands that WE ARE ALL ONE MEMBER OF THE SAME BODY. We are children of Christ and no one understands that better than you Dave!

Keep up the great work brother!

DavidNic said...

Thanks as always for your kind words Peter. I’ve seen these disagreements on other blogs. Ultimately I think that the two of you are not far apart.

The basic fact is that without a secular democracy we will always have to be searching and digging for news and verification.

I think here we have a disagreement between two people who agree that freedom for the people of Egypt would be the best solution.

It was on forsoothsayers blog that I found out about the unified demonstrations on the 25th.

And it has been my great blessing to know Peter and his heart on these issues.

One would have to search for a long time to find someone who cares about people who suffer more deeply than Peter. So I think this is not the normal:

“Copts exaggerate, nothing is going on.” Vs “Yes it does” argument.

a lot of times you hear news and say to yourself, “That can’t be right.” Then it is.

The things that get exaggerated usually get that way for the same reasons:

Poor flow of information due to
governmental restrictions

Poor flow of information due to media disinterest

The passion people have for the issue

Precedent leads us to believe anything because it usually has happened before and has been verified.

There are examples both ways.

During the recent troubles during holy week the news reported that two people died in the riots that followed. They mentioned a Muslim man as one person, but never mentioned the other.

At the same time some blogs reported that a young Coptic child had been killed. There was no verification or follow up on the identity of the second death in blogs or in the mainstream media that initially reported two deaths in addition to the man killed at the church.

But since George Shahata died in January it was not beyond belief that another child could be killed. Young Georges death was verified by every major news outlet both inside and outside the region.

Another example was the report the other day about attacks on May 10th. There has been no verification and no follow up from the same source. But because it was only a month ago that there were knife attacks in Alexandria, it is not hard to believe.

The fact is that everyone who has posted here so far has been of the same mind (I think) and can be summed up like this:

People are suffering. They are suffering based on religion and place in society. They are suffering based on their desire to say what they think in a free manner.

A situation exists that has resulted in the deaths of good people who are doing nothing wrong. People are against this situation; one that makes unverified news easy to believe because some of the verified news is worse than some of the unverified.

People are not free and are tortured. The degree does not matter, because it is happening.

But it is incumbent upon those who take on the responsibility of raising awareness, to make sure that they are reporting on things as accurately as possible given the situation.

Only a solid voice in unity that speaks against this situation (that would cause the discrimination against one or one million) can help.

So for the event on the 25th. Let us go if we can and if we can’t then follow the info in the link to email, phone or fax in unity with everyone else.

And for those who do, offer our prayers constantly that everyone in Egypt will be free to live as they choose as long as they do not harm others.

Free to have their own religion without fear. Free to question their government and voice their opinion.

May the homeland you both share be free of these troubles that can cause a misunderstanding between two people of good heart.

may God bless us all and watch over those who suffer

And on a totally un-important side note. Peter, I heard today the Cubs are thinking of trading Mark Prior. It was on Mike and Mike in the morning ESPN Radio. Any reaction to that in Chicago?

Freedom for Egyptians said...


I guess we are only lucky to have your support:) Simple as such.

forsoothsayer said...

I'M a copt in he diaspora too you know. however, i've also been a copt in egypt, and i can tel lthe difference between hard evidence and rumour.
for example, forced abductions and such like...there is no evidence on this that i regard as being valid. when i read a primary report by one such person, subtantiated by witnesses, and not in a tabloid, ill believe it.