The biggest news had to do with the economy: people in several cities around Egypt [except Cairo], rose up in what was termed ‘the bread intifada’ reminiscent of the ‘bread intifada’ of 1977 – because the new Minister of Supplies decided to reduce the number of bread rations to people. Anger erupted and people took to the streets which made the minister retract his decision. The rations had apparently led to corruption but the way forward was not to reduce it but to supervise it more thoroughly. People chanted against the government and the minister:«باطل» و«حسبنا الله».. Several people were arrested.
On the evening of Feb 21, as the elderly Nabila Fawzi Girgis prepared for bed, two armed men knocked on her door. She told her son, Medhat, 45, not to open the door but he did. He was shoved inside then instantly shot in the head. The terrorists then asked her who else was in the house. Her husband, Saad Hakim Hanna, an elderly disabled man who could barely see or walk, was in the other room. They pushed her aside and shot him dead too, then they took what they can from the house and burnt it down. That was the final spark that prompted the exodus of 190 Coptic families from their homes in Al Arish to safer Ismailiya and on to other governorates where they had relatives.
This was not the first incident. It followed a series of incidents over the past month and many more prior to that:
- Hani – killed on the same street where Medhat lived and they robbed his store.
- Bahgat William Zakher, vetrenarian, killed in his car outside a pharmacy he owns on Feb 12.
- Adel Shawki killed in same town.
- Gamal Tewfik Girgis, 50, teacher and owner of a shoe store, killed inside his store in the middle of a public market at the hands of extremists on Feb 15.
- Wael Yousef Samaan, killed inside his store in front of his wife and children.
- Kamel Raouf Romani, a plumber, killed on Feb 23. The terrorists followed him to his home in Al Zuhur district, and he ran to the roof where they slaughtered him and then burnt his home and its entire contents.
March news 2017:
- Kom El Loofi [March 10th]: Copts of Kom El Loofi congregated in the Samaloot Bishophric to protest the governmental security apparatus who had promised them earlier to re-open the village church in which they prayed, after the ‘extremists’ refused to permit it. The church building had been closed for 7 years now and Christians are forced to travel several kilometers to access a church.
The Minya security cief met with Copts in Kom El Loofi and stated that he did not want any clashes just because of the opening of a church and that he just needed time to convince the extremists to open it. This ‘convincing’ process has taken 8 months and still the church remains closed.
The question is: what type of state permits extremists to dictate their conditions to allow some people to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of religion?
[images by journalist Nader Shukri]
President Sisi visited Aswan to attend a conference on youth. While there he stated ‘if Egypt is lost, it will never return.’ He also stated that Egypt is poorer than anyone can imagine. Sisi was uncharacteristically silent about US president’s statements that he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem. When pressured, he responded vaguely [since he is a friend of Drumpf’s] that he does not want to “complicate matters.”
Meanwhile the anniversary of the Jan 25, 2011 revolution passed quietly and without incidence. There weren’t even attempts at demonstrations. It was business as usual. The military congratulated the president on the ‘Jan 25 Revolution’ and stated that ‘it is a people’s revolution that was protected by the military.’ This, of course, is contrary to the entire rhetoric of the pro-Sisi people who claim that it was not a revolution or anything but chaos and a conspiracy, and an attempt at bringing Egypt down.
القوات المسلحة تهنئ الرئيس بذكرى ثورة «25 يناير»: «ثورة شعب حماها الجيش» | المصري اليوم
President Sisi attended the Cathedral 7 January celebration with much fanfare.
He also announced a week later that he would donate LE100k to build a cathedral and a mosque in the New Administrative City after which several other parliamentarians donated to the same cause.