Besides the declaration of a state of emergency, there are several significant events and measures taken since the bombings: [please note all new updates will be at the very end of this post]
First: By the Regime:
I do not believe I have to write yet another post on a Coptic massacre – but it seems this is the case. On April 9th, 2017, as Copts went to their churches in Egypt waving their palm leaves to celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Passion Week, at 9.05 am two bombs went off – one in the St. George Church in Tanta, and the second in the St. Mark Church in Alexandria where the Coptic Pope had just finished prayers and had stepped out for a break. The St. Mark bomb was placed inside the altar where the Pope should have been. The majority of the deacons died in the blast as they sang the liturgy. No one still knows where the Tanta bomb was placed, but there are allegations that it exploded at the entrance of the church by a suicide bomber even though the damage inside the church was massive. The initial count of the total number of deaths was 45 [later increased to 50] and the injured 126, among them 10 in critical condition.
Parliamentarian Haytham al Hariri explaining why the decision was wrong.
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.
I’ve delayed my weekly review because so much was happening and I had no time to write a review. This, therefore, will be a quick month’s review of the most important and most absurd:
A rift occurred between Saudi Arabia and Egypt when Egypt voted against and for the same resolution, supporting US/Saudi but also supporting Putin/Assad. The foreign minister justified that by claiming they were looking for the best interest of Syria. However Saudi Arabia did not take to it kindly and the following day Aramco oil company announced they will stop shipments to Egypt. Initially Egypt denied it was because of the rift and said it was merely postponed, but then Aramco confirmed it. Egypt responded with banning omra for Egyptians.
Another incident occurred which did not cause a rift but caused outrage among Egyptians: the Saudi president of the Islamic Conference in Tunisia, Iyad Madani who addressed the president of Tunisia and called him ‘Sisi’ then apologized with a laugh and stated that he did not mean to insult the president of Tunisia by calling him Sisi [his name is Sebsi which is very close]. He then told him ‘I am sure your fridge has more than water’ – referring to Sisi’s statement earlier that week that he had no water in his fridge for 10 years. Egyptians went ballistic and there was a social media war of words between Saudis and Egyptians. Parliament considered it an insult and the media attacked Madani and everyone demanded his resignation. Although he apologized, he nevertheless resigned a week later citing health concerns. A Saudi writer wrote a satirical article entitled ‘It is not acceptable to interfere in Sisi’s fridge‘.
Opinion: while I normally do not express opinion in reviews, I just would like to say that I disapprove of the entire situation with Iyad Madani. It is not a matter of a Saudi making fun of the Egyptian president but had it been an Egyptian making fun of a Saudi, it would have been considered an insult as well. Having said that, I recognize the situation is a cultural matter – where Arabs unfortunately do not take kindly to satirizing or criticizing their leaders. I laughed at Madani’s comments but realized they would definitely be problematic in an Arab culture. If you can’t take it, then also don’t give it. Continue reading
London has traditionally been the European headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a strategic hub and nerve center for many years. Egyptians have long been baffled by UK’s provision of asylum for Islamists – including violent and inciting terrorists such as Abu Hamza Al Masri and a myriad others. TV host Yousef Al Hosseiny wanted to investigate the Brotherhood’s activities in the UK, and he produced an independent documentary of his and his team’s findings entitled al Tanzeem [The Organization] which aired earlier this month. The documentary purports to be the first inside look into the Brotherhood and its subsidiaries as an organization, its activities, companies, its complex network of charities, and media, as well as the countries that have supported it. The Brotherhood, according to the documentary is run by a number of organizations and is supported by media and social media. They work towards spreading their ideology and providing the necessary support to armed groups in the Middle East. Continue reading