The recent killings in Nag Hamadi have engendered various reactions throughout Egyptian society. Some have cursed the darkness, while others have closed up their eyes and ears altogether. Some, however, have been spurred to action, but sensitivity, distance—geographically and culturally, and ignorance make it terribly difficult to know what to do. We at the Center for Arab West Understanding (CAWU) find ourselves in this third grouping. We have a project designed to encourage peacemaking, and we have a region in Nag Hamadi which is in need of peace. We also possess internal compunction to make a difference, but find these motivations are like the hitting of a head against a wall; what can we do? With fractions of ideas we sought counsel from a trusted advisor, Bishop Marcos of the Coptic Orthodox Church, of the diocese of Shubra al-Khayma.
Bishop Marcos, in addition to providing spiritual leadership for an influential district of Cairo is also the point person for communication activities of the church. He also serves as a board member for CAWU, and has provided us with advice and insight for many years. Our group was composed of Eng. Sawsan Gabra, head of CAWU, Osama al-Ghazoly, and Jayson Casper, and shortly after arrival we welcomed additional parties to our conversation.
Bishop Marcos had informed us by telephone as we sought to gain an audience with him that he was traveling on Sunday to Nag Hamadi with a delegation from the United States and Australia. The news that he was to visit the area was encouraging—we hope that he might provide great service to the church and city—but what was this foreign delegation?
As we began our conversation the facts became clear and Bishop Marcos introduced us to the foreigners in question… (click here to continue)