Showing posts with label Coptic Orthodox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coptic Orthodox. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Must Reads: Middle East Minority Perspectives

Some important international headlines to ponder, glued as we've been to East Coast hurricane news and U.S. presidential campaign coverage:

The largest Christian denomination in the Middle East, the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt, named a new leader this weekend, the BBC reports. The photos are inspiring, with an explanation of how the choice among the top-three candidates was left "in the hands of God."

From the New Yorker: An absolutely gripping tale about a U.S. Iraq war veteran who, tormented by a battle where Americans killed civilians including three members of an Armenian Christian family, sought out his victims' relatives now living in California. In a story highlighed by NPR and Charlie Rose, read how Dexter Filkins' interviews at a Baghdad hospital and subsequent stories facilitated forgiveness from the sins of war. Journalism at its best.

Then, a BBC essay on Izmir, the West Coast city once called Smyrna. It is among the Turkish locales flooded with Syrian refugees. This piece addresses what we have been asked to forget: Turkey still is "scarred by wanton killing and destruction in World War I." Fergan Keane writes,
"Gone are the streets in which the voices of Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Levantines and Jews mingled ... prayed and made music and told stories in the narrow lanes of the bazaar and by the glittering water of the Aegean."
That brings us to New York Times review last week of wildly popular Turkish movie, "Conquest 1453," dramatizing the Ottoman capture of Constantinople, now Istanbul. Fascination with the era has launched TV shows and other projects. The author juxtaposes opinion:
  • Says Melis Behlil, a film studies professor at Kadir Has University: “The Ottoman revival is good for the national ego" ... but films like "Conquest 1453 are engaging in cultural revisionism and glorifying the past without looking at history in a critical way."
  • Says Burak Temir, a German-Turkish actor who learned to sword fight and use a bow and arrow for an Ottoman-era show: “It makes me proud to be Turkish.”
Turkey is diligently working to establish its political dominance as Egypt, Iraq and Syria struggle. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan just met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, underscoring tensions as Turkey pushes 2023 membership in the European Union, reports Der Speigel, the German newspaper. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz emphasizes his plans to visit the Gaza strip.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas Chant

May blessings shower on you and yours today and always!
Have patience with this lovely video because at the end of it, you realize that daily war news from the Middle East overshadows so much good there - of all faiths.
Imagine the life of Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt & nearby places.
Source on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvjiVam2HO4

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exiting Cairo

The alleged cause of deadly violence against Egypt's minority Coptic Orthodox Christians over the weekend mirrors themes in Cairo Exit, a gripping film we saw in New York's Tribeca Film Fest two weeks ago.
Update from the Economist 5/11: the latest Christian-Muslim conflict "in the Cairo slum of Imbaba on May 7th, left 12 people dead, more than 200 injured and several churches smashed, with one burned to cinders along with Christian-owned shops and homes. The trouble began when a small group of Salafists—Muslims inspired by Saudi-style puritanism ... marched on a church in response to rumours that a female convert to Islam had been kidnapped and was being held there.” The churches: St. Menas church in the slum and a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, according to the UK's Daily Mail.
In the movie, a Coptic girl and a Muslim guy, both from slums, fall in love and their only hope is escape from Egypt, to Greece, where the economically-frustrated masses blame immigrants for problems. There is no exit!
I won't tell you how Cairo Exit ended, but Egyptian-American Director Hesham Issawi shot the film before the revolution in Egypt raged; read his insights on the Tribeca Film Fest blog.
Copts were protected under former President Mubarak, they were loyal, and now they are suffering the consequences. I've heard people say that Copts are resented because a number of them are rich, though there are more Christians in slums.
The violence is not new. In 1996, I talked with Copts who feared reprisals just for talking with me about a new Coptic Church near Palatine, Illinois for the Chicago Tribune. The design was based on a Cairo church. I also included a Coptic timeline that's still online.
Here's the Wall Street Journal's sad slide show on the weekend events and the WSJ article . Also, a WSJ Feb 1 piece with more background including December bombings.
Also: one blogger's review of Cairo Exit. Cairo Exit is an official selection of the European Independent Film Fest 2011 according to Facebook, but it's not released yet. No trailers, no Netflix.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"warts & all"

The New York Times offers up Turkey as the model for Egypt's reformation - with a twist of Islam. Fascinating that the first quote comes from a formerly objective journalist, Hugh Pope, who is now an apologist for Turkey. The model offers little hope for Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Christians. Will Copts continue to live without adequate protection, and dwindle in numbers -- and in unsavory ways -- like the minorities trapped in the demise of Ottoman Turkey? In Alexandria, a church bomb killed more than 20 in December, the most recent on a long list of intimidations.