Chronicles of “peace, peace”
The horrifying violence in Egypt — well, I have been reading about it from this very safe distance, from where we see what we have been shown. In this case, we have been shown a lot of tear gas & rat-tat-tat from two locations in Cairo, with cuts to statesmen deploring it all, & calling for “peace, peace.” The chorus declares that violence is “not going to solve anything” (which is a lie), that Egypt must return to “inclusive democracy” (which was the cause of the violence).
Elsewhere in the country, there is more violence, that is not being shown. The Muslim Brotherhood, presented as victims of brutality in the vicinity of the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, & Nahda Square, have been attacking undefended government buildings, Christian churches, Christian monasteries, Christian schools, a Christian orphanage, & Christian homes. Through such Internet sources as MidEast Christian News, I have seen multiple accounts from Alexandria, Assiut, & at least seven other governates, in each of which Islamist devils have responded to viciously demented propaganda blaming Egypt’s defenceless Copts for the Muslim Brotherhood’s loss of power.
The destruction of Mar Girgiss (Saint George), the cathedral church for the diocese of Sohag, was among these many “incidents.” From my travels among the Copts in Egypt, all the details were familiar. The church was thoroughly firebombed by the jihadis, after they had made helter-skelter with the icons & statuary inside. By the time a fire truck arrived, more than an hour after the flames went up, the church was gutted. The jihadis then hijacked & wrecked the fire truck. They made no special effort to conceal their identities; & no arrests were reported. If there ever is an arrest, the police will need an army brigade behind them to perform it. In the meanwhile, it is likely local Christians will be dragged to a “reconciliation” session, in which they will be physically humiliated & made to pay indemnities to buy a break from the persecution.
That is Christian life in Egypt today. When Mohamed Morsi came to power, things became considerably worse for them than under Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian military at least had the decency not to join in the attacks; local police were unpredictable. While Morsi delivered the usual blather about “peace, peace” to the cameras, his brownshirts were going to work on the Christians, & on many secularized Muslims, too. Pogroms are intrinsic to the Islamist conception of Shariah: religious minorities are to be exiled, enslaved, or exterminated. Attacks on them are celebrated as holy acts, & any assailant who manages to get himself killed in the course of the carnage is hailed as a martyr.
Notwithstanding the pusillanimity of our statesmen & media, & the veil of political correctness that we draw over our own heads, most people in the West know the score by now. We’d rather pretend that we did not know, but we know. All Egyptians most certainly know it. The great majority are reasonably decent people. Only the usual minority of thugs, who exist as a proportion in every society, join in the rampages. For the rest, as for the Germans under Hitler, the best thing is to look the other way. Why intervene, & thereby make yourself a target? Perhaps, make your whole family a target? And when it is all over, & the shame descends for what was done, & the truth begins to rise from the ashes, there is nothing else for it but, “We never knew!”
Sohag (soft “g,” also spelt “Sawhaj” & “Suhaj”), in a verdant plain on the left bank of the Nile, about ten miles north of Abydos, was formerly known as Girga (soft “g”s again). The town is seldom visited by tourists, for it has little to offer by way of Disneyland spectacle, & while its museum is full of interesting things, there are bigger & better air-conditioned museums elsewhere. It has been a town since at least the 11th Dynasty — for more than four thousand years — although one cannot see this beneath contemporary squalor. Archaeological fragments in the district go back to the 1st Dynasty. It was an important agricultural & industrial centre in Roman times, known internationally for the quality of its pottery.
It was a significant cultural centre before the Islamic Conquest, in the heart of the ancient Thebaid: a landscape once cluttered with highly productive monasteries. Christians from the earliest generations lie buried in its necropoles. The Girga Road led to the Kharga Oasis, another rich centre of early Christian civilization. Papyrus fragments still wash up, in Coptic & in Greek, from the libraries that were once part of a sophisticated civic environment. Two ancient monasteries remain on the outskirts of the town — to my knowledge not yet gutted by the Islamist savages; their monks not yet slaughtered. Christians remain a substantial minority in the town, for the time being.
The restored military regime — for that is what it is regardless of what the U.S. State Department cares to call it — remains popular, even as it butchers the very people whom “the people” so recently voted into power (by a tiny margin). The Western media, so enchanted by the scenery of the Arab Spring, lost interest in the follow-up. Now they want numbers, just numbers, for how many have been killed. If they have a good number — hundreds is good; thousands is better — the “story” could be front-paged for two or three days. Then it goes back to Iraq-level coverage: a dozen here & a dozen there, from one Islamist bomb or another. Hardly big news. That is what “democracy” is about: numbers.
John Kerry is tied up with the latest vanity, using what’s left of American clout in the region to force unwilling Israelis “back to the bargaining table” with unwilling Palestinians. The Israelis were pushed into releasing more bloody murderers from their gaols, as a “sweetener” to lure Mahmoud Abbas to the table. The first of these have now returned to the standard heroes’ welcome in Gaza & West Bank — where every Jew-killer is a hero.
Again, the “two state solution,” on “the road to peace.” Kerry is full of it: “peace, peace.” Twenty years have now passed since the Americans strong-armed (or “jet-planed,” the old Maoist term) the Israelis into turning over the occupied territories, & with that the Palestinian people, to Yasser Arafat’s terrorists. That was “Oslo I,” the “interim agreement”; the “final status” deadline was 1998. All the little details, such as who owns Jerusalem, would be worked out by then.
If Arafat’s successor ever signed on to a genuine “two state solution,” he would be lynched. The Palestinian authorities — now essentially Hamas — will & can accept nothing short of a “one state solution” in which every Jew is removed from greater Palestine, just as Jews have been removed from every other Arab country; & as every last Christian may be removed, one day.
And still the State Department goes through the motions, along with all the other Western diplomats, muttering “peace, peace.” These are profoundly cynical men. I am incapable of believing they do not know what they are doing.
Through history we have learnt, again & again & without exception, that nothing comes of negotiating with psychopaths. Or rather, worse than nothing. When they are strong, they resort to force without hesitation; when they are weak, they play for time. Nor does the dumping of billions in aid, & all the baubles of modern commerce, change the outlook. The ruthless take it all in their stride, without the slightest gratitude, as an admission of our weakness. It enables them to be more obdurate.
Peace comes, & comes only, in this world, with the strength of enforcement. It does not come from prattling with the psychos; it comes from rendering them powerless. The Egyptian military understands this from intimate dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood; & now the fickle Egyptian public, from first-hand experience of Brotherhood rule. You do not go half way with these people: you destroy them, or they destroy you. Turn your cheek & they slit your throat.
It would be more merciful, all round, if we stopped trying to appease our mortal enemies, to see if it might somehow work this time. Whether dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas — as with Communists or Nazis in another generation — nothing is achieved by pulling punches, or offering to “jaw.” What works, what has always worked, is unambiguous: “If you do this, we will do that.” And then deliver on the nail, as promised. The choice is not between war & peace; it is between little war now & big war later.
The Egyptian military did what it had to do. They told the Brotherhood to remove their camps from the middle of Cairo, or have them removed. The regime acted exactly as it threatened to act, when the Brotherhood did not move. It should continue to act, with resolution. There is no mealymouthed advice the world can give, to which the officers should listen; none to which the Israelis should listen. They, not we, take the consequences of irresolution.
In Egypt, we should note that the fate of ten million Christians is on the line. Either the Muslim Brotherhood will be uprooted, or the Christians will be uprooted. There is no “third way,” & those who speak & act as if there were have effectively taken sides, with evil.