The Muslim Brotherhood’s official website claimed that the ‘Black Bloc’ is a Coptic Militia. Suzy Hanna takes a look.
Sometimes it seems that Coptic Christians are to the Muslim Brotherhood what the bogeyman is to small children. Shadows of unseen monsters haunt nightmares; hiding, waiting, ready to attack and steal innocence, turning the deepest and darkest fears into a reality. It seems that the real fear instilled by these monsters lies in that they are hiding in the place where you feel safest and they are ready to foil the fortress that you have created for yourself.
The first time I had heard of ‘Black Bloc’ was while watching an interview live with a man during Egypt’s two year anniversary protests. The man wearing black clothing, home-made defense gear, including a helmet and shield and carrying home-made weapons such as a baton was asked by the journalist “Are you part of the Black Bloc?’ The man answered firmly, “Absolutely not, we are separate to them. We are defending the protestors. What I know of the Black Bloc is that they are attacking.” And with that, I was introduced to Egypt’s Black Bloc, who in the three days since their emergence has been linked by the official Muslim Brotherhood website to Coptic militia. The Black Bloc has been accused of torching government headquarters and vandalising public property during unrests marking the 2nd anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
Historically, the Black Bloc is a tactic used in protests against anti protest police and security. It first emerged in Europe in the 1970’s and is used internationally today. The Egyptian Black Bloc has issued a 3 minute video in which they state that they are against the tyranny and fascism of the Brotherhood and denounce ties with any group. In the video, they state that they will not speak to the media, nor will they use social media to communicate. They wave the Egyptian and anarchist flags and hold signs denouncing the Brotherhood. They end the video with the Guy Fawkes mask, a popular symbol for protest.
How does all of this link back with the Coptic Church? Your guess is as good as mine.
For a minority population recently counted to be 5 million by official statistics (which the Coptic Church adamantly rejected) living in a population of close to 90 million, I am often surprised by the prevalence of the widely accepted belief (at least by the Muslim Brotherhood) of the danger posed by the Copts and their hold of responsibility on every attack to security. Widespread rumors exist of monasteries hiding weapons and kidnapped women. Theories of the hierarchy of the Church, such as Bishops responsible for youth affairs, mirroring potential Ministers of a breakaway state are prevalent.
Theories and rumors are nothing new in Egyptian society. But when the official website of the government promotes as fact that the Black Bloc are actually a Coptic militia, one must question, what is it about this minority that allows the Brotherhood to believe that they are capable of every violent attack on the land? How can this ‘5 million’ people be found to be responsible for every attack, every protest and every problem facing Egypt? If they are so powerful and violent and armed, why are they constantly jailed, beaten and murdered and have yet to use these extraordinary powers to fight back?
The Muslim Brotherhood needs to grow out of their fears of their bogeyman and face the reality that as every childhood monster, the bogeyman is nothing but a reflection of your own fears brought on solely by your own actions.
Suzy Hanna is member of The Australian Coptic Movement Association working within the media and public relations area. With a Bachelor in Law/Arts, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Bachelor in Arts (Honours) and Bachelor in Secondary Teaching, Suzy’s education and personal interest in sociological affairs of Copts and Egypt has seen her on the front lines of elevating the Coptic Cause. Suzy has fronted an array of media outlets including SBS Broadcasting, Sky and the Sydney Morning Herald. You can contact Suzy via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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