Suzy Hanna speaks about her dream for Egypt.
I started writing this a week ago when I was teaching about political activism to my year 8 Geography Class. My admiration for Martin Luther King was reignited and I wanted to write a Coptic version. Since then, events in Egypt (as always) have escalated. I made some additions to bring in the latest events, but this has been my sentiments for a very long time.
Five decades ago, a heroic leader gave an empowering speech that contributed to the liberation of minority groups around the world. Although primarily aimed at highlighting the plight of African Americans, it inspired activists to move and change the situations of the vulnerable across the world. It is said that it inspired the Freedom Rides in Australia, which contributed to the 1967 Referendum allowing Indigenous Australians to be counted in the Census, as citizens of their Nation and not just flora and fauna. All of this because of one man’s dream.
Martin Luther King had a dream that the African American would be treated as an equal, under the shelter of justice and peace. Likewise, I have a dream.
I have a dream that I will not be judged by my visible hair and that my humanity will not diminish by the Cross that adorns my neck. I have a dream that my car will not be damaged because of the Cross decorating my mirror and that my hands will not be tied because of the Cross tattooed to my wrist.
I am the Indigenous of Egypt- I love my country and my people. It is my ancestors that built marvels of the world such as the Pyramids. The mighty Sphinx is in the image of my great ancestor. My Coptic language was used to translate the Rosetta Stone. I only know the language of culture, art, technology, and advancement. I do not know the languages of hatred and violence. These foreign concepts are unfathomable to me- they are not mine, nor my people’s.
I have a dream that Egypt will return to its status as the cradle of civilization- as the measurement of intellect, technology and culture. My people are known for their contributions to drama, music, literature and art. Yet today, the cradle of civilization has become a gravesite tainted by blood, surrounded by the stench of death. The daily torture that streams into living rooms through media around the world have engraved tombstones with strange words in a language we as Egyptians cannot understand.
Yet, I have a dream that the present will become a glorious history, taught in schools around the world- a lesson for all generations to learn from. I have a dream that the overthrow of a violent tyrant, by peaceful demonstrators whose simplicity is evident in their choice of communication- a red card to show his ‘ousting’ by them from the political field- will be called a Revolution, rather than its protectors overshadowing its title, with foreign media painting an inaccurate portrait of events. I have a dream that children around the world will be taught that revolutions and change can come about peacefully. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that the Arab Spring, which brought forth so much promise only to change into a bitter Winter, may change seasons once more and go back to the Spring of hope and new life. I have a dream that the blood that watered the thirsty desert soil of Egypt shall give fruits of a revolutionary society, built on a foundation of hope and sacrifice. I have a dream that in Egypt, the Nile will be the only river of which its people drink, not succumbing to drinking of the rivers of tears wept by mothers for their slain children. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that Church bells, along with the Azan from the neighbouring Mosque, will sing to the tune of a better tomorrow. The same sun that rises on the Muslim and Christian people, warming the desert land, will shine upon all of its Egyptian children, equally and without partiality. As the sun does not differentiate between Christians and Muslims, I dream that Egypt’s children will love her brothers and sisters equally. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that the Egyptian flag will be the only flag that flies over Egypt, shielding her children from all enemies. The red, white and black and gold eagle may erase the darkness that tries to overtake. The flag would fly proudly near the great Cross and near the great Crescent, side by side. I have a dream that the Egyptian flag is revered and respected. That people adorn themselves in its beauty wrapping themselves with the cover of its protection, rather than burning it to the ground. I have a dream that this happens as the people sing powerfully, words that make the ground tremble with force while the people sing- “My country my country my country, to you is my love and loyalty.” I have a dream today.
I have a dream that in the same manner that I fight with my own brother, fights between Christians and Muslims may be resolved. After an airy word may bring a fleeting pain, he takes me into his warm embrace and whispers, “I’m sorry. Don’t be upset, you’re my sister and I love you.” And with that, it would all be forgotten. The nightmare of Christian houses being set alight, shops looted, property destroyed and thousands of lives under threat and tens lost would be a fleeting fear and nothing more. I have a dream today.
I have a dream where all nations- superpowers or not- will allow Egypt’s people to choose her own destiny- to make judgments based on her needs and desires- notwithstanding conflicting interests. I have a dream that Egypt will no longer be divided- a unified body where all its parts come together in the perfect form of humanity working for a glorified, unified goal. Dividing Egypt and instilling a separate state is not and will not be in our minds. There is and will only be One Egypt- one people, one nation. The dream of eish, horeya, 3adala ektame3ya- bread, freedom and social justice/equality- will be a reality, chanted for by all of its people, from the north to the south, from the east to the west.
Let each wave in Alexandria clap to applaud this dream. Let the Port of Port Said defend this dream and fortify her, keeping at bay the tears of anguished mothers weeping for her children. Let both Upper and Lower Egypt come together to embrace her children, reassuring her that this dream will be a reality. Let Cairo, the heart of Egypt, beat to the tune of hope and dreams. Let Luxor and Giza testify to the glorious future that awaits Egypt. Let Halayeb and Shalateen and Sinai rest assured that they will not be sold for any price, that every particle of dust in Egypt is precious. Let them rest assured that the terrorist attacks rocking them will be but a distant memory. The terrorists will lose this war as Egypt comes together hand in hand as one nation to defend itself with Nobility and Justice against all of her enemies and oppressors. Burning Churches cannot burn our faith. Burning police stations cannot burn our bravery. Burning the Alexandrian Library cannot burn our history. Murdering innocents will not kill our spirits. You will lose and we will win. Nigh time ends with dawn and this is the dawn of a new day. As I watch Muslims clean hateful graffiti off Churches and Muslims protect Churches by human shields, I know that this will soon, no longer be just a dream. And the ruins today will be the foundation on which we will build this dream.
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 local and independent media. You can contact Suzy via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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