Fr Joseph Mizzi SJ - Cairo - December 2011

MALTESE JESUITS ABROAD - December 2011 - This month we bring you news from Cairo.

Joseph Mizzi SJ, Cairo - Egypt

These days we are going through a lot of confusion in Cairo. As we approach the first anniversary of the revolution (January 25) many believe that unpredictable events may happen. We are also going through the triple stage elections supposed to be over in mid-January. 

Lots of irregularities have been reported, and partial results show that the Muslim parties are largely ahead. The Muslim Brothers’ party and the more radical Salifist party have almost two thirds of the votes. People - both moderate Muslims and the Christian minority – are worried. What will happen under an Islamist government? 

Meanwhile, the military committee which replaced the former president is becoming more and more unpopular. It is accused of grave acts of violence committed directly by the military or indirectly through savage thugs coming out of nowhere to kill and destroy. Some 13 young people have been killed last weekend and buildings have been put on fire. 

Earlier in November the same events happened; and on October 9 over 20 Christians were savagely massacred. Everything is done to discourage the young revolutionaries from going out to Tahrir (Liberation) square in Central Cairo, but these are now determined and even ready to sacrifice their lives for a more just and liberal society. Others are afraid and want to leave the country if and when they can. Many believe that the positive results of the revolution have been lost due to the negative attitude of the military committee – made up of officers having strong ties with the former regime. But everyone has become more courageous to speak out, even if the city lives in the total absence of security.

At the Jesuit College, I, being the rector, am continually confronted with the question: is it safe enough to bring students to school? Parents are scared and hesitate to send their children to school. Thugs are everywhere on the streets to steal or kidnap children and even grownups. In this atmosphere it is almost impossible for teachers and students alike to obtain the necessary peace of mind to teach and learn. 

It all seems to be a futile operation. And yet, we are called to fight back… mostly by encouraging others, by seeking opportunities to bring some joy – we had a wonderful evening of Christmas carols two days ago; and by opening students to others who are different.

Joseph Mizzi SJ pictured right, with Fr General (far left)

Some may ask : how dangerous is it to live in Cairo these days? There are places where you may take a risk going, at times; but all confrontations are very localised. The situation, however, tends to become more volatile. The reigning confusion is more annoying. 

This Christmas we need Light for this people walking in the darkness, to enlighten their hearts and minds that they may hope and learn the meaning of love.

Joseph Mizzi, sj

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