Arab Spring – Bad News for some


Do not take me wrong. I totally rejoice in the victory of people’s power in the Middle East and North Africa. Those who rose up against tyrants risking their lives are true heroes. However, all is not well to some people. The situation needs a careful handling.

For example, Arab Christians and Israelis are nervous. During my working days, I made many acquaintances in the Orthodox Churches in the Middle East. This is why I know that if I were a Syrian Orthodox Christian, I would be very afraid of a sudden removal of the Assad regime. It has provided a protection to the Syrian Orthodox Church as a safeguard against the majority Sunni Muslims. The situation is the same with the Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt. Hosni Mubarak was afraid of Muslim Brotherhood and gave protection to the Christian minority as a safeguard against the powerful Islamic movement. Likewise, if I were an Israeli, I would be very worried about a sudden rise of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood in the region, which has already taken power in Tunisia through a democratic process.

Recent pronouncement by the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, echoed by the Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente (Saturday, January 7), emphasized the importance of raising a serious concern about the rising tide against Christians in the world. Both persons also were concern about the diminishing number of Arab Christians in the Holy Land. It is a problem. Ask any church leader in Palestine. One has to acknowledge, however, the Palestinian Christians had to leave their homeland not because of the pressure from the Muslim compatriots, but because of the intolerable conditions created by the decades of Israeli occupation.

For Christians, the situations in Egypt and Syria, is a reminder of the lessons we should have learned about the dangerous temptation of being coopted by the powers that be. The churches in Japan had to confess their complicity in the crime committed by Japanese military regime during the WW II. There are many similar examples such as in Ethiopia, Germany, etc..

A simplistic analysis is not always correct and just. Swinging a sharp two edge sword indiscriminately cuts down good and evil. Let’s not make a complex situation into a simplistic Christian verses Muslim relationship issue, because often it isn’t.

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