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Eye on the revolution: Ramy Kamil, a Coptic perspective

In this ten-part series, Ahram Online asks those who took part in the 25 January Revolution what they make of Egypt's current political situation two years after Mubarak's departure

Dina Ezzat , Wednesday 20 Mar 2013
Ramy Kamil
Ramy Kamil
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Soon after the January 25 revolution, Ramy Kamil, a student of law and an activist, decided to join one of the newly established Coptic groupings that champion Coptic rights. His aim was not to "impose" Coptic matters on the wider national agenda. But he is convinced that the national scene will always be influenced by Coptic grievances.

Excerpts:

  • There is so much that could be said about the failure of President Mohamed Morsi to honour his commitment to be a president for all Egyptians, but whatever we say we cannot start to suggest that the unfairness against Copts was initiated with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. A few days ago, there was an attack against a church in Fayoum, but the attacks against the churches of El-Omraniyah and the Two Saints Church were in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak was president. Before there was Nagaa Hamadi. There was also the horrid attack of 9 October under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
     
  • Egypt has for long acknowledged a form of association between Copts and Muslims, but true cohabitation is still to be found. It was not there before the January 25 Revolution; it was there in Tahrir Square when we were there — a brief moment that vanished. In fact, cohabitation is yet to be found amongst followers of different churches in Egypt, and even amongst Muslims of different affiliations.
     
  • Had political parties attended to the grievances of Copts under the rule of Mubarak the matter would have been well integrated into the national agenda and we would not be talking today of sectarian agendas. But the fact of the matter remains that even the liberal and leftist parties declined to address the issue for fear of sectarianism labelling.
     
  • With the January 25 Revolution, Copts made it out from behind the walls of the cathedral. Today, we will not let anyone, either from the church or the state push us back behind these walls. We will decide our next move as Copts, in line with our judgement. But meanwhile, we will not accept to be isolated from the wider national interest because that would be similar to pushing us back behind the walls of the cathedral.
     
  • We cannot just keep on fighting; we have to think of the future of this country. We need to attend to our economic problems, simply because the worse the economic situation gets, the worse the social problems, including sectarianism.
     
  • There were many things that were mismanaged during the interim phase and also during the first seven months of Morsi’s presidency …  I think there are many things that need to be reworked today, on top of which is the constitution that fails miserably to acknowledge equal rights for equal citizens. And I am not just talking about Copts here, but also talking the poor.
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Jesper Grolin
20-03-2013 02:06pm
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From behind the walls
Hi Ramy, I am from Denmark, and just now reading about the Copts. Your statements are very interesting. What kept you "behind the walls" before 25 January? What do mean by "cohabitation"? And have the connections made during the Revolution entirely vanished since then?
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