An open letter to a suicide bomber

Azza Radwan Sedky
Monday 19 Dec 2016

When pain is deep, the system shuts down and refuses communication. Sleep did not come that night or the nights after. But today, I have enough strength to address your like face to face

You see, I can’t speak to those who died to tell them that they are in a better place. By the same token, I can’t comfort the father who held his fatally wounded infant child as he wept profusely. I can’t console the mother who leaned on the coffins of her two beautiful daughters unable to let go. I can’t say or do anything to relieve the pain of the families that lost one and two of their family members, sisters, mothers or daughters.

What can I possibly tell these people? May your loved ones rest in peace? What does the phrase mean in the larger scheme of things? Absolutely nothing. The lives of those who died and their loved ones who remain alive have been crushed in a matter of seconds, and you caused this devastation.

In case you don’t know, or maybe you do know, a house of worship is the holiest of all places. And to kill women and children worshippers is even more despicable than anything I have ever seen before. It does not get more heinous than this.

I know your immediate aim: to wreak havoc in Egypt; to cause its downright end; to have it join Syria, Iraq and Libya. Fair enough, I know this, but what is your ultimate goal? I thought it is to have Islamists like yourself, not Muslims like millions of Egyptians, rule the world. I thought your absolute goal is to have the world bow and comply to your course. And more importantly, I know you want Islamic followers to multiply and populate the world.

So listen to this short but poignant story. It may have you think twice before you and others like you kill more innocents. As she usually does while going about her housework, Sabah, my cleaning lady, had her earphones on and was listening to the news. She heard of the massacre at St Peter's Church and immediately screamed in fury. Indignant and distressed, she began hurling insults at you and your like. If she saw you then, she would’ve definitely inflicted much harm on you, she and millions of other Egyptians.

When she sat down, she said something that I’ve never heard a Muslim say before, or a Christian for that matter. Almost in tears, she said, “I refuse to pray anymore. Those who pray are murderers and savages.” Her words left me stunned. Sabah is a simple, ordinary Egyptian, the kind that would never go against the pillars of Islam, the kind whose piety never goes unhinged, but it did in this case.

In fact, as this short story tells you, even regular Muslims are losing their faith in the goodness of the world and are losing balance because of the inhumanity in all this. I hope you understand the consequences of your atrocious act. Your kind will never be able to command any country in the world because every country and every human being wishes you ill, hoping that the likes of you disappear from the face of the earth.

You believe might is right. No, not might, but savagery and brutality is right. But believe me, you are hurting Islam so badly that the repercussions will last not decades but centuries, turning others against you and your cult, and shamefully against innocent Muslims; you are putting the world off Islam.

Many Egyptians have fallen before — the 21 Copts who were beheaded in Libya and their bodies hurled to the sea; the 25 conscripts who were pulled off a bus and shot execution style; the dozens of innocent young officers killed day and night. But to murder innocent women and children and have their families see their shredded body parts strewn all over a holy house is beyond anything seen before.

If your god listens to the prayers of the good people in Egypt, you will end in a place unknown to human beings. You will never see the heaven that you were promised and were told you would enjoy. If there is vengeance in anything, then it is in this.

I realise that neither you nor any of your like will listen to me, but I had to air my wrath. I’m sorry that I live at a time when ruthless savagery like the massacre at St Peter's Church takes place.

The writer is an academic, political analyst, and author of Cairo Rewind: the First Two Years of Egypt's Revolution, 2011-2013.

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