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Monday, February 20, 2012

The Partition of Egypt



February 20, 2012
 Dioscorus Boles

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMERI) published an important article recently. MEMRI explores the Middle East through the region’s media, and this time, on 17 February 2012, it focused on Egypt, bringing to the attention of the public two articles that had been published earlier, on 9 and 10 February 2012, by the Egyptian official newspaper,al-Ahram, in which a government’s official and journalist attacked national and international NGOs, and accused some, particularly one American organisation – which it did not name – of working to partition Egypt into four states. MEMERI’s article comes under the title:
Egyptian Government Daily: U.S. Striving to Divide Egypt into Four Countries”, and the reader can access it by clicking the link below:

MEMRI’s article reminds us of the conspiratorial mind of the Egyptians; and this malady seems to be getting worse as the military and Islamists entered in a coalition to rule Egypt. Recently, the Superior Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), supported by the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) and the more fanatic Salafists, has raided national and international NGOs’ offices in Egypt, arrested some of their members, and accused them of fermenting unrest. A bizarre accusation, which was repeated in the government’s al-Ahram newspaper, is that these organisations, particularly one American organisation which has not been named, plot to partition Egypt. Division maps, they say, have been “uncovered at the headquarters of an American organisation”, and the seizure of a partition map of Egypt there “proves the existence of this dubious plan”. The newspaper goes on to call the so-called “Egypt’s Partition Plot مخطط تقسيم مصر”, “Bernard Lewis’ Zionist-American Plan”. Lewis is of course the British-American scholar who has written most than any other to make readers understand Islam and the Islamic world.

I was aware of the existence of this type of thinking in the mind of some Muslim Egyptians. It is not new, so it is not surprising. The Islamist literature and internet pages abound with it; and ex-president Anwar Sadat (1970 – 1981) irresponsibly propagated it at some stage, even though he did not dare to point the finger of blame at the Americans or Israelis but accused poor Pope Shenouda, the spiritual leader of the Copts, of plotting to become the political as well as the religious leader of the Copts and “set up a separatist Coptic state with Assiut as its capital”. As evidence for the alleged Coptic separatist plan, he told the Parliament, on 14 May 1980, that the Palestinians in Lebanon had arrested three Coptic volunteers fighting in the ranks of the Christian Maronite militias. One can also add here the repeated allegations by Islamists that the Copts store weapons in their churches and monasteries, and this seems to be an article of faith with them, however unfounded, on which they perpetually feed their anticoptic hatred and violence.
It is, however, interesting to know what the current rulers of Egypt think Copts fit into all this alleged conspiracy, and what area in Egypt they suspect is projected to become a Coptic country. The fanciful plot, they tell us, envisages four states:
  1. A state in Sinai and the eastern part of Delta (one assumes it is basically Bedouin): this is supposed, somehow, to be under Jewish influence. We are not told what the capital of this state will be.
  2. Nubian Egypt, with Aswan as its capital: this will, somehow, be integrated with South Sudan and will also be connected to the Berbers in North Africa.
  3. Coptic Egypt (which they call, in a derogatory way, “the Nazarene State الدولة النصرانية”), with its capital at Alexandria: this will stretch southward from the southern part of Bani Suwayf Governorate to the southern part of Asyut Governorate, and westward to the city of Mrsa Matruh.
  4. Islamic Egypt, with its capital at Cairo: this will include the remainder of Egypt. This is intentionally made to look comparatively so tiny in area (see map below) so as, of course, to instigate the maximum emotional response possible against the Copts and the Nubians (who will take, as the Islamist map alleges, the largest part of Egypt). The reader can watch the following Egyptian TV programme to understand how a sample of Egyptians, presumed educated but actually a bunch of low IQ idiots, react to such claims

Map of Egypt and Sudan, produced by Islamists, and surfaced on the internet some time ago, which shows the imagined different countries that the alleged American-Jewish plot is supposed to create
The “Nazarene State” of course is what interests us here. From al-Ahram’s article and the circulated map, we can conclude that the SCAF and the Islamists assume that such state is planned to include:
  • The Governorate of Alexandria
  • The Governorate of Matruh
  • The Governorate of Minya
  • The Governorate of Asyut
  • The Governorate of Suhag
  • The western part of al-Buhayrah Governorate
  • The western part of Giza Governorate
  • The western part of Fayyum Governorate
  • The western part of Bani Suwayf Governorate
  • The northern part of New Valley Governorate
Curiously, their imagination does not stretch as far as Qena or Luxor Governorates or any part east of the Nile River. A detailed map of this proposed Coptic State will, therefore, look like this:

The proposed Coptic State, we are told, will be lying between the Nile on the east, the Libyan border on the west, the Mediterranean coast  from Alexandria westward on the north, and the two imaginary red lines as on the map of Egypt

So, that is it! The SCAF has joined the Islamists in agitating against the Americans and the Jews, and in one go also against the Copts (why not?), and accused them of trying to set up a Coptic State in Egypt. Of course the “partition plot” includes three other states, particularly a Nubian and a Bedouin-based one – however, the Coptic State, that other “entity”, or the thought of it, is evidently what triggers their fears most and raises emotions the highest. The SCAF and the Islamists in Egypt may display their diseased mind to national and international audience; and all we can do is to laugh at their idiocy. With low IQ idiots like these, all things are possible. We just warn them not to talk themselves into it, lest their worst nightmare scenarios come true.

But the basic fallacy of all Islamist thinking on this matter is this, and I must say all dictators share them in it: they think by persecution, suppression and oppression of other religions and peoples they can subdue and exploit them for ever. They did this in the past at the peak of their imperialism, and forced a dhimmitude condition on many, including the original Egyptians (Copts), where whole nations were robbed of their rights and freedoms. Now they hope that they can repeat this again. They do not realise that times, politics, power balance, and nations have changed. As we said to them several times before, living under an Islamic state, where a full dhimmitude condition is imposed, or under a quasi-secular/Islamist state such as that of Sadat’s or Mubarak’s, are not options for us at all. 

There can only be two acceptable options: either full equality and freedom in a united country with other Egyptians, or a separate state in which our nation lives secure in dignity and freedom.  If they are really keen about national unity and the territorial integrity of Egypt, and would like to frustrate all “conspiracies” to partition Egypt, real or imagined, let them discard their oppression and persecution, and start building a truly democratic country that is inclusive and respecting of the natural rights of all its peoples, regardless of their religion, race or sex. Let them stop the exclusion of Copts from important jobs and positions of eminence; let them respect the religion of the Copts and give them the freedom to worship in peace; let them recognise the unique identity of the Copts, their history, language and culture; let them end the violence against Copts by Muslims; let them make sure the terrorising, insults, humiliation, maiming, arson, looting, forced deportation, pogroms and massacres to which Copts have been exposed over the years and decades become things of the past. 

That is simple, easy and only just; and surely Egypt’s rulers, who nauseate us day and night by their excessive claim of their love for Egypt, will always want to do – or will they? Our assessment, which is borne by long-term evidence, is that they, particularly after their alliance with the Islamists, will never willingly stop their oppression and persecution, and they will never want to treat us as equal – they have never genuinely, apart from a few, wanted that, and they will never want that, because equality and freedom for the Copts simply run against the grain of their religious beliefs, and because they think they can continue to oppress and subdue us, and that we will never be able to effectively oppose them and set ourselves free from bondage, and establish an independent state of ours, in which we can live securely and freely. And yet, they always decry “threats” to Egypt’s national unity and territorial integrity. One can easily see at once their arrogance; their self-confidence or the lack of it. Further, the clever can easily detect the degree by which they abuse the alleged plot to partition Egypt in order to consolidate their rule, bolster their support amongst the ignorant, and suppress all types of opposition, particularly that of Egypt’s liberals, who stand shoulder to shoulder with Copts in demanding a civilian, secular and liberal democratic system in Egypt.

But they will never understand as the Islamists in the Sudan never understood once: in 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), or the Naivasha Agreement, was signed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan, to end the Second Sudanese Civil War and the Islamists’ dictatorship, and replace it with a democratic system in Sudan and recognition of the rights of all its religions, races and peoples. A referendum was agreed to be held in 2011 by which Southern Sudan would be asked if they wanted independence or continuation of the union with Northern Sudan. During these six years, Omar Bashir, the President of Sudan, was invested with making union with the North attractive to the Southern Sudanese, by implementing the various protocols of the CPA and by respecting the civil and political rights of Sudanese. He failed miserably in that, and that is why the South Sudan voted for separation and seceded on 9 July 2011. Bashir’s, and his Islamists’, failure in the challenge imposed on them was not a surprise – these people are simply unable to conduct themselves democratically or to offer others their due rights and freedoms, because, as I have already said, it is not in their cultural DNA, by which I mean the ideology of political Islam. But let everyone be aware that the Islamists’ failure to keep Sudan united, through good governance, is not solely due to their hostile political creed – Sharia being more precious to them than anything else, including the patrie (الوطن), they are willing to sacrifice their country’s national integrity, when they fail to achieve it by force, in order to live in an apartheid desert ruled by Sharia. It is the Islamists who are intrinsically separatists and not John Garang, the Southern Sudanese hero, or us. Sudan or Egypt, their national unity or territorial integrity, are simply dispensable when they become an impediment to the application of Sharia. 

The Islamists, and those who ally themselves to them, are the ones who are hatching, by omission or commission, the real plot to partition Egypt. Let everyone beware.

If any separatist wants to bank on anything he or she can certainly bank more profitably on two things: the Islamists’ stupidity and oppression. Nazarenes (النصارى) is the word given in Muslim literature to the Christians, thought to have been derived from the biblical town of Nazareth (الناصرة‎ ‎) in the northern part of Israel. However, the rules of Arabic grammar do not allow that.
 Al-Ahram newspaper does not mention Sohag Governorate as part of the alleged Coptic State; the map published by the Islamists, however, seems to include it.
 A dhimmitude condition in my definition is the condition whereby a non-Muslim lives under the mercy of a fully-fledged Islamist sate.
 I know this is not easy to stomach by some Muslims, even moderate Muslims, but it is an accurate assessment.
 I must emphasise here that I am not talking about all the Muslims of Egypt – as I have said several times in other articles, I distinguish between good and bad Muslims, moderate Muslims and Islamists (and those who ally themselves to Islamists). I will hasten also to add that I believe that not all Copts are good, but there is a difference here: Copts do not want to impose their religion on others – they want the country to be accommodative to all peoples without distinction based on religion, race or sex.

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