The situation in the North Africa and especially in Egypt has raised many eyebrows, concerns and opinions. Throughout the social networks many have offered positions both in favor of the popular movement and for the moderate but autocratic regime in Egypt. In this article by Catholic News Service (CNS) the Church also considers the situation as a concerned international observer with a deep interest for the welfare of the Christian minorities. The position that the Church offers is one that I find appropriate at this time.
CNS STORY: Church leaders follow Egyptian unrest with interest, concern
Some Bloggers and organizations have raised their support for the current regime based on the national interest of the United States or Israel. Others support the popular movement because it is a show of support for democratic values and after all isn’t democracy a principle value of our own nation. The reality is that like most issues of global concern the situation is complex. Popular movements make a statement that the status quo is not acceptable. Another CNS article shows the perspective from the ground of how oppressive the reality in Egypt was that brought this movement on: Expert on Arabic issues: Officials can’t stop North African protests. Nevertheless popular movements do not translate into democratic governments.
During the French Revolution which took place shortly after the American revolution Thomas Jefferson and John Adams disagreed on whether or not they should support this violent uprising. Jefferson was willing to support any popular movement and Adams was more cautious when the movement took a more violent and fundamentalist turn. As it turned out the French revolution brought about the reign of terror and then the Napoleonic dictatorship. On the other hand I strongly disagree with any position that champions an existing regime solely on the basis of American or Israeli national interest. Self interest can never be the basis for a moral position.
During this time I believe that we should be more cautious and prudent with our judgments and opinions. What right do we have to take sides on a movement that affects others? If anything the opportunity that we would have here is to raise our hopes and resources in being an active peacemaker to the people of Egypt and the other nations of North Africa and the Middle East that are experiencing social revolts. The Church and the international community would do well to take a neutral role and offering itself as a peacemaker in seeking to address the various legitimate social issues that concern the Egyptian community.