A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Applause for the Man Who Wasn't There

On Coptic Christmas Eve, Pope Tawadros II thanked those Egyptian figures who had sent the Church Christmas greetings. According to a rather sycophantic account in Ahram Online, this is what happened when he got to General Sisi:
"Why is he delaying El-Sisi? He should have thanked him ahead of everyone else," whispered one middle-aged lady to another at the Coptic Cathedral in Abbassiya, as Pope Tawadros II expressed his gratitude to the statesmen and public figures who had wished "Egyptian Copts" well on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
The very instant that the Coptic patriarch uttered first the title, then the name, of the head of the military -- whom the vast majority of Egyptians, certainly Egyptian Christians, credit for having acted ever so promptly to remove president Mohamed Morsi in under three days once the 30 June protests demanded an end to his rule -- worshippers raised their hands to ready for a long and certainly sincere applause.
It may be worth noting that last year there was widespread criticism of Morsi for not attending the Midnight Mass.Now Ahram merely notes that the General "missed the Coptic Christmas Mass for obvious security concerns." (Is the Army not supposed to ensure security?) Ahram also includes in the headline, "All eyes on tomorrow."

Let's just say if the General doesn't run for President it will be a surprise. Assuming, as seems inevitable, that the Constitutional Referendum passes next week, we might well hear an announcement.

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