Reasons to be Optimistic about Egypt

At the beginning of the year, there was a story about Coptic Christians in Egypt suffering from attacks by Muslim radicals. In response, large numbers of their Muslim neighbors joined them at church to offer a human shield for their protection.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. [...]

From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

Now it appears that in the midst of the uprising, some Christians are returning the favor. Via Reddit, here’s a photograph of Egyptian Christians forming a human chain to protect a praying group of Muslims:


(via)

Another story comes from the Egyptian Museum, which houses an enormous number of artifacts from ancient Egypt. The museum suffered from looting, vandalism or both during the early part of the protests. Then, according to the Christian Science Monitor, Egyptian citizens once again formed a human shield around the museum until the military could arrive:

One man pleaded with people outside the museum’s gates on Tahrir Square not to loot the building, shouting at the crowd: “We are not like Baghdad.” After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thieves carted off thousands of artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad — only a fraction of which have been recovered.

Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main entrance in an attempt to protect the collection inside.

“I’m standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure,” said one of the men, Farid Saad, a 40-year-old engineer.

Another man, 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim, said it was important to guard the museum because it “has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we’ll never find it again.”

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