Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How HRW director responded to the massacre in Egypt

"Just one day before the horrifying attack upon the Botroseyya Church in Abbasiyya that took the lives of two dozen Coptic Christians, mere steps away from Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral and Papal Headquarters, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth issued a provocative tweet. Commenting on an article in Foreign Policy he was circulating, he wrote, “Egypt’s Copts discover after backing Sisi’s coup that his persecution isn’t limited to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Needless to say, it is a rare spectacle for the head of an international human rights organization to take an entire endangered national minority to task. But what is particularly useful about Roth’s tweet in the wake of arguably the most significant instance of sectarian violence in modern Egyptian history is that it offers an object lesson about precisely how not to understand the Coptic community and their relations with Egyptian Muslims and the Egyptian state. Indeed, as I will argue here, to accept the logic of Roth’s statement is to embrace the very sectarian logic of governance that continues to prevail in Egypt under Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi – a sectarian logic that makes the violence we have witnessed of late more rather than less likely."