Cairo (AsiaNews) - Below we publish the second part of
a report by our correspondent in Egypt, on the life and labor of the families
of the young people beheaded by militants of the Islamic State in Libya. In the
midst of pain, grief, prayer the unity of the Egyptian people is strengthened.
Patriarch Tawadros announces that the names of the 21 Copts killed in Libya
will be enrolled in the Coptic Synaxis, which is the equivalent to a form of
canonization. Their memorial will fall February 15 according to the Gregorian
calendar, and on the eighth day of Amshir on the Coptic calendar. Several
personalities have pointed out that in the video of their execution, some of
the young men gave witness to their faith and softly said prayers and
invocations to Jesus, just before being beheaded (For Part I click here).
has become a large space of mourning, in the church and the halls around as
well as under a big tent and in the families houses where a multitude of people
are coming from all around the province and from beyond to present condolences.
At the village entrance stand ambulances in order to help anyone who would feel
bad to get an easy transportation to Samallout's hospitals if needed. Many
inhabitants are still there at the Good Shepherd hospital receiving cure.
Stephanos, the bishopric Vicar asserts that the retaliation strikes of Egyptian
aircraft in Libya gave some support to the families and gave rise to a general
support to the army from all components of the nation.
Sharqâwy, the Muslim mother of a young man who was killed in 2011 during a
demonstration in front of the Prime minister offices, came specially from Cairo
to mourn the families. She said: ''I can feel the sorrow of every mother and I
came because we all need to support each other. We Egyptians are like that and
se shall always remain the same, united in sorrow and mourning, more than in
joyful occasions'' demonstrating that in sorrow there is no religious difference,
all the people are the same and Muslim and Christian are united.
In the house
of Louqâ Nagâty Anîs 'Abdou, in Al-Gabâly village, all the ladies mourning him
were gathered around his orphan daughter who never saw her father since she is
born nine month ago. His brother, Shenouda Nagâty Anîs explained that Louqâ, 27
years old came back from Libya last year to get married and he had to go back
to Libya before his daughter was born and he never saw her.
village, inside the home of Tawadraus Youssef Tawadraus, 35 years old, his
widow was sitting around with her four children, the eldest one being around
13, remembering the good days with their husband and father when they were all
living in one room in the grandfather's house. The widow explains that her
husband had to go to Libya 8 months ago to be able to buy a small house for his
family. Every month he would call them and he expressed more and more fear
about the situation. The last call was on new year's eve when he told them that
seven fellow Lybians had been captured.
'Abdal-Massîh Salîb left four children, three daughters and a son. Magda, his
widow says: ''We are not well off... He traveled not just to offer a better
education for the children''.
years, Irene, 4 years, Boula (Paul), 2 years, are the children of Samouïl
Wilson, 32 years. They cannot move from the house where they are all surrounded
by people dressed in black yelling and lamenting. Their father was a plumber.
Shehata is related to seven of the victims. He is receiving friends from all
around the country who are coming to support
him and mourn with the village people. His brother Mâgued Solimân Shehata went
to Libya eight months ago for his three children: Fifi the eldest daughter is a
student at the Faculty of Art, Samouïl is due to start university by the end of next summer, and Myrna, the
youngest daughter is ending primary school. He wanted to help them in their
studies. Milâd also lost his three nephews: Abânoub 'Ayyâd Shehata, Youssef
Shawky and Kyrillos Boshrâ and his two cousins: Hâny 'Abdal-Massîh, Tawadraus
Youssef Tawadraus. He told us: ''If we would receive their corpses than we
would have all of them buried in the same tomb! In our last call, after the kidnapping
of the seven ones before new year's eve I was telling him to take care and to
come back quickly and suddenly my phone battery run down and I could not
imagine that it would run down for ever''. He told us about a message he sent
with other people from the village to the authorities informing them that they
are ''eager to become soldiers, hold weapons and support the army''. The
message was also an expression of support for President Al-Sissi and asking him to
organize an airlift to bring back home all Egyptians from Libya.
trying to begin the formalities in order to get death certificates and be able
to receive the regular pension allocated to the families. Sobhy Makîn, brother
of Milâd Makîn stated that the population expects an official announcement
about the approximate date of the slaughter in order to organize the
traditional celebration of the fortieth day after death which goes back to the
the 67 Coptic Orthodox churches organized requiem masses in honour of the
victims, attended by hundreds of faithful, while the Educational Department in
the governorate decided to stop all educational festivities and celebrations
for at least one week to share in the mourning. In Damietta all cultural
activities have been postponed as well. The governor of Al-Sharqeyya (East of
the Delta) and his colleagues went to present official condolence to the Bishop
of Zagagig, capital of the province. The same happened in Qena, Sohag and
Asswan, where the governor stopped all
festivities and delegated high civil servants to go to Samallout and the
victims villages for condolences. While in South Sinai, number of activists
organized an evening with candles at the seashore in Sharm al-Shaykh to honour
the lost martyrs. Many tourists joined them.
The Prime minister
himself travelled to Al-'Our village along with six ministers (Interior
Affairs, Local Development, Trade and Industry, Religious Affairs, Social
Solidarity, Youth). He asserted: ''Our sons blood is dear to us. All of you here
are of a great value for the nation. We all are ready to scarify ourselves to
defend the country and struggle for one simple goal, the wellbeing and better
future for the nation''. Samallout Bishop and the Prime minister declared to be
''proud to have so many martyrs in the heavens''. The Prime minister announced
that the government will build in the village a church dedicated to the martyrs
at the State expenses. Then he insisted on paying a visit to every house where
mothers and widows of the victims reside.
after a long day and a longer night of lament, the population gathered in front
of the Virgin Mary Church. Milâd Fâyez, a relative of so many victims spoke
loudly in spite of friends trying to keep him quiet: ''We should not remain
silent. We have to shout loudly. How much longer must we accept ill treatment?
Here two sons dead in one house, there five relatives in one family. How can we
calm our anger?''
village man of more than 50 years old added: ''We don't want war, we just are
eager for dignity here in order to be treated with dignity outside''.
Ahmad Sâber, a
Muslim teacher in primary and prep school came directly from Samallout, where
he resides to mourn his pupils and their families: ''We are not able to have
any lessons for many days. I cannot go to work in the school. All over the area
the schools are not functioning these days... Here, we don't have a distinction between Muslim and
Christian. We are all one''.
In front, a
motto on the church wall states: ''Don't flow into anger, because anger grabs
hold of the ignorant''. Guergues Fawzy, friend of the two brothers Bishoï and
Samouïl explains how he spent some time with them in Libya before coming back
to Egypt a few days before they were kidnapped. ''I did hope the kidnappers would
ask for a ransom, but my hopes were dashed...''.
civil servant in the local city council explains that the threat for our
Egyptian fellows in Libya was clear but people are trying hardly to get a
better living since there is no work potential here.
of Al-'Our are still at this moment in Libya, 79 of them Christian and 6 Muslim.
Over the past few days thousands of Egyptians have been flooding home through
the Libyan/Egyptian borders or through Tunis, by plane. But all the country is
concerned for their Egyptian compatriots still trapped in Libya.