Emblematic and symbolic images weigh heavily on the national psych. While King Abdullah went in person to the village of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh to offer his condolences to the devastated family, President Sisi deemed it satisfactory to visit St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo and to offer his condolences to Pope Tawadros II instead of reaching out directly to the grieving families. One may indeed question the purpose of such a visit given that none of the victims were actually from Cairo but from the governorate of Minya, some 140 miles south of Cairo. The equivalent from the Jordanian side would be if King Abdullah had visited the biggest Mosque in Amman in the absence of Moaz’s family instead of going to the pilot’s village and offering his condolences in person to Moaz’s family.
Finally, many Coptic activists are also wondering why is it that the government is concerned about Egyptian Copts killed in Libya when it does not seem to worry much about those killed in Egypt. Some are sarcastically expressing their discontent with the government’s reaction, saying that the seven days of national mourning merely means the projection of a small black ribbon on the corner of television screens.
Zahra Vieneuve is Project Manager for the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This article was published in Arc of the Universe, the blog of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame. It is reprinted here with permission.