Barbecues, fairs, picnics, fireworks — this is how many people choose to celebrate the Fourth of July. Hopefully on this day, political differences are set aside as we gather together to take pride in being American.
While some will celebrate the traditional way and have a cookout, others will express their happiness in a nontraditional sense that is more comfortable, such as indulging in Russian cuisine or going to an Asian-American festival, because being American is more than just being American. It is a day when some reflect on the fact that they wouldn’t be American if they first were not African, Asian, European, etc.
On that note, today I am proud to be an Egyptian, too.
June 30 marked the first day of the second revolution in which Egyptians, despite differing religious beliefs, gathered together all over Egypt in unity to protest their now former president, Mohamed Morsi, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Although he is Egypt’s first president who was elected democratically, Morsi became an illegitimate democratic president due to a decree made in November 2012 that protected his decisions from judicial review. He later annulled the decree in December, but his continued illegitimate actions as president and his inability to tend to the ongoing economic crisis led to national outcry. On July 3, Morsi was ousted, and Egyptians reclaimed Egypt as their own. Although the number of protesters is yet to be confirmed, most news outlets agree that this protest is the largest gathering for a political cause in modern day.
For Coptic Christians in Egypt and abroad, this is a monumental event. In Egypt especially, Coptic Christians have experienced an uprising in persecution these past few years.
“We’ve had problems with gas, diesel, electricity and water shortages,” said Coptic Christian Ikram Nosshi. “What has happened over the past year has been diabolical.”
But Egyptians remain hopeful that they are on the road to recovery toward a better Egypt. For those abroad, we remain hopeful that Egypt will once again become safe to visit in the near future. We remain optimistic.
“The people of Egypt have made mistakes since the revolution,” said Egyptian citizen Reem Shalan. “We won’t repeat them. This time we have an actual plan, and I am optimistic, not scared, for the future.”
This Fourth of July was special because as I take pride in being American, I remember that I am also Egyptian. As many of us celebrate, Egypt will definitely be on the forefront of our minds. Happy Fourth of July, America, and Third of July, Egypt!
Image source: farkous via Creative Commons
Monica Mikhail contemplates the truth of the matter in her Thursday blog. Contact Monica Mikhail at [email protected].