Egyptian Chronicles: Escape From North Sinai : The Tip of the iceberg

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Escape From North Sinai : The Tip of the iceberg

As you may have known many Christian Egyptian families fled Al-Arish city after a terrorist killing spree targeting them in the city.
The families fled North Sinai's Al-Arish city leaving their homes, work and schools as in the past 4 weeks seven Christians were killed and slaughtered brutally in the biggest city in North Sinai by "militants.
Usually, the main suspect we have in North Sinai when it comes to militants is Anser Beit Al-Maqdis or what is commonly known as the "Sinai Province of Daesh".
The displaced families fled to Ismailia governorate, the nearest and most favorite place for Sinai locals to stay in away from the ongoing war on terrorism. They took a shelter at the Evangelical church in Ismailia at first.
Roger Anis- Christians fleeing North Sinai
This old man told journalists that he did not leave his house
during the Israeli occupation "Roger Anis" 
On Friday, the government began to act and the governor of Ismailia began to host some of the displaced families in Ismailia Youth hostel as well empty apartments. The Orthodox Church opened its doors and helped in hosting the families in apartments.
Donations are collected in bank accounts opened by the Orthodox Church to help the families who are mostly from the working class and low middle class.
Activists and journalists say we are dealing with more than 80 families and the number is increasing. The Orthodox Church said officially that there were 100 families from Al-Arish
The parliamentary affairs minister told the parliament that the government rehoused 118 families on Sunday.
Some activists are saying that there are still tens of Christian families in Al-Arish but could not leave because they are poor.
The families already shared extremely scary stories of how terrorists killed the 7 Christian brutally and stormed their homes stealing their belongings in absence of security.
On Saturday, I read somewhere according to one the Orthodox bishops in North Sinai that there are about not less than 400 Christian Orthodox families according to the church's records.
Speaking about the Church, the statement issued by the Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church on Friday was very weak presenting its condolences to the families and the victims.
Roger Anis- Christians fleeing North Sinai
Two Christian Egyptians who have fled North Sinai in Ismailia
"by Roger Anis" 
Nevertheless, the official reaction of the Orthodox Church is just weak like any other official institution in Egypt regarding the displacement of the families whether the ministry of interior to the ministry of solidarity to the Presidency itself.
Without a doubt, the worst comment in this crisis goes to Ghada Wali, the minister of social solidarity who told the displaced families to consider themselves on a trip to Ismailia !!!
The escalation of the killings against the Christians in North Sinai comes at the same time Daesh released a video calling its supporters in Egypt to start attacks against Christians in Egypt vowing to invade Cairo.
The 20-something-minutes video is quite disturbing by all measures featuring a statement by the suicide bomber responsible for El-Botroseya Church in Cairo.
It was released from two weeks ago and was available on YouTube for less than a day.
The families told the reporters in Ismailia that "the security" was the one that told them to pack their stuff and leave their homes in Al-Arish because they could not be protected.
The ministry of interior denied what those displaced people said insisting that no one asked them to leave their houses according to anonymous sources that spoke to Al-Tahrir newspaper on Saturday.
OnSunday,, the minister of interior denied that the security informed the Christian families or any other citizen to leave Al-Arish.
There has been no official statement about the displacement of the Egyptian Christian families whether from the defense ministry about why or who told the Christians families to leave their homes up till now.
Roger Anis- Christians fleeing North Sinai
A Christian family in Ismailia by Roger Anis 
Interestingly the Cabinet spokesperson Ambassador Ashraf Sultan saying on Saturday that it had not been determined yet when those families could return to their homes in North Sinai.
The Pro-regime media was in a trouble in the past four days on how to cover what happened. Pro-regime TV host Ahmed Moussa boldly claimed on TV that the photos of the displaced families were fake.
Al-Messa Daily Newspaper got one of the most puzzling headlines on the Front page denying that there was a displacement and speaking about rehousing !!
Al-Messa on its Frontpage
In Red: No displacement for Copts .. From Sinai
In Black: Rehousing 30 families in youth hostels temporarily 


Not the first forced displacement in North Sinai

This isn't the first major forced displacement for the locals in general in North Sinai.
The biggest forced displacement due to the current war on terrorism was in October 2014 when the residents of Rafah city evacuated parts of it, especially near the borders by the orders of the Egyptian government.
It started with 1,156 families and that number increased especially the war on terrorism between Egyptian armed forces and that terrorist group does not seem to stop expanding beyond Rafah city.
Local activists from North Sinai say that the number of families that fled Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and its Southern villages in the past three years reached to 21,000 families according to official statistics made by North Sinai Governorate !!!!!!
Yes, 21,000 families !!
Some of those families according to my knowledge moved to Sharkia and Ismailia governorates while the rest moved around North and Middle Sinai.
Unfortunately, I feel now from the online comments of the local Muslim residents in North Sinai that there is a bit of jealousy of their Christian counterparts whom they believe to have more attention and care from the government.
It is actually not that the government cares more for the Christian residents of North Sinai more than its Muslim residents.
But it is for the first time the media covers and listens to the terrifying stories of those locals from North Sinai and those locals residents are Christians.
The mainstream media is blocked off covering North Sinai because it is "national security" matter according to the government.
The mainstream media does not and did not cover news about how hundreds of men from locals were killed in the past 4 years by Daesh in the worst ways ever mostly because they are helping the Egyptian army or how hundreds of houses were destroyed in that ongoing war there.
We all know what happens in North Sinai and the locals from their stories they share on Facebook and twitter accounts.
On Sunday, we knew that the women teachers from Al-Arish who work in the city of Rafah protested in front of the governorate HQ demanding protection from the terrorists in Rafah.
Yes, the terrorists in Rafah ordered them to wear Niqab or otherwise, they would spray acid on their faces !!
On the same day, we knew online also that a young man was burnt alive and then was shot in his head by the terrorists for helping the army !!
Those two incidents did not make to mainstream media just like the attacks on the Christians in North Sinai starting from July 2013.
Oh yes, and the first one to pay attention to those attacks and to write about them in mainstream media was political researcher Ismail Alexandrani.
Alexandrani is still in detention pending investigation for silly charges.
It is worth to mention that the Christians began to flee Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid following thousands of Muslim families. That's why I am afraid of what is next because what I see now is that North Sinai is being emptied from its true people !! A thing that did not happen during the Israeli occupation I am afraid.
The displacement of the Christian families is a tip of an iceberg, a tragedy-berg called terrorism in Sinai.

Between the displacement of the families from Rafah in 2014 and the Christian families from Al-Arish in 2017, there are lots of legitimate questions that must be asked for the sake of this country and its citizens whether Muslims or Christians, civilians or military.
Above those question: What the hell is happening for real in North Sinai ??
Why have not our forces from army and police got rid of the terrorists in North Sinai since 2013 for real ??
Why are the militants or terrorists getting closer to Al-Arish when they should have been eliminated in Rafah city?
Why would more than 80 families leave Al-Arish city like that when the security forces especially the armed forces announce from time to time huge victories over the terrorists !?
Those question and even more should be asked in the media and the parliament for the sake of the victims falling every day from civilians or military.
In any other country, the parliament should question the minister of defense about why Daesh is expanding in Sinai despite the triumphs of the army !!

Earlier Thursday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stood at the Police academy in New Cairo district telling the future police officers that the Egyptian State had at last restored "its prestige" at the same time tens of Egyptian families arrived Ismailia seeking refuge in another city escaping militants.
Those families as well the ongoing terrorism in North Sinai cities are proof that that "prestige" has not been fully recovered with my all due respect.
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