Some moments go down in history for having the propensity to set off such intense machinations that years of boorish wisdom by governments cannot accomplish.
The Egypt massacre of 24 Nov 17 is one such moment. Although the world will definitely move over and move on, the walls and floors of the Sinai mosque will remain tainted by innocent blood, reminding passersby of the havoc unleashed there on one fateful afternoon on an arid autumn day. Footprints tinged with blood will remain on the staircase long after those marks have been erased by a plethora of cleansing agents. The walls will be whitewashed but the screams will stay. The mosque will never be the same again for this moment has left an indelible mark on its existence. A mark, I wish, that is never left at a place of worship.
What Kafkaesque logic, what pervert sensibility allows such blasphemy besides unleashing a terror in hearts for years to come. A place of worship must be safe. If it isn’t, what is? Isn’t it the place where even criminals seek refuge? Isn’t it where, by common belief, people consider themselves protected? A place at God's own doorstep! What kind of demented idealists would attempt to convert a place of peace into a pyre?What kind of fearful hate is this inhuman act going to propagate?
Bloodshed is nothing new to Egypt and Nile has carried more blood than water between her two banks. The Jebel Sahaba, now submerged, is a cemetery site in the Nile valley. The site which dates back to prehistoric times is thought to be the first evidence of warfare or planned intergroup violence! Ancient Egyptian history is replete with wars, each more severe than its predecessor. Sinai has also has had its share of wars, the most documented being the expedition sent by the third Pharaoh around 2500 BCE, to subdue its people.
Besides, Sinai holds a certain reverence in all the three Abrahamic faiths, being the seat of the much venerated Mount Sinai where Prophet Musa is believed to have received revelation. Church bells still ring in harmony with the Adhan at the summit where both a mosque and a church stand side by side commemorating eons of history that has tided over religious differences.
Religion has never been a barrier in Sinai. It has never been a stronghold of extremism in any form and maybe that is exactly why it was targeted!
Maybe the world isn’t safe anymore for people who speak the language of love, peace and harmony. Maybe it is us, the peace loving people of the twentieth century who are the easiest targets of hate.
And then maybe if we are defenseless even at God's own doorstep, It is high time to get up and knock on that door!