Upper Egypt: Calm before the Storm?

by Nina Shea

 

Upper Egypt, the southern part of the country where many rural Christian Copts live, has been tensely quiet, I’m hearing from knowledgeable sources. This is an area of farmers and peasants, who have limited internet access and relatively low literacy. The area has also had a long-term and strong security presence due to sectarian tensions and to its serving as a traditional base for Islamic extremists (Gamaa’at Islamiyah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Sadat’s assassins, the Luxor tourists attackers). For now, most people in the south are bracing for the worst, stocking food supplies, and huddling around their televisions and radios following developments to the north.