The Corner

Arab Spring, Coptic Winter

Andy, good luck rousing the western media to the plight of Egypt’s Christians. The boobs proclaimed Tahrir Square an “Arab Spring” and then moved on. I chanced to be on Fox News with Megyn Kelly half-an-hour after Mubarak threw in the towel, and, while Anderson Cooper was cooing orgasmically over on CNN, offered the cheerless thought that this was the dawn of the post-western Middle East, and the beginning of something potentially very dark. I’ll stand by that. As I wrote in February:

The Kingdom of Egypt in the period between 1922 and 1952 was flawed and ramshackle and corrupt, but it got closer to a functioning, pluralist society than anything in the 60 years since. For example, in 1923, Egypt’s first full year as a sovereign state, the country’s Minister of Finance was a man called Joseph Cattaui, a Member of Parliament and a Jew.

Try to imagine that now: a Jew serving as an Arab Muslim nation’s Finance Minister – or even getting elected as an obscure backbench MP. Sounds like something from a Give-peace-a-chance multifaith fantasy. But it actually happened – and then it stopped happening, and then it became inconceivable for it to happen ever again under any plausible scenario.

Shortly thereafter, Mr Cattaui’s great-grandson wrote to me from France, where he now lives. Because it’s not just that in Egypt a Jew can’t be Finance Minister but that a Jew can’t be. Because Egypt spent the second half of the 20th century getting worse, and is spending the new century getting worser. We now accept a Jew-free Egypt as a normal feature of life. No doubt we shall soon do the same with a Copt-free Egypt. But we could at least stop insulting those on the receiving end of the “Arab Spring” by pretending that it’s any kind of flowering of freedom.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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