The news has been full of reports about the terrorist attack in Manchester, England. As well it should be. We need to be reminded that such things can happen in places and among people who are very much like ourselves. But somehow the story about the terrorist attack in Egypt has been lost in the shuffle. Somehow we haven't heard very much about the twenty-nine Coptic Christians who were slaughtered as they made their way across the desert on a youth pilgrimage to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery. Both incidents involved numerous young people being killed or injured. Both incidents were clear acts of hatred and violence. But only one seems to have captured our imaginations here in the West.
Perhaps that is part of the problem. Perhaps the fact that we can't seem to relate when terrorism strikes in the Middle East is part of why it continues. Perhaps the fact that we have grown numb to such reports as those that do come out of the region is part of why the problem remains unresolved.
I am not naïve. And I'm not blaming the victims (for we are all victims of terrorism--after all, the whole point of terrorism is to create fear in the wider population). No, I am simply saying we must be willing to remember that Coptic Christians and Muslims and Israeli Jews and all persons are as valued and treasured in God's sight as people who look like us.
There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that the Egyptian monastery's namesake, St. Samuel the Confessor was also a victim of violence. He was tortured because he would not accept the basic tenets of another form of Christianity in the late sixth century. He was a Christian, tortured by other Christians. He died because of his faith. Fourteen hundred years ago. One wonders when we human beings will ever learn.
Let's not forget Egypt.
(Image: St. Samuel the Confessor)