Friday Prayers for Egypt: Camel Recall

God,

Egypt has once again produced a crisis. This one may only be mini, but perhaps official reactions will reveal its extent. Tahrir filled with rocks and Molotovs, as demonstrators faced off one to another.

The crisis was slow brewing, and then sudden. For weeks liberals have railed against the membership of the committee tasked to write the constitution, saying it was unrepresentative of society and dominated by Islamists. For days they have called for a protest against it.

Then only two days before a bombshell was announced. The accused in the revolutionary Battle of the Camel were found not guilty on all charges. The Battle of the Camel followed on the heels of Mubarak’s promise not to run for reelection, and had quieted some revolutionary fervor. Once camels and horses followed afterwards – with snipers reported as well – the protest dug in its heels. Soon Mubarak was gone altogether.

It was a strange event, making little sense even at the time. It galvanized the opposition, with blame laid at the feet of members of Mubarak’s regime. Now, they are free men.

The Muslim Brotherhood especially and revolutionary forces additionally were outraged, and pledged to fill Tahrir in protest. The Islamists had previously dismissed and criticized the already planned demonstration; now, they appeared ready to overwhelm it.

Groups in opposition with contrary demands do not make good bedfellows. With the stage set for conflict, it erupted. Throughout the afternoon and evening Egyptians threw projectiles at Egyptians. Much of the time, it was hard to tell who was who.

What to make of this, God? Amid all the confusion, perhaps prayers should be simple.

Give justice to those responsible for all protestor deaths and injuries during the revolution. Be it the accused or others, men were willfully killed. To date, almost no one has been held accountable. Establish the truth, God, so that Egypt might know. Only upon the truth can there be healing, justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

These are requested between demonstrators as well, God. Old wounds were opened, causing recent ones to pain all the more sharply. The issues run deep, but so does the original unity of Tahrir.

But together, God, it seems Egypt is moving backwards. Judicial observers say the court case was handled poorly. Rock throwing is juvenile. But there is no time to lament steps in reverse when a constitution is pending.

Draw Egypt back, God. Mend her spoiled relations and develop her fractured politics. Give her good leadership and active citizens. Protect protests when they are necessary, but help most issues to congeal through consensus.

And though it is a near constant refrain, God, expose the manipulators and give transparency to the process. May those who plot evil fail. Rebuke them that they may repent, but keep them from a share in shaping Egypt’s future. May this be left to those who love her and honor all her citizens.

God, establish the right and the good in Egypt. Help her to live in peace.

Amen.

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