The need for citizenship to be enshrined in law

It is noteworthy how often the word citizen appears in contemporary Christian literature referring to or coming out of the Middle East.

The lineamenta for the Synod of Bishops’ meeting in Rome in 2010 used the word several times. On June 23, 2011, the Holy Synod of Antioch (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate) called upon governments to secure “citizens’ interests.”

The notion of citizenship in these documents is not determined by ethnicity, linguistic grouping, confessional affiliation or the like.

In the present conflict in Egypt, reference to democracy is a dead end, since in different ways both sides are claiming—neither with overwhelming credibility—to be on the side of democracy.

Democracy in Egypt cannot work until a notion of citizenship is enshrined in law and practice.

For democracy to succeed in Egypt, all citizens—Muslims, Christians, secularists, moderates as well as the Muslim Brotherhood—must be guaranteed equal rights and obligations before the law.

When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia on Dec. 17, 2010, the Arab Spring began. Now, three years later, the results hoped for by people inside and outside the Middle East have clearly not been realised.

Iraq is still violently divided between Sunnis, Shiites and an increasingly autonomous Kurdish region.

Syria has sunk into a brutal civil war with over 110,000 casualties and 6.25 million citizens displaced to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan or within Syria itself. Most recently, Egypt’s experiment with democracy has at best been sidetracked. Continue reading.

Source: America Magazine

Image: BBC

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