February 3, 2011
Two thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dublin last week from where they issued a number of statements at the end of their time discussing such things as ‘the scope of the primates meeting' and their self proclaimed ‘enhance role’ in ’guiding’ the Communion. Many of them made statements deploring the death of David Kato, the Ugandan gay rights activist, while aware that the Archbishop of Uganda, among others, declined to attend as long as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was going to be invited and present.
Meanwhile protesters were taking to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, the Sudan and elsewhere apparently demanding an end to the rule of a number of long time autocratic leaders. They sent a letter of support to the President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East who is also the bishop of Egypt, Mouneeer Anis. Bishop Anis, in similar terns to his Coptic counterpart has called for an end to the rioting in Egypt so that things can “get back to normal’ now that Hosni Mubarak has said that he would, in effect, step down in September.
While it is too soon to know exactly what all this rioting means and what will be its lasting impact, it is pretty clear that whatever else happens, it Is not likely to end in ‘getting back to normal’, at least in Egypt.
There is something quite surreal about all this to me. In one sense I’m glad the Primates did not rush to say something to a situation that is still unfolding but I’m left with a sense that we are ‘fiddling while Rome burns’.
We are told that one cleat place of long time contact between Egypt and the United States is through the two military establishments and can at least give thanks for the restraint, thus far, of the Egyptian military in a situation that looks ripe for the introduction of another military dictatorship. Maybe there is hope for some kind of more democratic system emerging in many of these troubled countries. In the mean time all I know to do is to watch andpray for a just peace to emerge from the turmoil.