For Egypt and America, now and for-ever, 11 September and 6 October have both become days of war and peace, reconciliation and enmity, grace and wickedness, martyrdom and murder, manifestation of most noble humanity and darkest evil spirit.
11 September is the Feast of The Martyrs, celebrated by Egypt’s indigenous Christians, the Copts, since the fourth century, and now by the Coptic Church worldwide. It is also the Coptic New Year according to the Calendar of the Martyrs, Anno Martyrum, which starts at the year 284 AD, the enthronement of Emperor Diocletian, the most vicious persecutor of Christians.
6 October is a day of national pride and celebration in Egypt. On 6 October 1973, the Egyptian armies made history by crossing the Suez Canal and seizing the Barley Line in Sinai. The heroic military operation succeeded in liberating part of the homeland from foreign occupation that had lasted six years. The state of war between Egypt and Israel ended by a "Framework for Peace" signed by the two nations in Camp David USA on 17 September 1978.
But envy and other evils brought grief and darkness to the glorious day of 11 September.
Evil minds abused the beauty of technology and architecture to kill about 7000 persons from 62 countries and almost every religion on earth. This destruction proved that America, the breadbasket that feeds much of the world and "the land of opportunity," could also be "a land of opportunity to do evil."
Similarly, on 6 October 1981, President Sadat of Egypt, the visionary leader of the 1973 victory and the shrewd Coauthor of the 1979 peace accord, was assassinated by the same terrorist party that he released from prison in 1971 to combat his socialist opponents. Even more ironic is that one of Sadat’s assassins became the suspected chief architect of the 11 September tragedy in the USA. Also ironical is the fact that the financiers, planners and trainers of this and earlier tragedies came from the ranks of al-Mugahidine,
whom America supported during the 1980s to combat her communist enemies in Afghanistan.
The Martyria of Bishop Samuel:
A man full of grace, Anba Samuel (1920-1981), the Coptic Bishop of Social and Ecumenical Services, was killed together with Sadat. Anba Samuel was representing the Coptic Church in the 6 October victory celebration. Along with the other dignitaries, he was on the viewing stand of the military parade. We may never know if he was killed intentionally or by start fire. But, judging by the many bullets in his body, the safety of all around him, the hate campaign against Coptic clergy triggered earlier, and the hundreds of Christian Copts killed by terrorists in Egypt since then, it is highly probable that Bishop Samuel was singled out by assassins. By God, however, he was called to give witness (martyria in Coptic and Greek) by blood on that day.
The New Abel in Egypt and America:
The dove of peace, the gracious Bishop Samuel, is the modern representation of the righteous Abel killed by his older brother Cain. Both were innocent victims of evil. During their lifetimes, both raised offerings and sacrifices that were accepted by God. At their death, their souls and bodies became a living sacrifice, holy and again acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). Both left the world with a spiritual message written by their blood, witnessing against the cruelty of brothers and the failure of humanity. These messages are still resounding in heaven as St. Paul declares of Abel, "he died, but through his faith he is still speaking-Heb 11:4." Finally, both men had their shed blood crying in the wilderness and to the highest of all heavens as God spoke to Cain, "The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground-Gen. 4:10."
These parallels between the martyria of the righteous Abel and H.G. Anba Samuel can be applied with variations to the thousands of innocent victims of the September 11 tragedy in America, and to Adel Sarkis Karas, the Copt who was killed in Los Angeles in a hate crime connected to the national tragedy. We trust that through the witness of their blood, the world’s conscience will be awakened to conquer evil by good, and that people of all faiths and nationalities will unite in their commitment to cherish and respect our common humanity and the sanctity of life.