Last September, Watani launched a donation fund to compensate the Coptic victims of the terrorist Islamist attacks against them in the wake of the 30 June Revolution, and again in the aftermath of 14 August. Back then
, the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the ousted president Muhammad Mursi waged a vicious attack against the Copts throughout Upper Egypt, looting and burning their churches, homes, shops, businesses, schools and even orphanages; wreaking horrendous damage and ruin. They were penalising the Copts for being part of the 33 million-strong peaceful revolution on 30 June which brought about the downfall of Mursi and his Islamist regime.
The MB brutal attack against the Copts failed to sever the national rank, create a rift between the Copts and Muslims, or drive the Copts to cry for international help. But it did succeed in inflicting huge losses in lives, property and livelihoods among the Coptic community in 10 governorates, mostly in Upper Egypt. Coptic losses were estimated at some EGP65.5 million.
When Watani launched the donation fund on 22 September it printed a list of names of the Coptic victims, and the full details of their losses. On 3 November, we printed the estimated amounts needed to compensate Copts all over the 10 governorates. Ever since we launched the donation fund, we have printed on a weekly basis a list of the donations made to the fund. According to the list number 21 printed on this page, the sum total of the donations collected is close to EGP850,000.
Five months into the donation campaign, the fund has reached 1.3 per cent of the total needs of the victims. Even though the EGP850,000 may seem large, they fall severely short of meeting the objective of compensating the victims. If we foresee an equal division of the sum among the victims, those who need EGP100,000 worth of compensation will only receive EGP1,300. The concept of compensation would pale, even totally fade out, before the motto of ‘justly’ distributing the donations.
I think it best to involve everyone, the charitable donors and the patient victims, in assessing the situation so far. It is obvious to me that an even division of the current sum among the victims is futile. I thus appeal to every charitable individual who can spare anything to aid the victims to swell the fund which I am re-launching. I wish for the fund to achieve a gracious minimum of 10 per cent of the targeted amount, so that the victims may be in a good position to rebuild their lives, activities and livelihood.
In this context, I call on the authorities that have already aided or compensated any of the victims—as well as on the victims themselves—to let us know their names in order to take them off the victim list. This will be for the benefit of those who have as yet not been compensated.
Watani had before launched efforts to aid and care for the Coptic victims of violence inflicted by proponents of religious fanaticism and terrorism. Through donations by our readers, we were able to extend the helping hands to victims who had lost the breadwinner of the family, ensure that children who lost parents should be able to go on uninterrupted with their lives and schooling, and compensate those who lost homes, fields, shops or other sources of livelihood so that they and their families can rebuild their lives.
So this is not the first time that Watani, through the generosity of its readers, rushes to aid victims of distress. But this is the first time Watani stands before a calamity of such horrendous proportions. And this is why we re-launch the donation fund. I appeal to our generous-hearted readers for their support, and plead with the broken hearted victims to bear with us.
23 February 2014
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