Egypt’s pain

25-05-2016 11:45 AM

Sanaa’ Farouk Nevine Gadallah Photos by Nasser Sobhy

Watani International goes to press as the crash of EgyptAir flight MS804 over the Mediterranean, which occurred Thursday 19 March, remains shrouded in mystery. 

The flight left Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport on Wednesday evening heading to Cairo, but crashed over the Mediterranean 290km off Alexandria in the early hours of Thursday, killing all 66 passengers and crew on board the Airbus A320 aircraft. Investigations have so far revealed nothing definitive about the cause of the crash.

Countless hypotheses have been volunteered by experts—and non-experts—in airline navigation, security, and crash causes. They remain, however, just that: hypotheses. No facts have been uncovered so far. Egypt is leading efforts in which a number of countries have offered to take part to find the black boxes. Unless these are found, nothing can be said with any certainty about how the plane went down. Egyptian authorities have been very cautious in their declarations or announcements concerning the crash, insisting they would say nothing but what was absolutely certain.


The pain

The crash has left Egyptians heartbroken. Not only is the loss of lives tragic, but the crash is also bound to cost Egypt dearly on the economic and touristic levels at a time when the country can ill afford it.

Adding insult to injury, the international media in general has adopted a line which appears bent on piling the blame for the crash on Egypt, disregarding the fact that the flight took off from Paris. Whether the plane went down owing to an act of terrorism, sabotage, or technical failure, it is obvious the responsibility should lie with Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport or Paris-based Airbus, the manufacturer of the plane. Yet major western news channels and sites have taken to holding disconnected comparisons between the recent crash and ones that occurred in the past, or by that claiming Egypt was concealing or obfuscating the facts, insinuating that there were indications incriminating the country in the first place. In all cases, such reporting on the crash was unsubstantiated, painful to Egyptians, and uncalled-for.

The Giza pyramids were illuminated in black and blue, with EgyptAir’s logo and flight number in white in mourning for the victims of EgyptAir’s MS804.

Egyptair changed its Twitter icon into black, also in mourning.

Stories and photographs of those who lost their lives in the crash went viral on social media. The tragedy no longer impacted the crash victims and their loved ones alone, but was bereavement and grief in the hearts of all of Egypt.



Sunday 22 May saw Requiem Mass held at Boutrossiya church in Abassiya, Cairo for the victims who lost their lives in the EgyptAir MS804 crash.

Presiding over Mass was Anba Danial, Bishop of Maadi and Papal Secretary, who was joined by Anba Yulius, Bishop of Old Cairo, and a number of Coptic clergy. Anba Danial was representing Pope Tawadros II who is currently in Austria on a visit that serves the double purpose of pastoral and medical care.

During the sermon, Anba Danial relayed the condolences of Pope Tawadros to the victims’ families and friends. The Pope, Anba Danial said, called from Vienna to express his deep sympathy with the bereaved, saying they were continuously in his prayers.

Anba Danial cited the names of the victims for which the Requiem Mass was being held, praying for comfort to all who loved and missed them. They were nine Copts: Yara Tawfiq, Magdy Ayad, Waguih Hanna Abu-Seif, Osama Faheem, Isabelle Henein, Raymond Samuel, Medhat Tanius, Wefqy Ishaq, and Daoud Mikhail. “They have indeed died in the flesh but,” Anba Danial said, “they will wake to Eternity in bodies of light as the Bible says.”


Watani International

25 May 2016


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