Eye on the revolution: Natacha Chirazi, a Bahai view


نشر هذا الحوار 1 ابريل 2013 فى موقع الاهرام اون لاين

natasha

In this ten-part series, Ahram Online asks those who took part in January 25 revolution what they make of Egypt’s current political situation two years after Mubarak’s ouster

Natacha Chirazi, a young Bahai woman raised in Australia, came to Egypt in her early twenties to learn about the country her parents had emigrated from.

Despite the challenge of unmasked anti-Bahai sentiment, she became attached to the country immediately, and she has stayed in Egypt with her husband and her son Leo, who is a seventh generation Bahai.

Excerpts

  • I believe that a good part of our problem today is that we have become too engrossed in the dividing elements of politics which divert us from the cause of the 25 January revolution. I understand there are differences but I also believe, and this is part of my faith as a Bahai, that we need to find what could unite us. We do need to pursue spiritual and material prosperity through our unity.
  • As I came to this country with an Australian passport and as I know very well the problems involved in getting an Egyptian identity card for Egyptian Bahais, I did not vote. But to be honest, if I could vote then I would have had a problem because I was not fully convinced by any of the candidates. Every one of them seemed to be offering himself away from the call of unity. I thought that the best thing about the revolution was its call for unity; in fact, it embodied unity.
  • I personally did not join the demonstrations because as a Bahai I don’t necessarily believe in demonstrating, but what I did do is that I joined the crowds who went to Tahrir Square on 12 February, the day after Mubarak stepped down, to help clean up. On that day I felt that we were all united. We all belonged to this country and we all felt that we wanted it to be a better and more beautiful country and each of us in his or her way was doing exactly that.
  • Today, almost two years later, even though the spark is lost the faith is still there and this is what we need to capitalise on. It is not too late for us to find what could unite us, and to be honest it is obvious. We need to find prosperity for all. I think, regardless of our disagreement and maybe even our dissatisfaction at the performance of our new leadership, we can still agree on that much.
  • I would not say that the 25 January revolution failed to end the discrimination that Bahais face in terms of citizenship because the revolution is still to succeed at so many other fronts to end discrimination and to fulfil the call of justice and dignity for all. I cannot deny that to have an identity card with a dash in the religion section is something that upset me but at the same time I cannot see this as very different from the discrimination that the poor are facing, whether they like it or not, when for example they fail to get a good education for their children.
  • Despite the difficulties, I am determined to live here and to bring up my son here and not elsewhere. And I am really hopeful that by the time he grows up he will not have had to go through much discrimination as a Bahai because things would have evolved in a way that eliminates disparities in general.

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