By The Persecuted Christian
The joke of the “Arab Spring” has intrigued the thinkers & analysts of the topic since its sudden upsurge in 2011. One of the most neglected of these revolutionary democratic waves that destroyed countries, displaced millions and killed & persecuted hundreds of thousands of minorities are Christians here. When discussing the Arab world, all tend to ignore instantly the Christian communities.
Christianity has been an integral part of the Middle Eastern culture far before the appearance of the Arabic (Islam). The early Christian religion has defined the Middle East of the Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Besides the fact that the population of these territories was mainly Christian before the arrival of the Arabic conquerors, the seat of three of the five patriarchates of early Christianity could be located in the region: one in Antioch (the modern city of Antakya in Turkey), one in Alexandria (in Egypt), and one in Jerusalem (in Israel).
The situation of the local communities was changed radically by the Arab conquests of the 7th century, but the position of local Christians deteriorated truly only after the Crusades. By now they have become minorities in every current Middle Eastern country, compared to the basically Muslim population.
I am not trying here to interpret the real causes of the “Arab Spring”.
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Firstly, it is yet a vicious circle, and to unveil its actual reasons is out of my issue here. Examining the changes in the situation of Christian minorities, not the causes, but the consequences of the “Arab Spring” are of importance, thus the exploration of the topic is possible mainly through individual researches and press sources. It presents another problem that the majority of the experts of the “Arab Spring” focus mainly on the Muslim majority societies, and ignore the role of the Christian minorities during the events.
Sectarianism has experienced a boost in the aftermath of popular uprisings in the Arab world. Recent sectarian strife following the fall of Arab authoritarian leaders has been provoked by ideological rifts between Islamists and secularists, and between Conservatives and liberals, as well as by religious divisions between Sunnis and Shias, Muslims and Christians. However, the rise of sectarian strife in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings has also been stoked by geopolitical strategies, as power vacuums create opportunities for political ambitions and agendas. While sectarianism is real and bears important risks, it is not the main driver of divisions in the region.
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