Coptic Commemorative Protests and Discourses of Egyptian Nationalism: A Visual Analysis

Yosra Abdelsatar ElGendi

Abstract


This paper discusses the identity constructions of the Coptic Christian minority of Egypt during conflict and in particular through the theme of commemoration of martyrdom. In the aftermath of the attacks against them on October 9, 2011, (what is known as the "Maspero Massacre") Coptic social movements resorted to performative protests to celebrate their "martyrs". This paper analyses the visual representations of two such protests and examines how different themes and symbols from different traditions were used: Coptic Christian, Pharaonic and as well as nationalist Egyptian traditions. This paper argues that through these performances members of the community aimed to reconstruct and reassert their identity in public space as well produce oppositional nationalist discourses that interplay with social conflicts. Through examining videos and photos of these performances, this paper conducts an intertextual analysis of the visual aspects of the protests in order to reveal their political meaning as well as their contradictions.


Keywords


Copts; Commemoration; Identity; Conflict; Nationalism; Egypt

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2017.8.6027

Yosra works as a research officer in the American University in Cairo in the Media, Conflict and Democratization Project in which she conducts desk and field research on the impact of media on democratization conflicts, including inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts.  She earned an MA in Comparative Politics from the American University in Cairo (2013), an MSc in Development Studies from Lund University (2011) and a BA in Philosophy (2005). Her research interests include Christian-Muslim relations in the Arab World, interfaith dialogue and conflict resolution.