News / Africa

In Year of Change, Egyptians Look for Reprieve on Eid Holiday

Children can look forward to presents of toys during the Eid festival in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2011.
Children can look forward to presents of toys during the Eid festival in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2011.

Many Egyptians are seeing added significance in this year's Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice.  For them, it's been a tumultuous year that brought one political era to an end, and ushered in an uncertain future as elections loom. Some are looking forward to another aspect of the Eid - the granting of reprieve.

In the narrow alleyways around Cairo's Sayyida Zeinab mosque,  Eid al-Adha has many thinking about the sacrifices of their countrymen this year.  Ahmed is a young butcher in this ancient quarter.  He remembers "the many human beings who lost their lives" in Egypt's revolution.

He says they were sacrificed for the sake of the country.

Sheep marked for slaughter during the Festival of Sacrifice, in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2011.
Sheep marked for slaughter during the Festival of Sacrifice, in Cairo, Egypt, November 3, 2011.

Sacrifice is key to the Eid, honoring the prophet Abraham. According to the traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, he was ready to sacrifice his son to show obedience to God.

That kind of sacrifice, Ahmed says, continues, and not just with the martyrs: the country has no money and the youth are suffering. There are others who believe much of sacrifice, not just in Egypt but throughout the Arab world, has been made on the altar of foreign powers.

Fellow butcher Abu Bakr Mohamed says that, like Iraq's Saddam Hussein, executed on the first day of the Eid al-Adha in 2006, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi was also "slaughtered."

Mohamed says Arabs should stand together because, every year, more Arabs are lost and "countries are taken from us."

Mounting frustrations

As Egyptians make their way through the post-revolution period, frustrations are mounting on many fronts.

Some, like Mohamed's, are aimed outward, while others blame their new leaders for going back on what seemed the promise of a better life.

Working his way through the market stalls around Sayyida Zeinab, Yahia leads a buffalo to slaughter - the animal destined to play a role in the sacrificial rites of the Eid.

For in the story of Abraham, God grants a last minute reprieve, and allows a ram to be slaughtered instead of the son.

Yahia says Egyptians have more sacrifices ahead, but their own reprieve is not far off.

"Trust me," he says, "what is needed is patience: the country will rise, Egyptians will have a new president, a good parliament and a good constitution."

Yahia says that change cannot come overnight. God himself, he argues, could have made the world in a day.  But he took six days , "to teach us patience."

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs