Edward Said once famously took the scholar Bernard Lewis to task over the history of the Arabic word for “revolution”—thawra. In an essay called “Islamic Concepts of Revolution,” Lewis had traced the term’s usage back to the classical period of the language, and presented evidence showing that it had acquired its current sense only in the 19th century. Before this, Lewis had argued, it would have been more accurately translated by the English terms “excitement,” “uprising,” or, at the most, “rebellion,” having originated in a verb form which literally meant “‘rise up’ (e.g. of a camel).”
In the nearly five years of turmoil that have followed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, no group in Egypt has suffered more than the 15 million Coptic Christians. Both a religious and ethnic minority, the Copts are descended from the native population of Egypt who lived and ruled there from the time of the pharaohs until the Roman conquest in 31 B.C. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East today.
JERUSALEM—In their most brazen attack yet, Islamic militants in northern Sinai carried out simultaneous attacks Wednesday against 15 Egyptian military positions, killing 64 soldiers and police officers, according to an Egyptian newspaper. Reuters quoted Egyptian military sources as saying that more than 100 attackers were killed, but there has been no confirmation of this figure.