Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Protestors gather to remind government of revolution demands

Protestors in Tahrir one year later.
 (Photo by Bora S. Kameel)

Egypt (MNN) ― Egypt's military ruler has decreed a partial lifting of the nation's hated emergency laws effective today--the first anniversary of the start of the popular uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
The move caps off a wild beginning for Egypt's first democratically -elected parliament in 60 years.

A top priority will be for the chamber to elect a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution, which will have to be put to a vote in a referendum. The next major step in the transition will be a presidential election, scheduled to be held before the end of June.

However, the changes are not going in the direction revolutionary groups wanted. They're calling for mass demonstrations against the military rule on January 25, the one-year anniversary of the uprising that eventually led to former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster. SAT-7 USA President Rex Rogers says, "There's a lot of hope tempered by realism. There have certainly been some positive changes. Things have opened up."

That's a step in the right direction, but it hasn't come easily. SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, has an office in Cairo. Despite the weeks of unrest, their team has kept up with the events and adjusted accordingly. Rogers notes, "We've done a lot more live programming. We've tried to interact with people's on-the-ground needs. We've tried to share with them how practical Christianity is for life, and at the same time, continue to pray because we don't know exactly which direction this is going to go."

Daily live TV shows gave an outlet for the building emotional tension. Egyptian church leaders created an opportunity to calm angry spirits, to call for peace and to explain the Gospel. Rogers explains, "We try to encourage people, we try to help them understand how do you stand up for your rights, and at the same time turn the other cheek? We try to get in and understand 'what does the Word of God say?' 'When is it right to do one thing and right to do another?' "

Even as protestors gather in Tahrir Square to remind Parliament of the revolution's demands, Rogers says, "Pray for safety, obviously. Pray for an understanding of individuals different from oneself. I mean that religiously, and otherwise. You pray for people, and have a concern those that do not believe as you believe because ultimately, you want to reach out to them."

Despite a growing sense of disillusionment that's been widely purported, Rogers adds, "Staff is hopeful. They continue to pray. They are optimistic, but at the same time, they recognize there are a lot of political tensions taking place."

SAT-7's five channels include: SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PARS (Farsi), SAT-7 TÜRK (Turkish), SAT-7 KIDS (Arabic) and SAT-7 PLUS (Arabic). SAT-7 has an estimated 15 million viewers (Intermedia research, 2009) and broadcasts in three languages: Arabic, Farsi and Turkish. SAT-7 can be viewed via satellite in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, much of Central Asia and worldwide

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