Egypt (SAT-7/MNN) — The impact of
the turmoil in Egypt has been severe.
According to SAT-7 — a Christian
satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa — schools,
most businesses, banks and newspapers, churches and even hospitals have been
closed since January 28 due to the violence and curfews.
There are concerns that the
utilities will soon be affected because workers are staying home. Food and
medicines are running in short supply because everything is disrupted. And
because the banks are closed, people have no access to cash.
SAT-7's CEO, Terry Ascott, says it
has been difficult to contact staff in Cairo, but they have connected with
several members. Most are staying at
home and only coming out when the curfew is lifted to buy food and other
necessary supplies. The city is rationing water, so people are also being
careful with it.
Because of safety concerns, SAT-7's studio
and offices have been closed, too. The
ministry's four security officers have been staying in the TV studio/office day
and night, sleeping in shifts to protect the building.
Average citizens have been depending
on their neighbors to patrol the streets and protect them from looters. A building near the SAT-7 TV studio was
looted, but a local "neighborhood action committee" stopped the looters, beat
them up, and turned them over to local authorities.
What's encouraging is the sense of
unity that has been emerging from this scenario. Ascott says their team says there is an
atmosphere of solidarity and civic pride, which transcends religious
affiliation. The situation has
also improved since the army and police have gotten involved, but the neighbors
like knowing that SAT-7 has 24-hour security officers.
One neighbor said, "We are glad you
are here because if we fall asleep, we know you can warn us if something bad is
about to happen."
many things to pray about. Staff are not
reporting to work, and because the Internet has been down, they couldn't
transmit live shows from within the country, anyway.
they are broadcasting from Nicosia, and the team there is running a crawl across
the bottom of the screen urging prayer for the situation in Egypt. They
are also hoping to put together a series of special live programs from Lebanon
that will include calls with prominent Christian leaders living in Egypt to
discuss the situation on-air.
Many people are concerned about what will happen, and they are also worried about
the nature of any long-term solution: will their situation be better, or could it
perhaps get worse?
Egypt will move into a more positive tomorrow, one that includes greater
freedoms and justice for all its people, including the 8 to 10 million
Egyptians who Christ followers.