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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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Repent, President Bush, and Then Start Fighting

I’ve been consistent in my support of action to remove Saddam Hussein – one of the world’s most brutal genocidal tyrants – from power. I wish the Muslim world, or some coalition of neutral nations, would do the job. But they don’t, so once again America has to step in.

However, I’ve noticed something. I doubt that a single one of my friends agrees with me.

Perhaps that’s no more than a reflection of my choice of friends. Yet they are generally well-educated, thoughtful people. Some are practicing Christians, some not. They are not viscerally anti-American. Several have lived in the US for extended periods. One works here in the Australian office of one of America’s largest companies.

I suspect they’re disturbed, as much as anything, by what appears to be a kind of American triumphalism, a sense that America is arrogantly asserting its right to do what it pleases, anywhere in the world. Would that the talk from Washington were just teeth-gritted determination. But sometimes it sounds more like bluster.

Belligerent swagger is of course part of the nature of war. It boosts the morale of the troops, while demoralising the enemy.

But some of President Bush’s statements – like his claim that America is “the greatest nation, the most decent nation, the most compassionate nation on the face of this earth” - display a hardness, an unloving quality, even when, as happens, God’s name is being invoked. It all sounds too – how can I put this? – too Old Testament.

Jesus talked about justice. The removal of Saddam Hussein certainly has to rank up there as one of the just causes in the world today.

But the message of Jesus involves much more. Humility, for example. And repentance. My friends, not to mention myself and – I suspect – many, many others around the world would be encouraged were we to see America humbly repent: for its past arming of Saddam Hussein; for its profligate use of oil; for paying billions of dollars to Israel as that country expanded its settlements; for unyielding support of despots in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Repent, President Bush. And may God bless you and your soldiers in your struggle to free the Iraqi people.

February 17th, 2003


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