What Now for Egypt?

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The army that postponed democracy by removing the democratically elected government in Egypt has now decided to "deny the squares to the protesters" in order to justify itself. The military that seized control of the administration demands "absolute obedience." Through this antidemocratic and unlawful perspective, military dictatorships deprive the people of all freedoms, including the "freedom to live," for the sake of preventing popular protests. With that despotic and oppressive mindset, those who carry out coups spill the blood of those who they regard as illegitimate making no allowances for women and children.

The government has declared that as a result of a measure intended to "imprison in their own homes people who wished to use their right to democratic protest" by assembling in the public squares, and that has now turned into a bloodbath, some 700 people were killed in clashes this week. According to Muslim Brotherhood officials, the number exceeds 2,000, with around 10,000 injured. More people were massacred on Wednesday's attack last week than the number of people killed in the 18 days till Mubarak was toppled. As a result, the provisional government has declared a one-month state of emergency; this has caused great alarm in the West. Mubarak also used the "state of emergency" as a pretext to rule the country for many years under a dictatorial regime. "State of emergency" is little more than a convenient excuse for a dictatorship.

As David Kirkpatrick stated in The New York Times, of the 25 provincial governors named, 19 are generals. Among them are some generals from the Mubarak era who explicitly rejected protecting Morsi and his supporters and even directed guns at them. It appears that General Sisi and his supporters are seeking to build an administration that is even worse and more repressive than that of Mubarak's time. The dictatorship established by Nasser in 1952 came to an end when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in democratic elections in 2012. The current military regime wants to take the people of Egypt back to 60 years ago.

Egypt also has a Christian Coptic population making up 10 percent of its 85 million total population. For some time, there has been a good deal of disinformation suggesting that the Muslim Brotherhood members have been assaulting Coptic churches and governorships on the grounds that a Coptic priest had supported the coup. However there exists not one official statement in this respect. For example, Muslims performed their last Friday prayer in front of church in Suhag in order to protect them. Meanwhile, the Egyptian press carries headlines of fake reports presenting the Muslim Brotherhood as the perpetrators of the pro-government gangs' provocations, and thus falsifies the incidents. Meanwhile, the Egyptian press carries headlines of fake reports presenting the Muslim Brotherhood as the perpetrators of the pro-government gangs' provocations, and thus falsifies the incidents. However, the Muslim Brotherhood released this statement today: "We have repeatedly affirmed that our opposition is peaceful and will continue to be peaceful, safeguarding the security of our homeland, its institutions and facilities. We denounce all forms of violence, all acts of terrorism or sectarian strife. We strongly condemn all that."

As I stated in my previous article, both Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood should not insist on re-assuming the leadership on their own; rather they should be most properly concerned for the democratic health and safety of their own people. Morsi's declaration of withdrawal from the presidency would lower the tension to a great extent. The Army and the Brotherhood urgently need to agree on a lowest common denominator. The demands of all the sections of society, Coptic Christians, secularists, liberals, supporters of the Brotherhood and Salafis must be taken on board. The different sides must be encouraged toward a joint solution, in the presence of arbitrating countries, not with feelings of hatred and revenge, but with a friendly, compassionate and patient approach. Since Turkey is a model democracy for the Middle East, it can act as arbiter.

All sides must bear in mind that their opposite numbers will have legitimate concerns and desires. A legitimate coalition and transitional government must be established, and the military must return to their barracks and resume their basic function of protecting the country against foreign hostilities.

Common ground must be found and a non-extremist government that is secular, democratic and based on the rule of law must be established.

The presence in social media of people who support the slaughter of a group that constitutes a large part of the country, and the way they are not criticized but actively supported by the military junta, is a sign of a desire on the part of the ruling clique to lead Egypt to a much more sinister outcome. It is a crime against humanity to support or just sit back and watch violence against those who hold different views.

For example, one tweet says that a neighbor of a massacred woman watched the violent scene with a smile on her face from her balcony. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery -- the Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the Freedom and Justice Party -- mentioned this cruelty and violence in his interview with CNN saying, "Criminal army officers are burning the hospitals, they are burning the bodies. That is unheard of in the history of Egypt. Those people cannot be Egyptians killing the Egyptian people with the Egyptian Army and the Egyptian police force."

All the sides in Egypt must encourage brotherhood, solidarity, love, compassion and affection in society and condemn all forms of violence. That is only possible, in the long run, through education.

A spirit of opposition that regards violence as legitimate will merely lead to further bloodshed. In that event, Egypt and the Middle East will never attain peace and tranquility, and this turmoil may ultimately have a profound impact on the entire world.

2013-08-19 22:05:10

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