Today Egypt returned to the previous 50 years of dictatorship with the declaration of the state of emergency by the military and the killing of dozens of protesters. The Egyptian army liberated Egypt from imperfect democratic rule and replaced it with dictatorship, reversing the gains of the 2011 revolution with the consent of the cheering Tahrir masses who welcomed the army takeover in July. So much for those who complained of the Islamofascism of the Muslim Brotherhood! What is the name of this fascism? What about unalloyed fascism?
The tragedies of July and August and the loss of life were all avoidable.
Still wishful thinking in Western political circles claim it is not a coup. Heard of an ostrich? Western governments expressed “regret” at the killing of non-violent protesters and called for “restraint.” Really? What restraint if there are no consequences for the military junta in Cairo with dollars and euros flowing into their already lush coffers.
Don’t expect any condemnation from the White House for the catastrophe in Egypt. A President and a White House that prefer extra judicial killings of people around the world via drone attacks can hardly be torchbearers for the rule of law and human rights!
Yes, the situation in Egypt is complex. The Muslim Brotherhood are no angels. They have to take their share of blame for the tragic state of affairs. But undermining the democratic process created an alternative that is infinitely worse.
It might be apt to take a leaf from the pages of history.
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It does not require rocket science to configure what will happen in Egypt in months and years to come, following Niemöller’s reasoning. Based on Egypt’s record of dictatorship and authoritarianism one can anticipate a scenario, heaven forbid, that goes like this.
“Today they came for the Muslim Brotherhood, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, for they were not from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Then they came for the liberals, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not liberals.
Then they came for the democrats, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not democrats.
Then they came for the workers, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not the workers.
Then they came for the people, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not the people.
Then they came for the right thinking people of Egypt, and there was no one left to speak for what is “right,” for “thinking,” and for the “people.”
Darkness descends on Egypt!
Seeing their folly of at first blessing the military junta, Egypt’s religious leaders, Shaykh al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb and Coptic Pope Tawadros II are only now condemning the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Seeing the writing on the wall honorable sirs? One way of showing remorse is for these religious leaders to ask General Abdelfattah el-Sisi to step down and be held accountable for his deeds. Then they should each resign for their massive errors of judgment that have irreparably harmed Egypt.
Morsi blundered horribly, if not criminally. But the coup by the military junta has created a worse situation. More distressing is, of course, the failure of Egyptian intellectuals, the majority of whom have swung in favor of the military junta, following the logic of being “Sultan’s Jurists” –Fuqaha al-Sultan. Long live the courageous intellectuals who have offered balanced criticism and not succumbing to beguiling rhetoric and flawed logic.