Egypt in the Rear Mirror (I): The Irresistible Temptation to Analyse What One Ignores
MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA, 31 Mar 2014
“If we, the Spanish people, spoke only of what we know, an immense silence would be generated”. This statement was made by Manuel Azaña, Spanish politician and writer who served as prime minister of his country (1931-1933 , 1936) and, later on, as president of the Second Spanish Republic (1936-1939).
The statement applies to the very subject of this report as it transcends the borders of a given country and a single historical moment.
That a politician says and does what he or she is mandated to do and say, is really a worrying fact, though this seems to be business as usual now-a-days. But that a journalist sitting in a South American capital analyses what happens 10,358 kilometres away in a country that he or she probably has never visited, is really a very serious matter.
Is Watching TV Enough?
Simply one thing is to live the events, witness them, be immersed in them, having been born there and understanding the culture and language of the people, and quite a different thing is to just surf in Internet and watch TV as a way to asses and further judge what is going on in a very far away country.
The first is not equivalent, even remotely, to possessing the truth or offering purely objective viewpoints. As for the latter, a look at the TV news or the media headlines, wired or printed in another continent, is definitely not enough to believe that one has in hand the needed evidence to release final judgements and statements.
This irresistible temptation to analyse what one ignores has been spreading like an oil slick during the dramatic events in Egypt. More specifically, since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted at the beginning of July last year.
So they have seen and read statements about the past, present and future of the land of the Pharaohs. Basing on dramatic images and headlines announcing the end of the world, flash reports launched on the bases of what a Western diplomat who has just arrived to Cairo believes to know and, above all, the practice of the easy habit of “cut and paste” from the “big brothers” of the press—also called mainstream media.
Only If It Bleeds, It Leads?
This way, so many reporters rushed breathlessly to sell the same headlines: military coup, military boots crush the revolution, bloody repression, massacre, slaughter, bloodshed, repressive regime, back to the Mubarak era, etc, etc, etc .
Not that there have not been hundreds of deaths and injuries. They have. Not that the followers of the ousted president have not been surrounded and cornered by the machinery of both the police and the army. They were.
What a media professional based in a small Latin American capital or in a town in California at some 28,600 miles away from Cairo, may not know — or probably wants to ignore — is perhaps the following:
1. the deposed President was elected by just over half of the Egyptian voters (51.7 percent) due to two main factors:
a) Morsi’s electoral rival was a General and a key strongman of the also ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and
b) that the people believed that a man of faith (Mohamed Morsi) candidate representing so many God-fearing men (the Muslim Brotherhood) would be a guarantee against the absolutism and oppression that they suffered over six decades of tough military rule.
A New Caliphate?
In spite of that, Morsi applied strictly to the orders issued by Mokkatam Hill , home of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. These orders had — and still have – a sole objective: the total “Islamisation” of the country, as necessary first step towards the achievement of an old dream: the “renaissance” of Egypt as a cornerstone for an Islamic Caliphate… for the very questionable glory of Islam … Their Islam … the Islam of 14 centuries ago.
The Muslim Brothers lived in their caves along more than six decades of moving underground, as their movement (the Muslim Brotherhood) was successively banned by all the rulers of the country since mid XIX Century.
The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a political organisation whose doctrine is based on their own, misslead conception of Islam, which was founded in 1928, that is after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Its stated goal is to install the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state.”
And thus, according to the most widespread view, they seek to transform all Muslims countries in a new Islamic “Caliphate”.
The main reason the Muslim Brotherhood was banned is that this organization aims at promoting political violence and the creation of similar movements across the borders of Egypt (see the case of Hamas in Gaza, which acted during Morsi’s rule the armed branch of the Caliphate dream).
There are credible reports that the current leader of Al Qaeda, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, has his deeply rooted origins in the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
This background suffices to explain that, cheered on by foreign politicians and journalists as the democratically elected president, Morsi began to act as the new Caliph in the making.
A Caliph who decreed his own infallibility, who launched avalanche attacks against any opponent who tried to criticise his decisions and above all, a Caliph who took all judicial and legislative powers in his hands, and embarked on a blind, aggressive “Islamisation” of all Egyptian institutions and areas of decision-making.
A new dictatorship was then born, this time the dictatorship of the troglodytes. Troglodytes who acted steadily basing on an overwhelming, blind desire for revenge of their decades of darkness and forced confinement.
What some the remote-journalists do not know — or preferred not to learn – is that Egypt, with its 94 million inhabitants, lived in the meantime the following facts, all of them documented by government data and international institutions such as the UN, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, among others:
1. Over 16 percent of all Egyptian families, with an average of five members each, live in one single tiny room, where they sleep, cook, wash and cover their physiological needs.
2. More than 50 percent of all Egyptians, namely 47-48 million souls, live below the poverty line.
3. Monthly inflation rate already exceeds 1.5 percent, making more than 18 percent annual average.
4. The World Bank in a recent report indicates that “Egypt’s economy continues to suffer from a severe recession and the government faces many challenges in terms of how to restore growth, the market and investor confidence.”
5. Though over half of the total population lives in rural areas, more than 78 percent of the poor and 80 percent of the extreme poor live there, according to the World Bank.
6. Economy collapsed, foreign reserves nearly exhausted, tourism paralysed due to fear of the insecurity that reigned under the Muslim Brotherhood regime and the rumours that the hard wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, prompted by Salafi extremists, planned to cover the Pharaonic monuments as they include sculptures and paintings that they consider “obscene” for not being ” Islamically-correct”.
7. Public insecurity prevailed to the extent that children, the elderly and women, did not dare go out of their homes, because of the real fear of assaults and robberies, not to mention sexual abuse.
The Legitimacy of the People
All these are simple examples of what the troglodytes old dream of building up a new Caliphate, has indeed achieved under Morsi’s short but harsh regime. On 30 June 2013, over 34 million Egyptians took to the streets in massive protests against the regime of the troglodytes.
This figure is simply equivalent to 250 percent the number of Egyptians (sligthly over 13 millions) who had elected Morsi a year before.
On 3 July 2013, the new fake Caliph was ousted; a prestigious civilian judge and Constitutional expert was elected by all political forces to provisionally replace Morsi as President in charge.
A route map was drafted by all political forces, including the extremist Salafi Party “Al Nour”, with a specific programme ahead: to draft a new Constitution, to hold Presidential elections to be followed by Parliamentarian elections. And the Muslim Brotherhood was banned… again.
Political Prisoner, Back to Prison
Morsi was arrested along with 24 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders on 28 January 2011, that is amidst the overwhelming wave of popular protests that was crowned with the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. Mosri escaped from prison two days later. The break of Wadi el-Natroun Prison was widely reported, and on 30 January 2011, news were wired from Cairo as follows:
– Reuters reported (according to a Muslim Brotherhood official): Thirty-four members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, including seven members of the leadership, walked out of prison on Sunday after relatives of prisoners overcame the guards.
– The Guardian reported: Armed gangs took advantage of the chaos in Cairo and other cities to free the prisoners, starting fires and engaging prison guards in gun battles, officials said. Several inmates were reportedly killed during the fighting and some were recaptured.
– Los Angeles Times reported: Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood members escape prison, rally in Tahrir Square.
– Israel News reported: Former minister reportedly evacuated from Interior Ministry building under heavy fire. Thousands of criminals, political prisoners flee local jails, join uprising against President Mubarak across country. Report: Dozens of bodies found near Cairo prison.
From Morsi’s first telephone contact with Qatari TV Network Al Jazeera at the moment of his release and before his decision to depart prison premises, reports: “Inmates escaped from Wadi al Natroun Prison, among them Mohamed Morsi.
Since July last year, Morsi is in prison… again!
Baher Kamal is an Egyptian-born, Spanish national, secular, pro-peace and human rights journalist. Kamal is Human Wrongs Watch publisher and editor.
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