EGYPT: Are the Army and the People One Hand?
04.07.2013 by Nidya Five-Shots
I had been waiting for Sunday the 30th of June in trepidation, wondering what was going to happen for my dear Egyptian friends, and a country I love so much.
The last two trips I took to Egypt were only a few months apart, yet I could feel the situation and general frustration had evolved…
In March, Tahrir square had been turned into a squat, and its place within society had somewhat shifted, since the 18 days of the Revolution. The place was filled with tents, and their occupiers had their own interests in mind, before the one of their country. All thugs of Cairo had congregated and camped on the square for weeks on end. By talking to ordinary people on the street, it became apparent that their threatening presence on the square had been orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) themselves, and they were paid to be there.
Tahrir square being a rebellion symbol, it was convenient for the MB to scare people off from gathering there again, to express their growing dissatisfaction. Whilst this was taking place, I saw the paranoia within the MB’s supporters grow… Many of them turned ordinary citizens in to the police, accusing them of spying on the behalf of foreign governments. A Swedish documentary maker fell in the trap as she was following a lead… When she went to meet up with her “contact”, the police was waiting for her instead.
Meanwhile, the Black Bloc had formed and again, Morsi’s solution to tackle the situation was a testimony of his actual democratic values. A campaign was launched to make them look like a bunch of looters, and every journalist who tried to portrait them in a different light would either disappear, get fired, or shot by a “stray” bullet. The police was ruthless towards the young kids, and many died every day, many more got tortured under custody.
A couple of weeks ago, during my most recent trip to Cairo, I was followed by 2 men from the secret police for filming them arresting children from the Black Bloc during one of their protests.
The police shot tear gas cannisters at children, whilst being very close to passer-bys. But I was sad to notice that no other journalists were present to report on the events.
Morsi used all possible tricks in the book to annihilate the Democracy that helped him to power… Now that his place is threatened, he once more hides behind democratic values to justify his position, and was reported to have said that “Street protests must not be allowed to remove an elected president”.
The people of Egypt decided to ignore Morsi’s parameter. After all, if Democracy means “power to the people”, whilst the election process is in line with the value of a republic, it is not democratic per say. Once the elections have passed, the People do not have their say any more, on any decision made in their names.
As Morsi ignored the public’s anger, he accidentally uncovered the true rulers of Egypt, the entity that he and his Brothers never managed to control, the entity that put Mubarak in the front seat, the entity that kept the “transitional” government active for as long as it could: The Army.
In a gesture that may make them seem to be on the side of the People, the Army made a public announcement, giving the government 48 hours to step down and whilst some Egyptians cheer the news, others remember…
The Army has never been on the side of their People, and will never be on the side of their People, not only History can easily vouch for that, but the Supreme Council of Armed Forces’ (SCAF) structure can too. The organisation largely relies on “classified business ventures”. No one knows exactly what type they are, no one know how much they earn (estimated figures range from 8 to 40% of the gross national product), no one knows who profits the most, and more importantly, no one knows if those shady deals involve foreign entities that may or may not manipulate the score like a puppet master…
Former Generals are everywhere, in all layers and sides of governmental institutions as well: governors, mayors, head of councils, and the “interim government” of the post Mubarak era saw the number of ex SCAF being appointed to public office increase drastically. Under very thin veneers, Egypt is just another junta, similar to the Algerian template.
Demilitarisation seems to be an unreachable target for the Egyptians… Too many know that all too well… It however becomes clearer and clearer that it is a necessary step on the long road to Freedom and Self-determination.
Sunday the 30th of June has now passed, and my trepidation has since been replaced by genuine fear for my dear Egyptian friends, and a country I love so much.
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