Over the last few months I have kept relatively quiet about issues ongoing in Egypt because I am not Egyptian and therefore my opinion really is irrelevant. I have Egyptian friends with varying political views and I try not to disrespect their viewpoints, even if I don’t share some of those views. Occasionally I have posted comments and shared stories that particularly moved me. I came across the following article and felt very disturbed as I think the story is misleading.
The world, or at least those people I know in the world, is not against Egypt. Global friends have expressed great sadness at the violence and loss of life, on both sides, and this is where the problem arises. Seems if you’re not absolutely on board the side of the military against the Muslim Brotherhood, then you are against Egypt. There have been a lot of mistakes made, on both sides, since June 30, 2013, but stating that to some Egyptians results in being accused of supporting terrorists.
Morsi was an elected president and there is a democratic process for removing a president. The military, and whoever gave the go-ahead for action, made the wrong, undemocratic decision when they deposed Morsi. So MB members do have a valid argument, as he was their elected choice.
That said, Morsi’s election was questionable, legally, with evidence of ballot box stuffing, destruction of ballots, coercion of voters etc. Morsi won with 51.7% of the votes to Shafik’s 48.3%, a result which would have demanded numerous recounts in the west. After a year of what can loosely be called governing, it is easy to see why many Egyptians were calling for his resignation. And that might have happened, given enough time. After all it took 18 days before Mubarak got the message and stepped down. But four days into the protests the military removed Morsi from power which resulted in the MB taking to the streets in protest.
And this is where things get really messy. There are reports from MB supporters, and reports from military supporters, that show evidence of extreme violence against citizens on both sides. There have been deaths on both sides, approximately 600 people killed in six days! Egyptians are killing their fellow citizens, and it’s heartbreaking.
I won’t begin to speak for governments as I don’t know whether they have/don’t have agendas. But as a global citizen, I know that people hate to see this kind of violence in Egypt. We believed in the peaceful revolution of January 2011, and over the last two years we have prayed and watched with waning hope as that peaceful revolution morphed into the confusion we see today.
Comments from friends in Egypt, who were on the streets during the first revolution, express similar feelings about the recent violence and events as I do. The following article shows the depth of despair and disappointment felt by some revolutionaries. It clearly shows not every Egyptian is cheering the killings of their MB fellow citizens. Another Egyptian friend recently expressed his concern that Egyptians may be losing their humanity, after the events of this week’s massacre.
It is very difficult to support a military that uses force against its citizens, especially when we remember, with sadness, the actions of SCAF just two years ago, and remember the faces of the martyrs of that time. It is difficult to show support for a military-run country that oppresses one segment of society.
In equal measure, it is difficult to support the MB too, hearing their comments about turning this into a holy war, and the video evidence showing MB members using weapons against people and the military. We remember the thugs that took to the streets to try and destroy the revolution and we wonder if that is happening now amongst the MB supporters, so the public will be convinced that military rule is needed to protect them from the “terrorists”. If not the thugs, is it extremists who are using this opportunity to forward their own agendas? Regardless of who is firing the weapons and killing people, on both sides, the reality is that innocent Egyptians are dying.
The word ‘terrorist’ is becoming the go-to word around the world. It was the word used to motivate support for invading a country to find weapons of mass destruction that never materialized. The word terrorist motivated the acceptance of killing innocent people, because they were collateral damage in the war against terrorists. The word terrorist motivates normally decent people to utter such vile and hateful comments at those who may be far removed from any terrorist activities, all because they are a member of a Muslim faith, or a Muslim Brotherhood group. Some of the recent comments from friends supporting the violence towards MB members have been very cruel and shocking. How can anyone applaud the death of a young girl, the daughter of a MB member? Putting all MB members into the category of ‘terrorist’ is akin to Americans blaming all Muslims for 9/11. It is fear-mongering, and wrong.
I can only speak for myself so, for the record, please understand that I am still on your side Egypt, still praying for the new life that will hopefully rise out of all the pain and suffering, leading to a democratic process uniquely Egyptian, where all citizens will share the goals of Eish, Hurriyah, Karama Ensaneyyah – Bread, Freedom, Human Dignity – equally, regardless of who they are or whatever their affiliations.
I will always speak against the killing of people who were unarmed, were peacefully protesting, and those too young to be a threat to anyone. I will still be moved when a grown man, with tears of grief in his eyes, says “You can’t kill your own people!” I will still shed tears at the images of injured and dead, on both sides. I will still keep asking – no, begging – for those in control to find peaceful means to solve the issues in Egypt.
What I will not do is turn away from Egypt. I will not stop caring, or weeping, or praying that this country that I’ve never been to will find peace and prosperity in the near future. I will not stop sharing information with friends, reading their comments, grieving with them, and empathizing with them as they try to retain the ideals of the first revolution.
I will not agree with views I cannot support just to retain friendships. That said, I will not stop friends from sharing their views with me, even if I don’t share those views. That is what freedom of speech is all about, and it applies to those whose ideas both mirror and differ from mine. I may not agree with everything happening in Egypt, but I am still standing on the sidelines, heart in hand, tissues at the ready, praying for God to lead Egyptians away from the violence to a new life.
Salam, Masr, salam (Peace, Egypt, peace). Allah yehfazek (Allah/God protect you).