Rising Violence and Falling Hopes in Egypt
Since tens of millions of Egyptians took to the streets on June 30, raising red cards to President Mohamed Morsi and demanding he exit the political stage, the situation has gotten more difficult.
Angry pro-Morsi militants have launched violent attacks across the country. Seventeen were killed in the residential area of Manial, in eastern Cairo, dozens more in Bain al-Sarayt in Giza, in a shocking display of anger. Residents were killed when supporters of the ousted president opened fire and vandalized shops.
A priest was shot dead in his car in the northern Sinai city of al-Arish, and unknown assailants opened fire at churches in Port Said and Minya.
In deadly clashes on Monday with the armed forces at the Republican Guard compound, 57 Egyptians were killed, including an officer and two soldiers.
Each side blamed the other for initiating the violence. The armed forces and media dubbed it the “war on terror.” Morsi supporters called it a massacre.
It is still unclear exactly what happened, but any use of force should be condemned, whether it be from the military or the Brotherhood.
Many anti-Morsi demonstrators hope for the end of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I tell you, they will not exist in six months,” one anti-Muslim Brotherhood protester told me recently. “No one wants them here anymore and they will not be able to live.”
But thousands of Morsi backers are still in public, protesting for the deposed president’s return, feeling angry and cheated by the military. They have vowed to stay until Morsi is back in office. The group’s leadership has even called for an uprising by its supporters against the interim government, which has increased fears among citizens of the potential for more violence and death.
Police reports are emerging daily, mentioning the arrests of militant Muslim Brotherhood affiliates, the discovery of explosive devices and plots against public places of interest.
Some people seem receptive to these messages, and take comfort in being “protected” by the military. But not everyone agrees.
“Religious or military fascism has no place in Egypt,” wrote one Egyptian activist on Facebook.
Many are still dubious because of the military’s record during the 18 months when it was leading the transition from the Hosni Mubarak era. During that period, the military violated many human rights and abused and imprisoned thousands of opponents. Activists say 12,000 civilians saw the inside of military courts, often getting harsh sentences for protesting or speaking out against the military.
The scars carried by both sides, pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi, are deepening now. Egypt is approaching a critical moment, and the outcome seems vague and unknown.
Manar Ammar is an Egyptian journalist. She can be found on Twitter at @manar_ammar.
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