A noted news correspondent for ABC in America, Martha Raddatz, could not hide her distaste and surprise as she told viewers of the recent comments made by Hazem El-Beblawi, Egypt’s interim Prime Minister appointed by the coup leaders. He not only approved of the coup authorities’ brutality but also made comparisons between the aggression carried out by the Egyptian military against peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators and what the US military did during World War Two and the Vietnam War.
El-Beblawi admitted during his interview with Raddatz that the Egyptian army and police carried out brutal crimes when they cleared protesters from Rabaa Al-Adawiyya and Al-Nahda Squares last month. The orders were given by coup leader General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim and El-Beblawi himself. Thousands were killed and many thousands more were wounded in the state violence.
The unelected prime minister did not deny these atrocities. In fact, he made it clear to Raddatz that he approved of them. “These are extraordinary times which must be confronted with brutality,” he said. “This does not mean that this will become the new way of life.”
He went on to try to justify the military’s use of lethal force against unarmed, peaceful protesters who were calling for a return to democracy and insisted that he has “no regrets on this matter”.
Everyone remembers vividly that El-Beblawi himself resigned from Essam Sharaf’s transitional government after the Maspero massacre on October 9th, 2011, when the army and police killed at least nineteen young Egyptians, many of them Christians. His resignation then was in protest at the government’s mishandling of the incident. “I believe that it is the government’s responsibility to provide safety and security to its citizens even if the government itself is not directly responsible for or played any part in these events,” he explained at the time. “It remains the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens.”
That was the statement of a man who compares the atrocities of the Egyptian security forces with those committed by the US army in full-scale wars, and approves of them. Such is the mentality of those behind the military coup, whose attitudes are alien to the majority of Egyptians. El-Beblawi’s statements are shameful in their documentation of crimes against humanity and his pride in supporting them. They will be of interest to everyone seeking to take legal action at the International Criminal Court. The interim prime minister should reflect on the fate of others who committed such horrific crimes in World War Two, who paid for them with their lives at Nuremburg.
The author is the deputy leader of the Wasat Party in Egypt and General Coordinator of Addameer National Front. This is a Translation of the Arabic text published on Al Jazeera net on 2 September, 2013.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.