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The question of the hour

January 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

Opposition newspapers in Egypt insist that the Muslim Brotherhood were the ones who opened fire with shotguns during recent protests (yesterday, one newspaper mentioned what it called “The Brotherhood’s shotguns”). Meanwhile, the Brotherhood insists that members of the Black Bloc and thugs attacked them during Friday’s protest with shotguns and sticks, while other news sources spoke of pistols being aimed at Central Security Forces. This just adds another page to the record of confusion and chaos, and has us convinced that mystery is the name of the game and that the doorway to the truth is closed until further notice.

We saw those shooting guns on our television screens, and others behind them with pistols pointed at the other side. This is not the first image we have seen of such people with exposed or half-exposed faces, as this has happened over and over again. The first question that comes to mind is: Isn’t there any agency in Egypt able to examine these images and determine who these people are in order to hold them accountable and find out if they were encouraged; are just eager individuals; or are thugs seeking to spread chaos at any cost?

The matter does not call for committees to investigate facts, although the term has been used, since we have heard all about committees that have failed to find out any of the facts they were charged with finding out. The matter merely calls for people who have eyes to see and consciences urging them to declare the truth without hesitation or vagueness.

When America was shaken with fear due to the Boston bombings, the police were able to determine who the suspects were from pictures taken, and within 3 days, were successful in identifying the suspects and pursing them. One was killed and the other was arrested which immediately eased the state of fear and concern, and the city went back to normal.

The two brothers who committed the crime were among a crowd of people, and both had their heads covered with a hat which also covered half their faces; despite this, they were quickly identified. However, those firing their shotguns and carrying knives and sticks in our country emerge with no disguise, or at times, cover only half their faces.

Although we have only seen their faces on our television screens, we saw them as living beings, however, the security agencies see them as ghosts and imps; appearing for moments and then quickly disappearing without leaving a trace.

It must spark our attention that the pillars and icons of the former regime were put on trial for insignificant crimes and imprisoned in the Tura Resort which seemed like a means of providing security and protection for them, whereas some were released to their homes as if they had committed no crimes against Egypt and its people. However, those murdering the revolutionaries are still unknown and no one has been held responsible for the violence, torture and gunfire witnessed during the protests. All that occurred was that one of the security authorities in Cairo complained to the Shura Council that the detained thugs were being released too quickly encouraging them to return to the streets the next day. However, the cases that are being moved along; that are being scheduled for trial and for which sentences are issued being are those that oppose the current authority and regime. This is what we witnessed with the ruling to dissolve parliament and challenge the appointment of the Attorney General, in addition to the case of prisoners fleeing the Wadi el-Natrun Prison, one of whom was President Mohammad Morsi. Every time a measure is taken by the government, it is challenged before the judiciary which has become dedicated to pursuing the authority rather than restoring the people’s rights.

I was once told that the police were no longer able to deal with the security chaos in light of the current political turbulence. I was also told that security agencies have witnessed new developments which hinder them from carrying out their duties in the required manner – a fact that must be acknowledged on one condition – we must realise that there are elements within these agencies that do not want the current deterioration in Egypt’s security situation to end.

What can be said in regard to police and security agencies can also be said for the prosecution and judiciary; this sector has been impacted by politics, and at times, has been found to be party to the conflict rather than a mediator between conflicting parties. If this is true, we can say that there are some sectors within the Egyptian institution that still have a negative attitude towards the revolution thus constituting an additional issue that revolutionary forces must assess. Unfortunately, however, they turn a blind eye to this thinking that these circumstances serve the purpose of overthrowing its regime, while it actually targets the revolution itself. Some of us have become blinded, while others have surrendered to the loss of insight; we are now counting on the individuals who have survived both evils. But the question of the hour is: Where are these individuals?

The author is an Egyptian writer. This article is a translation from the Arabic which appeared on, 22/4/2013

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.