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True and false narratives of genocide in Egypt and Syria

January 24, 2014 at 2:28 am

The narrative of the Syrian revolution has been transformed from a story of peaceful protests demanding democracy to a civil war involving all members of Syrian society. In fact, the Syrian narrative is subject to variation depending on the narrator’s identity and political affiliations. According to the anti-government forces, the ferocity with which the regime attacked peaceful demonstrations led the Syrian people to defend themselves. However, according to the Syrian government, the revolution was the embodiment of terrorist efforts to weaken Syria since the onset of the demonstrations. Ministers also argue that these demonstrations turned Syria into a hotbed of foreign interference.

Of course, there is no need to refute the regime’s narrative of the war in Syria, because even if it were true that it is fighting terrorism, its approach in doing so does not validate its claim. The government in Damascus is acting like a father who chooses to shoot his child in order to end his confusion. The regime began firing live ammunition on civilians and torturing children in an effort to terrorise protestors. It then chose to use weapons of mass destruction to destroy entire communities and cities. This is an old tactic that the Syrian government has used before in Tel Zataar and Hama, when citizens rose up in protest against the regime in the eighties. The regime used an extreme degree of power against all those who refused to kneel before it. Yet, this policy failed because the Syrian people believe in and stand true to their motto that “death is not humiliating”. Syria has witnessed and will continue to witness a lot of death but the people will not be brought down or humiliated from today onwards.

The opposition’s narrative of the war in Syria requires minor editing when it comes to the army’s role. This war did not start out as an armed conflict between the army and civilians per se. What occurred was that many members of the Syrian army wanted to desert because they no longer felt able to participate in oppressive and barbaric tactics; although they had no intention of fighting the regime, they did not want to have their family’s blood on their hands. The regime operates like a mafia that forces all of its members to spill blood against their will, as a way to prove their loyalty.

One of the regime’s policies is to take action against its own members before anyone else in order to contain those who stray from the system. In order to fully comprehend this, one merely needs to look at the measures taken against Raafat Al-Assad, as well as the kidnapping of Shibli Al-Aysami and the political arrest of many Alawites. All of this occurred because the regime had slight suspicions that these individuals were disloyal. The regime not only threatens a suspected individual, but it also targets that person’s family and loved ones. Its devils know that many people are willing to die for the cause but cannot bring it upon themselves to accept the sacrifice of their children and families. For this reason, the regime favours using blackmail as one of its main tactics. In fact, it decided to teach soldiers a lesson that everyone would understand when it decided to track deserters and arrest anyone who agreed to shelter or protect them.

Many surreal and heroic scenes took place at the beginning of the war in Daraa and Homs, with civilians guarding soldiers with their own bodies from a regime that has mercy on no one. Houses were destroyed over the heads of any families who dared to house a deserter. When soldiers realised that desertion was no longer an option, they began to arm themselves and congregate in self-defence. This is how the Free Syrian Army was formed, as an attempt to combat the regime and its arrogance. The regime chose to take this conflict to the end rather than admitting its mistakes and disasters that it caused before any other party. The damage is now irreversible. Thus, the government is now guilty of genocide, which is the term that the United Nations has used to refer to this situation. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was among the first charters to be passed by the United Nations General Assembly. No perpetrator accused of genocide has gone unpunished since this charter was passed and Syria’s case will be no different.

Recently, the situation in Egypt has begun to resemble Syria in that everyone is saying that it is on the brink of civil war; it is clear that Egypt is engaged in a raging civil conflict. Yet, the war in Egypt remains unique because it is a one-sided war that is waged against the Muslim Brotherhood, a party that won the democratic elections; it is almost certain that they would win elections a second time, given the chance. Furthermore, all active supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are now labelled as terrorists and are either killed or imprisoned so that the group does not win future elections. Thus, when Al-Sisi wins the elections, the regime will argue that all this talk of a military coup is nonsense because he won 99.9 per cent of the vote just like Hosni Mubarak, Gaddafi, Saddam, Al-Assad and Ben Ali. Long live democracy!

On the other hand, this is a three-sided war because there are extremist groups in Egypt – as well as in Syria – that are engaged in armed conflicts against the regime. The Egyptian and Syrian governments are focusing all of their efforts on fighting civilians rather than extremist groups, which allows these armed groups to grow stronger and more prevalent. In both cases, the regimes have adopted far-reaching terrorist policies regardless of the cost. This is the depth of the genocide that both are engaged in. Furthermore, the decision to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organisation” makes Egypt the world’s capital for terrorism and the home to at least five million terrorists!

Egypt is thus currently engaged in the region’s biggest genocide operation after Syria, Iraq and Darfur. The military (the current ruling party) in Egypt is engaged in a race against time to destroy all other political factors, even if this means that it is built atop piles of bodies and blood. Governments in Egypt have implemented these tactics time and again and it has been a trait of every ruler of the country since 1882.

After much bloodshed and after the regime’s attempt to dismember Egypt, it has realised that it will fail to shape the country the way it wants. Even so, despite these failures, there will surely be another party that will try to reshape the country and its identity. There have been numerous attempts to reshape Egypt and now there is no room in the country for arrows and swords. At one point in history, the regime’s goal was to end feudalism and, afterwards, it was to erase the effects of Nasserism; now the goal is to rid Egypt of Islamists. What is happening in Egypt today resembles the time when Egyptian General Ahmed Orabi led a revolt against Tewfik Pasha in 1879. The revolt was crushed in 1882, giving way to a forty-year British occupation. However, the time of colonialism in Egypt has come and gone and Egyptians will no longer accept such an outcome. The difference this time around is that the “expert” (General Al-Sisi) seeking to transform Egypt has absolutely no experience in this field. In fact, he knows nothing other than how to wage war against his own people. What we are seeing is an alliance of minorities, remnants from the Nasser and Mubarak regimes, and fearful and stressed individuals who have nothing in common except for their hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their hearts do not hold any good will towards the movement at all.

These anti-Brotherhood minorities understood that their plan will only succeed if they spread hate and ignite a fire among the Egyptian people. It is a fire full of rage that burns day and night and its flames will devour friends before it reaches its intended victims. We are currently facing a republic full of hatred, as was the case in Serbia when it wreaked havoc on its own people and encouraged corruption, or in Rwanda when official and non-official news sources decided to encourage on-going massacres. Senior officials at the Mille Collines Radio Station and Kangura newspaper were tried between 2000 and 2009 for inciting the Rwandan genocide. Many of them were sentenced to life in prison while one of them was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment at the United Nations Rwanda Tribunal. The atmosphere in Egypt is reminiscent of the situation in Rwanda as publishers who are full of hatred sit on media thrones of power in much the same manner that Hutu extremists sat on their thrones of delusional lies. They took advantage of the grace that God bestowed upon them and used it to terrorise their people.

In Egypt and Syria alike, hatred has now taken root in society and become a way of worship. Both of these countries are undoubtedly headed towards ruin. Many years will pass before they will be able to re-emerge as functional, viable states. This in turn means that they will become hotbeds for foreign intervention not only because genocide is no longer acceptable in today’s world but also because such suicidal regimes require intervention. He who chooses to destroy his house with his bare hands willingly creates a state of fear, hunger and turmoil that forces outsiders to intervene in defence of that person’s own interests, especially in a vital region like the Middle East. All regimes that attack their own people are in need of a constant supply of foreign aid and assistance, which does not come in the form of generous donations because there is no global charity box that is used to fund genocide and encourage massacres. The price of supporting such activities is well known. As it states in the Holy Quran, “heartbreak will be inevitable” for all those who spend their wealth on such activities.

This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Quds Al Arabi on 30 December, 2013

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