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The propaganda machine

January 25, 2014 at 1:11 am

There is, today, nothing louder than the voices of sabotage, destruction, and incitement in the Egyptian media. There has been a determined attempt to aggravate the relationship between the regime and the army. In recent weeks, there have been rumours of complaint and anger amongst the armed forces, as well as direct calls on television talk shows for military intervention to halt the country’s decline.

On newspaper published on its front page a quotation from someone saying that this is the right time for a coup in the country. Likewise, in the last two days, rumours have been spread about the resignation of the minister of defence and other armed forces officials. A number of independent newspapers hastened to denounce the act that had not yet taken place. Some had said it was equivalent to the suicide of the system. Others said that the defence minister was a red line that could not be crossed and that the Brotherhood was playing with fire in regards to the army. Indeed, one newspaper went as far as to quote a fabricated statement by an anonymous military source saying that the army will not allow a repeat of the Al-Tantawi and Anan scenario (referring to Field Marshal Tantawi and Lieutenant General Sami Anan, whose retirement was announced by President Mohammad Morsi). Amidst this propaganda, the armed forces spokesperson issued a statement affirming they do not deal with rumours.

Normally, this statement should have settled the matter, however, the babbling machine did not stop, nor did the seekers of incitement and confusion calm down. This is exemplified by the fact that in addition to meddling with the army and state authority, there is another menacing game being played regarding the issue of violence. On one hand, we can barely find a condemnation of the violence against public facilities and community institutions. On the contrary, the newspapers have continued to show its images, considering it to be a consequence of opposition to the regime, as well as the exercise of the legitimate right to demonstrate. However, they have ignored the fact that legal demonstrations are peaceful demonstrations that have rules and boundaries, and that storming public institutions, attempting to set fire to the presidential headquarters, disrupting the operation of the metro, and holding up work in Al Tahrir Square, where most citizens earn their living, is not allowed within legitimate demonstrations and are considered criminal acts punishable by law in all respected democracies.

At the same time that violence against the institutions of the state and society is being supported and blessed, there is exaggerated warmth towards any party associating themselves with the Islamic arena when referring to this issue. As part of this warmth, newspapers have opened up to anyone with a beard threatening to kill or threatening to assassinate any opposers.
A few days ago, we examined a lengthy dialogue with an anonymous figure known as Abu Habiba, saying he heads a group of brigades called (Muslimun). He also talks about classifications they use and black lists with names of (bogus Muslims and secular and liberal traitors) who will be assassinated if the state falls.

Furthermore, he speaks about spying on (Christians) and their plans to divide the country. Amid the dialogue was an enlarged image of masked men dressed in black and carrying machine guns who are supposedly members of these brigades. Next to it was a picture of Abu Habiba who was also masked and standing behind a cannon. Instead of sending the dialogue to the Prosecutor General to investigate the validity of what was said, the identities of the armed men, and the claims they made, the newspaper praised the dialogue and considered it unique.

That is only one of the dozens of examples that extols violence and presents those who promote it as loyal fighters. We also observed a demonstration of warmth surrounding the masked group of men calling themselves Black Block.  Several TV stations hosted some of their members, despite the violent acts attributed to them, which should be brought to justice and not turn them into guests and TV stars.

The third matter that reflects talk of incitement and babbling is shown in the insistent call for civil disobedience, which was said to have received a response in Port Said, most likely due to fact that 21 people from the city were convicted for their role in city’s stadium massacre and were given the death sentences. Although the call for civil disobedience fell flat in Alexandria, the morning newspapers still called for it, insisting that three other governorates, Kafr el-Sheikh, Al-Gharbiyah, and Dakahlia were on the (road to disobedience).

The propaganda machine still continues to function and I don’t know if these are just coincidences or if they were arranged. What I do know is that none of those who instigate these incidents are not busy building anything in the country. Instead, all of their efforts are being poured into the anti-revolution pot whether they like it or not.

The author is an Egyptian writer. This article is a translation of the Arabic which first appeared in Al Shorouk newspaper on 20 February 2013

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