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On the cheap blood of Egyptians

January 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

If an innocent and good-intentioned citizen who monitors Egypt’s news from abroad read Dr. Hazem Al-Beblawi’s recent statement, in which he announced his rejection of reconciling with and forgiving those with blood on their hands, I would not rule out the possibility of this citizen giving Al-Beblawi the benefit of the doubt, and expecting him to follow in Dr. Mohammad El-Baradei’s footsteps and resign in rejection of the army’s forceful dispersal of the sit-in,

as well as refuse to reconcile with the Defence Minister, Colonel Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, and the Interior Minister General Mohammed Ibrahim, as they are the ones who are responsible for killing over 1,000 Egyptian citizen, and wounding over 4,000 to date. Al-Beblawi’s earlier resignation from Essam Sharaf’s government to protest the killing of a number of Coptic Christians during the Maspero incident may have encouraged this particular citizen to believe he would act against state violence once again. However, if he were told that the Prime Minister instead thanked the two men and praised the role of the police, in addition to offering his condolences to the families of the martyrs, who reached about 60 individuals, what would he then say? Most people would express their astonishment and ask: What about the blood of the other thousand martyrs?

This scenario is not completely hypothetical because it is inspired from the current situation in which the martyred policemen in Egypt are receiving the recognition they certainly deserve, but the thousand citizens killed during the last week are being ignored. Moreover, when the Minister of Interior addressed the matter during his press conference, he considered the policemen martyrs, but spoke about the others as deaths. Still, he did not reach the extent of some, who said the fate of the others was hell!

What we can conclude from this scene is that the current government does not consider all Egyptians equal, as there are those whom they are pleased with and whose blood is precious, and there are others whom they are unhappy with and whose blood is cheap. This is not an assumption or slander: one journalist even wrote that the blood of Egyptians is not equal, because their blood – i.e. the Brotherhood’s – is contaminated due to their affiliations, and therefore it is not as pure and clear as the blood of the rest of the Egyptians.

This is typical of the kind of talk used by Nazis and is accepted and even supported by some without also realising its danger and consequences, especially its impact on domestic co-existence and peace. Moreover, I do not know how it was received within the circles of those who supposedly have contaminated blood, as they want to regain their position in society and politics and defend their existence. I understand that the demonization of the opposition is seen to be necessary at this point, not only to exclude and remove them from political life, but also to justify uprooting them from Egypt and eradicating them completely. This is due to the fact that they are facing a criminal situation, rather than a political one. So when this opposition protests or organises a peaceful sit-in, it then becomes necessary to accuse them of criminal actions, terrorism, murder, torture, possession of heavy artillery or chemical weapons, etc, as spreading such rumours provides both a political and a legal cover for dealing with them with brute force. However, overusing this framework leads to planting the seeds of further incitement and opening the door to endless evil.

The western politicians who recently flocked to Cairo were astonished by the poisoned propaganda that has now spread throughout Egypt, tearing apart the community and affecting the humanity of some of its circles. And anybody who has read The New York Times’ feature story on Saturday, August 17th, will also be astonished and confused by the logic being used by some Egyptian senior officials, a logic the politicians called “catastrophic”. Moreover, one of the reporters wrote about how a “senior official” recently urged an American guest visiting Egypt not to speak to the Brotherhood on the grounds that they do not respect the law. However, the American visitor told him that he was in no position to lecture him on the law because he gained his position unlawfully rather than being elected by the people.

The taste of power and the arrogant calculations of this historical moment have caused some leaders to look no further than where they are standing, and this can often be at the expense of their sense of humanity, which no rational or wise individual should ever abandon. Therefore, we must remind them that whether or not an individual supports or opposes the coup is not important. What is truly important is that regardless of their political position, every individual has the right to dignity, even if they have lost their right to dream.

Translated from As Sabeel Newspaper, 18 August 2013

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