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What's next for Egypt after dispersing the protesters?

January 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

What must be said first is that cornering the protests against the military coup in two arenas only, Raba’a and Al Nahda, was a failed attempt at limiting them to a tight space. Everyone knows that the protests of legitimacy supporters over the last month and a half were all over Egypt, whether festivals, protests or almost daily marches.

The other point is that the attempts of the remnants’ media, and the supporting countries, to limit the protests to the Muslim Brotherhood movement are making the movement bigger and falsifying their allegations. They say that the Muslim Brotherhood lost its popularity through a year of Morsi’s rule; but it was a sham rule that remained under the control of the deep state with all its security, political and civil manifestations.

This has become clear with the formation of a post-coup government, while keeping the two most important ministers of the previous administration (defence and interior), in addition to five other highly important portfolios.

The case is that protests of legitimacy supporters were not limited to the Muslim Brotherhood; large crowds from other groups also gathered. As fair observers point out, Brotherhood members only constituted a quarter of the protestors all over the country, which confirms that large sectors of society refuse the coup. However, a large section of them belong to the Islamists with all their groups – Freedom and Justice, The Middle, Building and Development, Strict Hazimoon, Homeland, and others – and their independent figures also including Salafists and moderate Islamists.

We move on to dispersing the two main protests, which some saw as declaring the end of the demonstrations. It was introduced through announcing that mediation to end the crisis has failed. But the reason that mediation failed was not due to the stubbornness of the Muslim Brotherhood, as is rumoured by the remnants’ media, but to the fact that the coup parties only offered legitimacy supporters a safe exit (as if they were under arrest), with a gradual offer of releasing some of the arrested figures, of which numbers reached the thousands (and the number has doubled after Wednesday’s massacre). After that they allowed them to be part of a programmed political process similar to the one that was available at the time of the ousted president, through which Islamists of all groups get no more than twenty per cent of the seats of the parliament, as was said by one of the main coup theorists (Haikal) to some of those who asked (where are the rest of the goals of the January revolution?)

Throughout the past few weeks, psychological preparation for dispersing the two protests has been underway. Of course that took place by way of a series of lies that talked about the heavy artillery presence at the Raba’a arena (but why weren’t the weapons used?), in addition to dead bodies and torture, to the point where an activist said that the Raba’a protest represents a settlement, in a shabby and inciting description.

In return, this huge level of incitement reveals the bravery and faith of the crowds which refuse the coup. Instead they showed an amazing steadfastness on the ground, even though there were more than three hundred martyrs, hundreds of others injured and thousands arrested (all of this took place before Wednesday’s massacre), in addition to arbitrary actions including the confiscating of property, the freezing of funds and the continued hounding of a number of prominent figures.

Dispersing the two protests showed the disregard of the coup organisers for Egyptian blood, a fact that was confirmed on Friday. We also witnessed how live bullets were used to kill people, and we saw hundreds of martyrs and thousands injured live on TV screens.

In addition to that, we saw the disfiguring campaign that accompanied the process, including alleging the presence of weapons (which were not used of course), and alleging the fall of officers and soldiers (which was not proven), while the possibility that they were killed for refusing to obey orders of shooting people is still there, and foreign journalists said that no weapons were used by the protesters anyway.

There is also the allegation of the presence of twenty eight bodies under the stage in Raba’a killed by the Muslim Brotherhood, as if bodies can be kept in the heat for more than hours, not to mention days and weeks.

The killers did not take into consideration the possibility of a reaction all over the country, which has been set on fire, leading to enforcing a state of emergency and a curfew, which confirms that protesters were not criminals or isolated from the conscience of their people.

The question is now: is the crisis over after dispersing the two protests? Will the coup organizers sit comfortably and divide the spoils and exchange toasts? The answer to these questions came on Friday, when demonstrations roamed the streets of cities all over Egypt, and more martyrs fell, in defiance of the authority and its tyranny.

Of course what happened is not going to be the end of the road, as protests to continue the January revolution will be resumed with all possible means. The upcoming political path is going to be clearly inclined towards strengthening army control over political life on one hand, and arranging a programmed, decorative democracy on the other hand. The worse is that this will take place in addition to a large suppression campaign of legitimacy supporters all over the country.

If we add that the sequence of events will expose the coup organisers and those who gave them cover and show their contradictions (the resignation of Barade’i and two others from the government is only the beginning), then the path towards completing the January revolution will go on with time, and the coup organizers and those who funded them from inside and outside will not be happy to see sand covering the January revolution, and then the Arab Spring.

Anyone thinking that this blow will end the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in general is delusional, because movements that are deeply rooted ideologically in their societies cannot be uprooted with a security blow, no matter how tough and ugly that blow is.

Translated from the Arabic which appeared in Ad Dustour Newspaper, 17 August, 2013

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