With the issue of unjust death sentences against over 100 Egyptian and Palestinian figures, including myself, we congratulated Shaikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi on his name landing on the Al-Sisi government’s execution list. The man stood tall, smiling and calm, and said, in response to the craziness of the Egyptian government, “No one like them will be given victory from God.”
Harsher than the death sentences that were issued and implemented in unprecedented numbers in Egypt were the reactions of the political elites who have always fiercely promoted the rights of humans to life, justness and fairness. The government decided to execute ousted President Mohamed Morsi and over 100 others in an act that belongs more in a stage farce than in respectable courts of law. Dr Mohamed Abou El-Ghar, the well-known physician and leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said that these sentences were legal, and were not politicised, despite the fact that he knows, better than anyone else, that the case file would better serve as the script to such a farce than acceptable evidence used to sentence someone to death.
Perhaps Dr El-Ghar did not notice the name of Palestinian resistance prisoners and martyrs who died years before the January Revolution — during which they are supposed to have committed their “crimes” — and yet were given death sentences. What, though, does he have to say about the respectable sheikh, Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, being on the list, despite the fact that he wasn’t even in Egypt at the time that the “crimes” took place?
I understand that El-Ghar hates political Islam and its parties, but what I cannot understand is how a doctor who is well-known for his treatment of infertility and a pioneer of in-vitro fertilisation, can hate life to such a degree, allowing himself to be a defender of neo-fascism, murder, and racism. How can a democratic politician who opposed tyranny become a servant of the court of even worse tyranny overnight?
Mohamed Abou El-Ghar embodies the position of the political elite who, in the past, protested repeatedly and loudly against the practices of the police state. They smoked their pipes and issued very bold statements promoting human rights and freedoms, but they have been caught red-handed and are now panicking with the issue of these mass death sentences. The bravest of these elites kept quiet, while the others made statements supporting the hangman’s noose. For example, we have not heard any comments from Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, who used to tweet furiously about human rights, transparency and justice on occasions far less significant than this.
Only the April 6 Youth Movement has issued a statement on its website condemning these political sentences and regarding them as being targeted specifically at the January Revolution. There were also statements made by independent youth opposition figures. However, the remaining parties were content to use the assassination of three judges in Sinai immediately after the rulings were made as a defence for their silence and even justification for the pending executions.
Everyone knows that these brutal rulings are not merely an attempt to uproot a political faction from the ground in Egypt but that they also go beyond this; they entrench a type of tyranny never before seen in the modern era. They establish the concept that anyone thinking of bringing about revolutionary change, even by peaceful means, will suffer the same fate; anyone daring to speak of democracy and equality will be punished.
Everyone with any sense will realise that the natural extension of the 2013 counter-revolution means overtime for the executioner. As such, all of the political leaders who joined hands with the military and participated in the dispersal of the protest sit-in massacres by providing them with civil cover, without thinking about escaping from the resultant disgrace, are all complicit in the mass death sentences.
In addition, the international and regional positions haven’t been very different to those taken locally. With the exception of the firm stance taken by the Turkish president and his government, the positions appear to be unchanged since the military coup against democracy two years ago. There has been hesitant criticism that has all the appearances of an acceptance of the status quo rather than serious condemnation, and continued support from the countries that planned, supported and funded the coup. Other, weaker, positions tend to be going whichever way the wind blows.
Imagine if this record number of death sentences was issued somewhere other than Egypt and that those who they were issued against were not members of the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist party. Would the local, regional and international positions be the same? Imagine if a 90 year old sheikh who was affiliated with the left-wing or liberals was in Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s shoes at this time; would the global conscience stand by silently, pretending to be asleep, as it is at this moment?
I believe that the international community is facing a very difficult moral test. The big question is, what will it do?
Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadid, 18 May, 2015.