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The upcoming civil war in Egypt: a chronicle of a death foretold

What we are witnessing in Egypt at the moment is similar to the events written by the late, great writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in his book Chronicle of a Death Foretold. This story tells of a village whose residents knew that two brothers were plotting to kill another person in the village; the people did not try to stop the murder nor did they tell the young man that he would be the victim of this plot on the very next day, in order for him to take action and avoid his otherwise inevitable death.

Today in Egypt, there is a story being written and prepared, either consciously or unconsciously, and it will lead the country inevitably down the path to a destructive civil war. This is a result of the measures and decisions being made by the Egyptian government. It is ironic that no wise person in the country or region is trying to prevent the war from happening or even trying to stop the regime, as it seems that it is willing to destroy the country and its people for the sake of keepings its position and interests.

What the government in Egypt is doing is more dangerous than tyranny and oppression; its daily measures are establishing a climate of revenge amongst a large part of the population. This not only includes the Muslim Brotherhood, as the pro-government media outlets are claiming. The coup-led government is creating an atmosphere of hostility and animosity between the “state” and all of the popular sectors. When I refer to the state, I mean that entity that should be a uniting force amongst all of the citizens, regardless of their ideologies, religions and political affiliations.

It has become certain that Egypt is threatened by the danger of civil fighting after the “circus” of the death sentences issued to those against the coup, as well as the lengthy and life sentences issued against individuals based on farcical and fabricated accusations. After the swift execution of Mahmoud Ramada from Alexandria and the two defendants from the “Arab Sharkas” case, the hostility in the country against the government and authority has reached an all-time high. This is obvious to anyone following what is being written on social networking sites and other websites.

The danger of the measures being taken by the coup-led government through a politicised and unjust legal system lies in the fact that it has made thousands of opposition leaders and members “martyrs” as they face judicial death at any moment. This means that thousands of families are at risk of becoming anti-state groups who will look for any opportunity to retaliate and avenge the death of their relatives, through any sort of clash with the state, including the police, army or judiciary.

If I also mention that among those at risk of being killed by the politicised judiciary are President Morsi and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, then I would have to say that the coup government is pouring oil on the flames if it goes through with it and eliminates influential and wise figures from the ranks of the opposition, especially the Brotherhood. The government will have no one to negotiate with and will have no one to contain the youth who feel that they are already in a state of open war against the government because of its unjust and oppressive measures.

In the face of such developments, the only way to understand the conflict that has surfaced within the Muslim Brotherhood is in the context of which I am discussing; the signs that would push the movement to abandon its peaceful approach. This, in turn, will lead the country into a civil war, God forbid.

It is a fact that political disputes and conflicts within any party or group involve ideological and political motives mixing with those related to the struggle against the state. However, it is clear that the team representing the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office, elected last year, is leaning towards a harsher approach with the state, according to statements reported by the media. The discussions taking place online between the Brotherhood youth have shown that this team is more accepted by the younger activists, meaning that the state and its oppressive measures have reinforced and strengthened the bloc within the Muslim Brotherhood more likely to resort to violence.

In this case, the most important question is regarding the parties, both inside and outside Egypt, which may play a role in preventing a war. The most important party in this equation may be the revolutionary forces that are opposed to the Brotherhood and the state equally. The importance of this party lies in the fact that it may represent an elite and popular rejection of the oppression and injustice exercised by the state against the Brotherhood. This may alleviate the movement’s sense of isolation and feeling that it is facing the state alone. It is worth noting that this position may be the minimum position required of these forces which were involved, in one way or another, in the success and support of the coup and ending the democratic path in the country.

The second party that could prevent a potential war are the countries which supported and backed the coup, especially the Gulf States, whose financial and media support for Al-Sisi were critical for the military takeover of Egypt. This means that these countries are complicit in every crime committed as a result of the coup. They are also partly to blame for the potential war that may occur at the hands of the military authorities. As such, it is these states’ moral and political duty to prevent this war by pressuring the government and linking the aid they provide to the government’s abandonment of its policies which are destroying Egypt and its future.

In Marquez’s story, the villagers abandoned the young man Santiago Nasar, and he was a victim of a public murder. However, in the story being written by the coup-led government today, the failure of the Egyptians and the world to stop its crimes will, God forbid, lead to the biggest and greatest Arab country falling victim to a crime that is anything but naïve, and that not only Egypt will pay the price for, but also the entire region and world.

Translated from Arabi21, 31 May, 2015.

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

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AfricaArticleEgyptOpinion
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