With the brutal murder of 74 – probably more - pro-Morsi supporters and persecution of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members by the army leadership, the Egyptian revolution enters a dangerous and crucial phase.
The shootings on Friday night by
Egypt’s military have been
condemned by Human
Rights Watch as targeted killings by snipers. Minister of Defence and coup
leader general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call for support in dealing with
“terrorism”, gave the army the green light to deal brutally with the
Live rounds were fired directly into protesters’ heads and chests from buildings overlooking the Muslim Brotherhood’s sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya in eastern
Cairo. Brotherhood supporters are demanding the release of detained
former president Mohammed Morsi – elected after the fall of Mubarak - during a
30-day sit-in and are clearly prepared to die to achieve their objective.
But a new movement, the Third Square, has emerged in the city of
which represents people-revolutionaries who support neither the military’s June
30 coup nor Morsi’s regime.
One of the protesters, Ahmed Adel, said: "We are a group of young people whose views are not represented either in
Tahrir Square or
Rabaa al-Adawiya." He was critical of Egyptians being forced to choose
between two camps "just because the Muslim Brotherhood failed" saying
that he wants neither "religious fascism nor the army."
Meanwhile, Fatma Ramadan, a member of the executive committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), has denounced the EFITU's decision to support al-Sisi's call for pro-military demonstrations as well as the Muslim Brotherhood’s attack on Egyptian workers and trade unions, saying:
“Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in
Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt? Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organize, strike, and protest peacefully? Have they not adamantly worked to criminalize this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organising peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins? Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.”
The new status quo has been satirised by anti-Mubarak film-maker, Aalam Wassef. He has made a surreal music video in which he does his laundry in front of a banner saying “Resist”. The pre-Mubarak world has been turned upside in two years, he says.
The former revolutionaries, Wassef’s song goes, are now members of the Couch Party, while the Brotherhood are now the “felool” – the remnants of the old regime, and the old regime – the army – is playing at being revolutionaries.
Many hailed the removal of the elected government of Morsi in June by
powerful army leaders as a victory for the people. But Egypt’s army
officers, as Jadaliyya
website says, “are promoting a narrative in which they have (once again)
intervened heroically to save the day and ‘protect the revolution’.”
Meanwhile, the demands for bread, freedom and social justice, which lay behind the revolutionary toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year autocracy in February 2011, remain unfulfilled.
The January 25 revolution – and indeed the Egyptian revolution itself – goes far deeper than the search for an elected government. As far as Jadaliyya is concerned, “it encompassed a host of demands for far-reaching institutional reforms and social and economic rights”.
The partisans of “bread, freedom, and social justice” represent a huge swathe of people-revolutionaries who back neither the Brotherhood nor the army. Egyptian writer Khaled Alkhamissi, author of the prophetic novels Noah’s Ark and Taxi, which foretold the fall of Mubarak, said last week:
“We are living in a vibrant social era in
. . We are not in a process of transformation from A to B, as representative
democracy is dying everywhere. We need to properly analyse the revolutionary
process that has been going on for almost ten years ... and we need a manifesto
Square and Egypt’s revolutionaries face the challenge
of moving beyond subversion and resistance.
The battle is on to grasp the nettle of state power. That means creating
new democratic political and social institutions that can express the needs of Egypt’s
workers, farmers, professional people and youth.
A World to Win secretary