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On blood, lynching and moving forward

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Sara Abou Bakr 2Two months ago, after a heated discussion, a bunch of us self-proclaimed analysts concluded that Egypt is about to dive head-first into a fresh wave of violence.

The trigger to this downward spiral started in November 2012 with Morsi’s dictatorial presidential decree immunising his decisions and the work of the Shura Council while passing a constitution written by Islamists (called the far-right nowadays) after representatives of other groups withdrew from the committee.

Hundreds of thousands of people flowed to the presidential palace to conduct a sit-in, only to be violently broken by pro-Morsi supporters. Several died, several were tortured.

The presidential palace clashes are where Egyptians evidently first turned against each other, where blood lost its sanctity.

The myth told by generations on “the peaceful nature of Egyptians” was dispelled.

Coupled with six months of bad governance, catastrophic economic decisions, a clearly limited president and a weak opposition, Egyptians got in touch with their inner beast.

The police completely disappeared from the scene, refusing to do their jobs while still paid by tax-payers.  Thus street lynching started to spread, particularly out of Cairo. Thieves, drug dealers and criminals were executed by “the people” on the spot, no judge needed, and their bodies left to rot as a warning to others. Fifteen such incidents have reportedly taken place.

Is it wrong? Of course.

But imagine this; a guy is terrorising your neighbourhood, threatening rape and killing unless he is paid money. You go to the police, only to be told, it is not their problem. What would you do? Remain the law-abiding citizen or turn into a vigilante?

With most, savagery rears its ugly head and innocence is lost.

Last week, graffiti artists headed to the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam to spray street walls with anti-Morsi messages. They were chased by Brotherhood supporters and beaten into a bloody pulp, including several reporters who were doing their jobs of covering the clashes. A video of a bearded heavyweight soundly slapping one of the female activists so hard, she jumped off and fell to the other side drove people crazy. Retaliation was promised and was delivered on Friday.

Clashes erupted again, violence ensued and blood was everywhere near the Brotherhood headquarters.

Egyptians vs. Egyptians

The Brotherhood supporters screamed Islamic slogans as they beat up their contenders as if they were fighting infidels in a movie from a long forgotten era. The anti-Brotherhood side went on a vengeful frenzy, beating any “beard” in sight.

The far right supporters promised swift retribution against Al-Dostour Party headquarters and Media City.

At this point, one has to congratulate the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule; this is the closest to a civil war Egypt has witnessed in recent history.

The Brotherhood has not fully understood that fact that they are the ruling party in Egypt. Their charade on the separation of their party and the Brotherhood has become ridiculous. When people head to their headquarters is because they have knocked on all doors to be heard, including the presidential palace, but to no avail.

It is not enough that you have won election. Ballots do not immunise a president. What secures his rule is meeting the demands of the people. The legitimacy of a ruling party is maintained through “listening to” the people, not “forcing” laws voted on by a questionable Shura Council and directions implemented by a pro-Morsi general prosecutor. Legalising manipulation does not make a country democratic.

The anger of the people towards Morsi’s rule, Qandil’s government and the Brotherhood is real. The accusations of every Morsi critic of being hater of Islam, funded by the “Zionists” have become childish, at best.

People are poorer, angrier and neither the ballots nor US support will protect a failing government for long.

As for the opposition, the inherent weakness of everyone of their position has to stop. The hesitation over every decision, the conflicting reports and the in-party problems have to be solved immediately. It is the role of the opposition in any “democratic” country to offer a different vision than that of the ruling party. So far, the opposition has offered the people “nothing”, but useless TV talk show debates and a couple hundred tweets by ElBaradei.  Where is the plan? Your vision for Egypt that can show the people there is still hope for this country? Have you offered the people an alternative to the far-right crazies? Every secular party in Egypt is bursting with ineffective “experts”!

Concessions have to be made by all to stop the bloodshed.

Morsi is not ruling, so in a message to the Brotherhood; you will not be able to encompass all of Egypt, but Egypt can encompass you. The Interior Ministry isn’t your personal bodyguard, a true and fair restructuring is urgently needed, a new “representative” government is a must with an economic “emergency plan”, and then a real dialogue with the opposition parties and youth movements on ways to move forward is urgently required. If the Brotherhood insists on ignoring the rising anger, it will not survive the year.

People can barely make ends meet. They are desperate and the young ones feel more oppressed than during the Mubarak regime. Mugging, death and blood have become the everyday norm.  And all the time SCAF is waiting in the background.

Currently, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for most.

To all political leaders, be very careful for desperate men take desperate actions.

About the author

Sara Abou Bakr

Politics editor at Daily News Egypt Twitter: @sara_ab5

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