Morsy’s “men of the Interior”

Rana Allam
6 Min Read
Rana Allam
Rana Allam

The whole way-too-long speech Morsy gave on the commemoration of the 6th October victory was quite irritating to some of us. Starting with the delay, where we were kept waiting hour after hour while the stadium was properly secured for the president’s entry, then the way he made his appearance; a Pharaoh in the making. Then the claims of accomplishments citing 60 per cent improvement in traffic and cleanliness, which came as clear proof of him being out of the country for quite some time. Had he been here, Morsy would not have dared say such things to us, the people who are suffering day in, day out in Cairo’s horrendous traffic and piles of garbage. But that was not what got to me. It was with the sentence where he thanked “the men of the Interior [Ministry]” where I completely lost control of my anger.

Just a week ago, I attended an Amnesty International press conference and they had lots to say about our “men of the Interior”. In fact, there is not one human rights organisation in Egypt that didn’t issue statements in the past couple of months addressing the return of Egypt’s hell; police brutality. Appalling case files of people beaten up, dragged in the street, and dying from torture are piling up. In her latest column, Sally Sami mentioned some of the atrocities committed by our police force, and it reminds me of the Mubarak/Adly era. Then Morsy’s spokesperson issued a response statement to the Amnesty report entitled Agents of Repression (a most perfect title!). The presidency assured the public that the problem is acknowledged and the dignity of the Egyptian citizen is very important. Yet Morsy still thanked the police…what for? Their excellence at torture?

The president was boasting of the increased “security”. Some anti-revolution Mubarak-sympathisers were saying that too. Even though I am glad these camps are agreeing on something, I do have to admit their notion of security doesn’t sit well with us. We, the millions who did not prefer that type of security and rose against it, do not accept security without justice and dignity. But what needs serious study is the indifference of the Muslim brotherhood and their Salafi cousins to the concept of torture. They, above all others, have suffered the most from police brutality in the past 60 or so years, and most abundantly so in the Mubarak era. One would think that they would be the first to denounce it, fight it, and end it. One would think that, but I am sure psychologists would think otherwise.

The other question is, did Morsy and his brothers decide to accept security in return for giving the police a free hand? Did they agree that since police officers must regain power, they need to be above the law? And are Mubarak’s “men of the Interior” Morsy’s now? It appears to be that the force which once mainly targeted Islamists has now made peace with them. Not only peace, but in fact has adopted their ideas, and in several cases some of them seem to be attempting to uphold their idea of Islam. I would imagine that they are trying to please the ruling powers because along with the rise of torture and murder stories coming from police stations, there seems to be a rise in the absurd charges as well. Detentions and lawsuits and investigations are ongoing for contempt of religion and atheism and Facebook posts. If the police force plays attack dog for the new regime, people will end up being tortured for “thinking” things, for having certain religious beliefs, and I am not only talking about different faiths or different sects, I am talking about moderate versus ultraconservative Sunni Islam. No one will escape the inquisition, it is upon us!

Don’t they know where this leads? This leads to an afraid people, and fear, ladies and gentlemen, is the most powerful of all emotions; it triggers a fight or flight reaction from humans. And millions of us, who were terrified at the Khaled Said case, chose to fight. Remember that the trigger for the revolution was police brutality; the trigger was not the implementation of Islamic Shari’a. Those millions of Egyptians didn’t rise to demand an Islamic Caliphate; they rose in anger to police brutality. Do not forget this!

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