The current scenario in Egypt is a real massacre – far worse than anything that occurred under former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime, even as it battled for survival during the revolution, writes Abdel Bari Atwan.
There has been an excessive use of force by the police and security forces, supported by the army. Tanks, snipers and bullets have been used against unarmed protesters who are demanding the return of democracy and their elected leader Mohammed Morsi.
Both the government and armed forces’ spokesmen spent all of Wednesday trying to equalise between the “victim” and the “executioner” claiming that the protesters were not peaceful, thus justifying reasons for opening fire. This is a blatant fallacy.
I have followed almost all foreign news outlets, their bulletins and coverage of the massacre from the first moment Rabaa al-Adawiya and El-Nahda squares came under attack – and not one reporter has said that the sit-ins were not peaceful.
CNN’s correspondent at the scene, when asked by the channel’s prominent anchor Jim Clancy if he had seen any weapons among the protestors, confirmed that there was not a single gun in sight nor did he see any protester firing at security. However, he revealed that he had seen snipers, believed to be from security forces, firing at protesters.
The Egyptian army has committed a great crime by killing Egyptian citizens. For hundreds of years, the country has avoided such a crime, one that is hard to be forgiven and will never be forgotten. Egypt’s army has always stayed out of political parties’ confsectarian divisions; its loyalty was to Egypt and its people.
The Egyptian army ‘succeeded’ in dispersing the protestors – of course it did. It is the largest, best armed and up to date Arab army, and its opponents were Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were only “armed” with their voices and their faith.
We should not be surprised if the army brings an end to sit-ins using tanks, bulldozers and live bullets, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
Despite this assymetry, I would not be surprised to see demonstrations continuing in all areas of Egypt for months or even years. And why shouldn’t they? These protesters feel abandoned by their military, one that has robbed the legitimate election from them, turned them into opponents and opened fire on them.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who have been accused by liberal opponents of running for election only to seize power, have proved that this was indeed a lie.
These very liberals, supporting the army and in exchange supported by the army, turned them into victims of democracy by annihilating their ballot boxes and ousting their elected choice.
Personally I do not know how liberals, such as Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi, will face the Egyptian people, after supporting the very army that committed massacres against its own people.
How they will justify their shameful situation to the families of those killed and injured, when they were the ones who denounced the death of Khaled Saeed who was tortured by the same security forces who are killing hundreds now.
Breaking up the sit-ins using means of terror will not end protests. Rather it could potentially lead to the beginning of a more dangerous phase.
The Muslim Brotherhood is 80 years old in the Egyptian political life; it will not disappear from the political map so easily.
They are hugely popular; their supporters – estimated at tens of millions, particularly in villages – will not leave them, but will insist on supporting them to the very end.
This explains the army’s decision to suspend all train services linking Cairo to other Egyptian cities and villages.
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander of the military coup, has made a series of mistakes. The first was when he called on anti-Islamist Egyptians to demonstrate, to give him a mandate to address the crisis. The second was when he used force to break up a peaceful sit-in that ended with a massacre.
Even if we assume that a percentage of Egyptians gave General al-Sisi a mandate to end the crisis, this still cannot justify a single death. The mandate was not to kill, but rather to find a peaceful way out of the crisis, to save lives, to bring stability to Egypt and to provide to the poor.
Unfortunately, now the crisis is fast descending into a dangerous civil war which will be difficult, or even impossible, to control.
Egyptian pro-coup media is focusing on stories of weapons possessed by protesters, but this is untrue and a baseless accusation. It could become true, however, if extremist wings decide to restore arms.
President Mubarak’s regime did not fall in Egypt, as shown by practices of the military. General al-Sisi wears Mubarak’s military uniform, but adopts a pro-American policy.
The entire Arab region, not only Egypt, has entered a long dark tunnel that has no light at the end.
America and its Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel – who called General al-Sisi daily before and during the coup – are the first and the last to be blamed.
Their end goal is to destroy Arabs and create foundations for the Israeli entity for coming decades, even centuries. So when are we going to wake up and realise this?