Egyptian Chronicles: These are the law enforcement men

Sunday, September 21, 2014

These are the law enforcement men

Last week we knew that a local police force attacked a small village in the heart of Miniya governorate. The small population of that remote village "Gabl El-Tir" is mostly Christian.That local police force stormed the houses of the citizens there smashing doors, destroying furniture and attacking the people whether they are women or children or elderly.

They rounded up the men and youth whose hands were tied to their backs. In the village's public square the police mocked the men and called them "infidels" and "animals" beating them in front of their wives and children.
All this started from two weeks ago when a Christian housewife mother of 5 suddenly disappeared and as usual we got the same old story that a Muslim man "who is a friend of her husband" from another village seduced her. Last week a group of angry Christian youth protested at Samalout police station against the neglect of the authority to the case.
They hurled rocks at the police vehicles and destroyed the facade of the police station as I understand in a failed attempt to storm it. Fourteen protesters were arrested in that incident.
Then came the collective punishment to the citizens of "Gabel El-Tir" , the revenge of the police force in Samalout.

The people of the village spoke to the media but no one listens because we are in war on terrorism least we become like Syria and Iraq. Well Christians in Egypt are attacked in their villages but not by crazy extremists but rather policemen !!!!!!!
According to friends in Upper Egypt , this is the not the first time something like that happens. A similar incident happened in Sohag governorate also from couple of weeks ago in a small village. The villagers in that Sohag village mostly from Muslims and currently the elderly are trying to contain the anger of the people.
Now according to what I know about Upper Egypt , I will say that anger is not contained but is kept to one hell rainy day.
Nothing in the Egyptian laws or traditions justify what happened in Miniya or in Sohag and yes I am bringing up the traditions as we speak about Upper Egypt where the traditions rule. In fact such attacks against whole villages and innocent people including women,children and elderly usually cause tribal fights that can keep going on for days if the elderly do not interfere wisely.
The police thinks in this way it restores that fearful status it had in Egypt more than the law and order after the 25 January revolution. It does not care that much about the law and order ,it cares more about that state of fear. Donot be shocked but many policemen in Egypt believe that the only way to deal with the people is through fear and discipline.
Of course I can not neglect the "infidels" part, this part shows a clear sectarian problem whether you like or not , yes our law enforcement men got some serious sectarian problem
The head of Miniya security directorate defended his men and said the people started by attacking the police first. Now Christian activists demanded that he would be held accountable and to be dismissed. Something many believe that it won't happen.
In the end many people believe that this incident will be forgotten and no body will be held accountable officially. Of course just imagine a similar incident to happen to Christians in Egypt during the time of Morsi and the anger it would produce in the media and how the media is acting modestly now.

13 comments :

  1. Have attacks like this always happened or is it a recent(ish) thing? No one should abuse their power :(

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  2. Oh, please. Orange Ketchup? Deb?... Hamdy Youssef? Isn't anyone going to weigh in here?

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    1. I have weighed in on other similar incidents before but will comment on this one too. This is another mixture of toxic sectarianism and the drug of out of control police power. The reactions toward the event are also revealing of the true nature of various political actors.

      It shows the hypocrisy of the Egyptian elite. They don't really want to accept liberty, equality, or universal rights, instead preferring their caste-like hierarchical system. This applies to religious minorities and to anyone outside their political-economic-military elite. Their rhetoric shifts around and generally returns to being anti-minority once they feel firmly in control.

      The incident also goes to show how asinine it is one some argue that Middle Eastern dictators should be supported for religious reasons. You cannot effectively disentangle various forms of basic freedoms and respect for human dignity. In most places, there is a strong connection between support for oppressive state power and religious and ethnic bigotry and racism. Why would this region be any different? To accept and condone the Arab dictators is to accept their myriad forms of oppression, obscurantism.

      Contrast the tacit support of this behavior by Sisi zealots with rational movements like the April 6. The April 6 movement actually does support religious freedom and equality, opposes torture, and opposes the rampant police brutality. Theirs is a credible political and social vision.

      This is also another reason why the democratic elements of the Egyptian left have an important role to play in actually starting off the transition to a freedom respecting society. Regardless of whether or not their economic vision is viable, they do stand against tyranny like police actions in Gabl el-Tir. They have a consistent record of opposing these absurdities. The pro-police state scum do not. Remember the Maspero massacre or assorted other events in which dictatafans cheered on repulsive slaughter?

      Ultimately, the religious leaderships, both Christian and Muslim, will start to face increasing credibility problems if they simply accept and condone government abuses and represent the views of their followers. They seem unwilling to actually take a firm stand on events like this obscenity. Many of these leaders seem to believe that they have a vested interest in remaining enmeshed with the state but this connection is harmful to them.

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    2. Woops, I meant to say in the one late sentence "and do NOT represent the views of their followers."

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    3. Thank you. That all seems right to me, O.K.

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    4. "It shows the hypocrisy of the Egyptian elite. They don't really want to accept liberty, equality, or universal rights"

      And you think the average Egypian does? Do you think the revolution had anything to do with "liberty, equality, or universal rights"? These things are against the culture of Egypt and the religious beliefs of most Egyptians. If there was a leadership in Egypt that attempted to force these kinds of things (religious freedom, equality between men and women, rights for gays and lesbians), that would be a guarantee for another revolution. The true elite in Egypt are the bloggers and the political activisits that people in the west are accustomed to seeing and hearing, but that says nothing about the majority of Egyptians.

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    5. I believe that the majority of Egyptians are substantially more desirous of and receptive toward individual freedom and universal rights than the political/economic/military elite. They could not possibly relish the massive scale of torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and massacres that continue to take place. The revolution occurred because people had enough with those who control the country trampling on every aspect of humanity and dignity. Even if there wasn’t a single, clearly articulated list of goals for the uprising, it is the case that creating an Egypt in which a better life is possible was a main goal. The participants in the revolution could sense that things were dreadfully wrong and a change of course was vital. This was also true of the 2008 April 6 uprising.

      Egypt and many other places are far more conservative than the West and are just now struggling to begin the experiment with democracy. No country moves from oppressive autocracy to a democratic transition in a smooth, singular stage. The Western states where not much different from Egypt or other Arab countries when they began shifting to more liberty and democratically based political systems and modes of governance. Thus, while it is certain that many things which have come to be seen as additional freedoms in the West will be controversial in the Middle East in the near future, the only way to move forward is to establish a minimum base line of free speech and openness that will allow a free exchange of ideas. Progress will happen at best at a glacial pace if Egypt remains a militaristic dictatorship.

      Even a feeble democracy with a flawed level of liberalism is far superior to a military controlled political order. In the case of the emergent, albeit feeble, democracy, there actually is space for improvement and progress.

      All ideas of liberty and completely inimical and contrary to the authoritarian clique which continues to subjugate the country. They innately must oppose movements like the Dostour Party or the April 6 movement since these factions support civil liberty and freedom of thought. The authoritarians also cannot support religious freedom and certainly not tolerance of homosexuality. To do so would utterly and entirely go against the fabric of their beings. In this regard, the Middle Eastern dictators are no different from all of the others that have existed across the world. However, the majority of the population has no such vested stake in a permanent caste-like hierarchal order. They are starting to increasing see through the garbage that is used to sustain this grossly inequitable system.


      Sisi is a just another mass murderer who lied and deceived his way into a presidential position. The rationales used to defend him are similar to those used to defend various other dictators such as Pinochet, Suharto, Mugabe, Yanukovych, Putin, the Thai dictatorship, and the thugs that sparked the Guatemalan civil war. History will not be kind to his legacy.

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    6. People in Egypt don't want "individual freedom and universal rights", which are against their beliefs and culture. They just want democracy and certain political rights, and the government to take care of them (free education, free healthcare, jobs for everyone, redistribution of wealth etc.), and that's what the "revolution" was about, and none of that has anything to do with "individual freedom and universal rights", The views of bloggers and political activists are not reflective of what society as a whole believes in.

      Egypt is an Islamic state not only according to the constitution, but according to what people their believe. Nothing is more important than following the teaching if their religion (the same goes for the Christians in Egypt). In addition, women will still get killed by their own families if they had premarital sex. Families will still disavow their gay and lesbian sons and daughters, if not kill them. Muslims who converts to Christianity (or vice versa) will be kicked out of their house by the family, disavowed by their family, friends, and community, and/or killed by their own families. Women will still need their husbands permission to go to work. Women will still get half the inheritance that her brother gets, because it is both a cultural and a religious thing. None of that requires a military dictatorship nor is a military dictatorship there a prerequisite for any of it.

      This western idea that "democracy" is everything and that nothing is more important than elections doesn't exist in reality, and has the potential of slowly turning a country like the United States into a third world country, because everyone will vote in what is in their own best interest or the best interest of their racial/ethnic group, not for what's in the best interest of the country. Democracy is a nice way to interfere in and influence other countries. Democracy is also what caused a man you claim is a "mass murderer" to be voted into power in Egypt.

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    7. Part I:

      While those problems exist either in the presence or absence of a military dictatorship, the existence of a military cultic system exacerbates, worsens, and blocks progress on every single one of those issues. It is a characteristic of the mentality of such rulers to oppose changes/developments in the political or social realms and goes against their entire mode of thought. These are retrograde and extremely selfish types of individuals. Furthermore, it goes against their interest retaining power to allow too much freedom or self-empowerment. This can even be seen in China (although its political oligarchy is far less influenced by the military flavor) where, though there has been an opening of the economic system to allow more rational development, there are still considerable restrictions and intrusive governmental interventions into the matters of citizens. Popular views can be more exposed to tolerant ideas in a place where at least some freedom of thought is tolerated and the existence of popular sovereignty rewards exercise of personal and public responsibility and disincentives abdication of responsibility.
      Taking a look at three historical examples, Chile, Indonesia, and Tunisia, it can be seen that a newly emergent democracy provides more space for advancement on all fronts. The Indonesian political system, one of the more successful in the Muslim world, has seen a gradual rise of various kinds of freedoms and rights. In Tunisia, press freedom has increased, political diversity increased, crucial societal debates given new impetus, and the use of torture has been considerably rolled back since the fall of Ben Ali. Under various dictatorships, Chile was a place infamous for brutality and the execution and disappearance of dissidents. Now, it has a fairly successful democratic system where all of the above debated issues have progressed in ways that you would approve of. While in none of these cases was improvement purely the result of politics, it has to be acknowledged that the emergence of more civilized political structures did help facilitate the changes.
      Tunisia is an example of what the North African countries could try to be like in the near term.
      Democracy is a not a utopian cure or miracle panacea, but in all likelihood, Egypt would gradually experience a process similar to the above cases if it embarked upon a similar course. Simply fulfilling the fundamental demands of the revolution would already establish a minimum baseline far ahead of what currently exists.

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    8. Part II:

      Once the history of the Sisi era is written, it will most likely be widely acknowledged, even more than now, that Sisi indeed is a mass murderer who condoned and accept a number of massacres. He also has declined to ameliorate the widespread and documented usage of torture as a state tool of intimidation. He did have a significant base of support and still retains a core of people who support him essentially no matter what, but the election in which he was coroneted as president was a mockery of democracy.

      Sisi tightened his grip over media institutions, repressed and rounded up political dissidents, waited until nearly the last second to announce his candidacy so as to sabotage other potential contenders, and utilized the full extent of state power and money to bolster himself. Then, there is also the matter of the arrest of Sabbahi supporters. Khaled Ali and Aboul Fotouh, no matter what their own levels of popularity, were absolutely correct in their assessments of the game as farcical. The fact that he rejected the choice of not running as a candidate or allowing the election to be a fair contest speaks volumes about the man and the true powers that set him up and run his regime.

      In this way, the ascent of Sisi bears striking similarities to the replacement of Allende in Chile with Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet too staged a coup against a controversial president by hijacking genuine discontent with triple digit inflation and dubious media and economic policies. Many welcomed the overthrow of Allende and even the ramming through of an autocratic constitution by fraudulent means. However, in time, the military junta of Pinochet proved far worse than the shaky democratic system that it overthrow. The generals lied about any return to democracy or power sharing. Before Pinochet’s seizure of power, there had been alternations between Christian Democrat presidents and various kinds of leftists, but both ended up being frozen out of power with the solidification of the junta. Much like what is happening now in Egypt. Sisi may end up in similar fashion, with a new, united opposition finally realizing how to overcome their collective mistakes and demand permanent change.

      Both Sisi and Pinochet had opportunities to share power with other factions even after staging coups, yet both threw those chances away. Power, not ideological opposition to the previous leaders, was their true primary motivations.

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  3. This story may or may not be factual but it is plausible. As is plausible the fact that it may have been invented by quarters whose interest is aligned with exploiting it. Assuming it is factual it may boil down to governments to justifiably choose their battles.

    As for the democratic credentials of April 6 and other revolutionists nothing is further from the truth than the narrative by OK. Those groups rather than democrats are more akin to a mix of Jacobins and Sans culottes street enforcers.
    How about this as democratic credentials:

    Clamoring for revolutionary tribunals with no appeals or lawyers
    Publishing public lists and addresses of so called felouls
    Demanding gallows at Tahrir to summarily execute Mubarak and Co.
    Insisting to deprive whoever they accuse of being feloul from voting or running for public office
    Expressing utter contempt for the masses that want revolutionary ardor to cease and desist
    Hating and ressenting the armed forces right from June 30 for no other reasons then that they are the armed forces, and that they answered the pleas of the majority to save them from terror.
    Voting en masse for terrorist Morsi thus ensuring his victory.
    And on and on.

    Enough said

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    1. Wouldn't it be easy to find out if it really happened by asking a few Copts? Things like that get around. There is a Coptic TV station, I forget its name, and no doubt there are some Coptic newspapers.

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  4. Also, the recent events in Hong Kong clearly echo the purposes of the 2011 revolution in Egypt. The struggles by Arabs, Amazigh, Kurds, Azeris, and others quite obviously overlap with those of Chinese freedom seekers.

    Those who denigrate the Arab revolutions may as well argue that past events such as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, historical political disturbances in Britain and the Netherlands, were quite atrocious regressions. Obviously, to believe that all of those who historical events were in their entireties negative, is not a defensible viewpoint.

    The Arab Gandhis do exist, and they are being heavily persecuted by a ruthless and terroristic political order clinging to the past.

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