Egyptian Aak: Week 5

Police BrutalityA photo of police brutality in Egypt tweeted by Rana Allam, editor of Daily News Egypt @Run_Rana

Week 5

Main Headlines:







A Few Thoughts:

State Prestige:

 One of the most amusing slogans that were circulated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters is “state prestige.” The defiance against the emergency law in the canal region and the battle scenes in front of the presidential palace are indications that, currently, Egypt is neither a functional state nor has any prestige. This tired statement is as empty as the minds of those who repeat it day and night, and it has failed drastically to stop the spiral of violence.

 Police brutality?

 Less than 24 hours after millions watched central security officers beating and dragging him naked in the anti-Morsi protest, victim Hamada Saber, in police custody without lawyers, told prosecutors on Saturday that protesters, not security forces, initiated the assault against him.

I listened to Hamada’s testimony closely; his interview in the police hospital sound bizarre, illogical, and reminiscent of similar interviews conducted in the past in many authoritarian Arab states: “The protesters fired a bullet at me and robbed me. When I saw the CSF soldiers coming at the crowd, I was scared and I ran. The soldiers chased after me, yelling that they wanted to help me. When I fell, they caught me and said, ‘You gave us a hard time, man.’” In another twist, his daughter claimed that both her father and mother were threatened by the police.

 On her Twitter account, Journalist Bel Trew wrote, “No way that man was not beaten and dragged. I saw it.” She also wrote on her FB page, “During the last week in Egypt, I’ve personally witnessed a girl violently mobbed, stripped and sexual assaulted, a bystander gunned down close range by police with birdshot, a prisoner stripped, dragged and brutally beaten and 1000s badly tear-gassed.”

 Hamada’s case is another ugly reminder that no one has changed; the police haven’t changed, the leadership hasn’t changed, and many ordinary Egyptians haven’t changed. We will never know what really happened to Hamada, even if he later appeared on TV to tell a different story. Egypt is now a country in which truth is as elusive as its newly born democracy. Hamada is a symbol of what went wrong; in other words, we as a society haven’t changed. I don’t blame him as some do − he is not a celebrity that citizens and foreign embassies will rush to save. He is just a human being who thinks humiliation is his only method of survival.

 Fair Media?

 On his Twitter account, Marc Lynch commented on the appointment of Abdel Moneim Said as the new chairman of Al-Masry Al-Youm. “What a statement on evolution.”  He is right; we are not evolving. We run through one cycle and intentionally − or un-intentionally − refuse to break it and progress in a linear pass. I respect Said, but Egypt needs an independent news outlet that is non-partisan and not dedicated to be for or against the ruling party, an essential step to regain balance in a society that is dangerously close to the edge.


 Many have rightly pointed out that, in my last two pieces, I did not offer solutions to the current crisis. They are right; I did not, mainly because I doubt that solutions are what Egypt needs. Egypt must first change its attitudes of vengeance, anger, paranoia, denial before any solutions can take hold. Case in point: The way that the Ahly fans celebrated the Port Said case verdict indicates, in my opinion, a lust for vengeance rather than justice. It seems to me that they wanted to see death in response to death, regardless of whether the 21 defendants are the true culprits or not. Frankly, I think tricky court cases and political tension are an explosive mix. The country can live with one, but not both.

 Egypt needs to break free from its current endless cycle of bickering to reach a more linear progression toward true democracy. Our old attitudes will not change unless our leaders adopt it first. The meeting between head of the Nour party and opposition was a step in the right direction. If the left and right can find common ground, it can pave the way toward breaking the dead lock. Sadly, many did not appreciate this gesture, which indicates shortsightedness, in my opinion.

Good Read

Finally, here is Jayson Casper’s  prayers for Egypt

About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
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