Egypt’s bloodthirsty tyranny

Egypt’s bloodthirsty tyranny

Monday, March 24, an Egyptian court gave death sentences to a staggering number of 529 people, most of who had been suffering in Egypt’s horrible jails for months. They were all members or supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a political-religious movement whose elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown by a military coup in July 2013. And what was their crime? To take part, allegedly, in a raid on a police station in which one policeman was killed.

One does not need to be a legal expert to see the execution of 529 people for only one death has nothing to do with justice. It rather has everything to do with revenge and terrorizing, which has been the main job of Egypt’s brutal military since the coup. A New York Times editorial put it well:  
“[This] represents an outrageous escalation of the military-led government’s ruthless crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist supporters of its ally, Mohamed Morsi… It was clearly intended to intimidate anyone who dares to challenge the military or shows sympathy for the Brotherhood.”

This intimidation has been going on since the very first days of the coup. The military, under the command of General al-Sisi, a petty man whose hubris seems to have been matched only by his cruelty, used all sorts of violence to crackdown on opponents. Thousands have been shot dead by “security forces” during their peaceful demonstrations. Tens of thousands have been arrested and are reportedly tortured. Not only members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but even liberals (true liberals, not coup-mongering fascists) have been jailed and abused.

Of course, the blame here lies not only on the military, which is more of a mafia that exists to plunder Egypt’s scarce economic resources, but also its civilian supporters, i.e., the coup-mongering fascists. One such figure, a “journalist” named Ahmad Moussa, on his TV show named “Ala Masou’ouleyati” (On my Responsibility), recently praised the 529 death sentences with sickening bloodlust. “I salute the fairness and justice of our judiciary,” he declared. “May [the death sentences] be 10,000, 20,000, not 500 … Burn them, burn their bodies, burn their clothes.”

You can remind me that the Muslim Brotherhood rule that the military overthrew was illiberal, dogmatic, close-minded and power-hungry, which would be all true. But none of those facts justify what is being done to these people, let alone the true liberals, journalists and basically anyone who stands for a freer Egypt. In fact, whatever Morsi’s mistakes were, they are, as the New York Times editorial rightly pointed, only “modest” when compared with the “official brutality of his successors.”

And all of this means the liberal-democratic West, if there really is such a thing, needs to condemn Egypt’s military regime and take firm actions to curb its bloodlust. But, alas, most Western governments have been astonishingly lenient towards the horrors of General al-Sisi and his fellow thugs. The governments of the U.S. and the U.K., for example, have only been “deeply concerned” about the recent death sentences, as they have been so far. Yet, everybody knows they would be much more vocal if the Islamists were not the victims, but the oppressors.

So, to all those who sit in official chairs in DC or London, let me tell you something: This double standard of yours is why a lot of people in this part of the world have given up trusting your stance on human rights and democracy anymore. If you really want to preach any principle to them, you should first really uphold that principle.