Last week I wrote that President Mursi was repeating the mistake his predecessor Mubarak did when he took his time to reply to the demands of the street, which worked to raise the
ceiling of the demands. Saturday 8 December saw a meeting between the President and Vice President on one side and political figures on the other, in an attempt to reach some agreement regarding the recent presidential decrees which effectively polarised the nation. The outcome of the meeting was a statement which endeavoured to offer a compromise, but in fact it insisted on not changing the date for which the heavily criticised draft constitution would be put to referendum—15 December—and on immunising the President’s decisions against being contested in court.
The situation in the street is gone way beyond revolt; it is now in the phase of rebellion, upheaval, and civil disobedience. The ‘compromise’ offered in the 8 December meeting appeared not to grasp how serious the situation in the street is. The President’s supporters insisted it was a step to meet the opposition halfway, and that it was difficult for the President to lose face by going back on his decisions. On the other hand, those who have been on the street since “Black Wednesday” know first hand the full scale of searing rage and bitterness against the President, his supporters and security apparatus, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to which he belongs, and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to which the FJP belongs. The protestors are now in a state of revolt that sees no way out other than that all these should go.
The eyewitness reports on Black Wednesday in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Heliopolis, Cairo, defy every imagination in their horrifying details. [Watani International is offering live testimonies on Black Wednesday on page 2]. The terrorist legions belonging to the MB swooped down on the peaceful demonstrators in assaults of the utmost viciousness and savagery, all the while crying: “Allah is the Greatest”. They spread terror and wild accusations against which no one was immune. The horror stories reported by eyewitnesses recall the barbarism of the Dark Ages. The protestors who demonstrated against President Mursi, be they men or women, media persons or activists, Muslim or Christian were brutally beaten, abused, insulted, threatened and tortured. Christians especially were given an extra dose of abuse and torture.
Official figures placed the number of dead at five and the injured at some 700. But the real horror remains in the details cited by the eyewitnesses who insist this could not have been a battle between two conflicting groups of the same nation, and not even between warring factions of different people. This, they assert, was a sordid battle in which all human values were thrown to the wind, to make way for a satanic appetite for horror, ruin, and murder in the name of religion, defending legitimacy, and upholding the regime.
All this went on under the eyes and noses of the security forces who lifted not a finger to defend the victims or halt the assault. The security authorities who so often bragged they would not trifle with peaceful protest but would never allow any violence or violation of public order stood by and turned a blind eye to the disastrous scene, as though they were powerless to do anything about it. It appeared as though the single most important objective was to protect the presidential palace; as for the crimes that were being committed in public for Egypt and all the world to see, they were of no moment.
After all the hideousness of that black day, were the representatives of the victims required to sit down to the negotiation table to conduct a so-called national dialogue to contain the crisis? What dialogue could there be before the culprits were caught and brought to justice? What dialogue before the law is implemented and the authority of the State is established, so that the victims are rightfully vindicated?
The peak of the tragedy, however, is that the killers insisted they were “the defenders of the regime” and their victims were “fuloul”, meaning remnants of the pre-Revolution regime. The ugly truth is that whoever hears the numerous, identical horror stories related by the victim fuloul will find it impossible to grasp the thought of any ‘national dialogue’ or ‘crisis containment’.
16 December 2012