Wake-up call for the State

07-08-2013 06:59 PM

Youssef Sidhom

The numerous calls for ‘national conciliation’ in Egypt, by parties outside and inside Egypt, have reached the point where they irritatingly ruffle Egyptian feathers

. The logic behind such ‘conciliation’ appears to be entirely lost on Egyptians, since it defies the realities on the ground. The date 30 June saw millions upon millions of Egyptians take to the streets demanding an end to Islamist rule and, backed by their army, succeed in their effort. Again, on 26 July, more millions took to the streets to authorise the State to wipe out the [Islamist] terror rampaging Egypt. The war of terrorism the Islamists have been waging against Egyptians since 30 June leaves no margin to speak of for ‘conciliation’. The ranting about the common ‘citizenship’ or nationalism that bind the two poles who are called upon to conciliate—the Islamist and non-Islamist Egyptians—no longer makes any sense. What conciliation can there be while the MB constantly threaten to “burn Egypt” if their power and ‘legitimacy’—which is in fact nothing but vintage despotism, tyranny and ruin—is not restored? How can Egyptians be talked into conciliating with the MB who terrorise, abuse, assault, and hold them hostages to pressure the State into giving in to their demands. The MB have had no qualms about stooping to the meanest level of betrayal; they have repeatedly asked for foreign intervention, even if militarily, to re-impose their rule in Egypt, in flagrant defiance of the public will that threw them out of power. 
What ‘national conciliation’ can bridge such a catastrophic rift? Are those who rant about conciliation aware that the practices of the MB are similar, if not in excess of, the practices of the colonial powers that occupied Egypt throughout its history? It is no exaggeration to say that some of these colonial powers were kinder to Egyptians than MB. Some of those invaders treated Egyptians graciously, leaving behind them a legacy of progress and enlightenment, all the while preserving and respecting the Egyptian identity and culture. 
What national conciliation can there be with the MB who have given their backs to values and ethics; and indulged in lies, deceit, fraud and conspiracy; legitimising it all on the pretext that the end justifies the means? What remnant of trust, confidence or reassurance did they maintain between them and other Egyptians? In truth, Egypt has reached the point where a deep chasm of suspicion, fear, terror, and resentment today divides the MB and other Egyptians; and this chasm is getting wider. Any hope or desire to extend bridges across this chasm through dialogue, conciliation, or revision…to the end of that menu of political rhetoric, is now a joke. Dialogue, compromise, conciliation, and acceptance can only come about on the heels of accountability and justice. 
To all who extend calls for conciliation and preach forgiveness and tolerance I say, take your hands off the Egyptian nation and let it conclude its battle against terrorism first, because the pile-up of pain and bitterness has reached an ominous level, and there extends before us a long way to put the nation on the right path. Once Egypt reaches the end of this path, a new climate of conciliation will be born.
No one can argue that MB terrorism, practised so flagrantly under the fake banner of ‘peaceful protest’, should be confronted by the State through the rule of law. But Egyptians are feeling increasingly frustrated with and irritated at the soft policy of ‘tolerance’ and ‘patience’ adopted by the authorities in face of this vicious terrorism. I choose to use mild terms to describe the official behaviour; mainstream Egyptians have used instead the harsher terms of inaction, weakness, and quivering hands that allow terrorism to mushroom and gain ground. 
The MB persistence in chaotic, destructive, terroristic practices; and the official tolerance of this behaviour; have worked to augment Egyptian frustration and wrath. The massive public authorisation Egyptians gave the State to deal with terrorism led them to hold their breaths to see how the State would act upon this authorisation. But all they saw was that the MB were gaining freer rein: threatening civilians, blocking roads, and wreaking havoc wherever they stepped. Crime, ruin, and roadblocks became everyday calamitous scenes which the State fails to stop, simply resorting to the use of tear gas to disperse mobs. This has undermined the State prestige, challenged its dignity, and even scorned the law.
Angry Egyptians are wondering out loud whether or not those in authority in Egypt are aware of how other States in the world have confronted demonstrations and sit-ins—peaceful or not—on their soil. In New York, London, Istanbul and South Africa; governments were very clear that no tolerance would be practised with terrorism or chaos; no ‘human rights’ for those who threaten and terrorise the community; and no compromise on State sovereignty. Police in these countries practised no tolerance or lenience in breaking up public protest; and restored order, and security.
I hope the message is clear to Egyptian authorities and decision makers. Otherwise, we may very well be on the brink of a third public uprising, this time to tell the State: Wake up!
WATANI International
11 August 2013
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