Army rule in Egypt rejected by new movement
With the brutal murder of 74 – probably more – pro-Morsi supporters and persecution of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members by the army leadership, the Egyptian revolution enters a dangerous and crucial phase.
The shootings on Friday night by Egypt’s military have been condemned by Human Rights Watch as targeted killings by snipers. Minister of Defence and coup leader general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call for support in dealing with “terrorism”, gave the army the green light to deal brutally with the Brotherhood.
Live rounds were fired directly into protesters’ heads and chests from buildings overlooking the Muslim Brotherhood’s sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya in eastern Cairo. Brotherhood supporters are demanding the release of detained former president Mohammed Morsi – elected after the fall of Mubarak – during a 30-day sit-in and are clearly prepared to die to achieve their objective.
But a new movement, the Third Square, has emerged in the city of Giza, which represents people-revolutionaries who support neither the military’s June 30 coup nor Morsi’s regime.
One of the protesters, Ahmed Adel, said: "We are a group of young people whose views are not represented either in Tahrir Square or Rabaa al-Adawiya." He was critical of Egyptians being forced to choose between two camps "just because the Muslim Brotherhood failed" saying that he wants neither "religious fascism nor the army."
Meanwhile, Fatma Ramadan, a member of the executive committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), has denounced the EFITU's decision to support al-Sisi's call for pro-military demonstrations as well as the Muslim Brotherhood’s attack on Egyptian workers and trade unions, saying:
Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt ? Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organize, strike, and protest peacefully? Have they not adamantly worked to criminalize this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organising peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins? Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.
The new status quo has been satirised by anti-Mubarak film-maker, Aalam Wassef. He has made a surreal music video in which he does his laundry in front of a banner saying “Resist”. The pre-Mubarak world has been turned upside in two years, he says.
The former revolutionaries, Wassef’s song goes, are now members of the Couch Party, while the Brotherhood are now the “felool” – the remnants of the old regime, and the old regime – the army – is playing at being revolutionaries.
Many hailed the removal of the elected government of Morsi in June by Egypt’s powerful army leaders as a victory for the people. But Egypt’s army officers, as Jadaliyya website says, “are promoting a narrative in which they have (once again) intervened heroically to save the day and ‘protect the revolution’.”
Meanwhile, the demands for bread, freedom and social justice, which lay behind the revolutionary toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year autocracy in February 2011, remain unfulfilled.
The January 25 revolution – and indeed the Egyptian revolution itself – goes far deeper than the search for an elected government. As far as Jadaliyya is concerned, “it encompassed a host of demands for far-reaching institutional reforms and social and economic rights”.
The partisans of “bread, freedom, and social justice” represent a huge swathe of people-revolutionaries who back neither the Brotherhood nor the army. Egyptian writer Khaled Alkhamissi, author of the prophetic novels Noah’s Ark and Taxi, which foretold the fall of Mubarak, said last week:
We are living in a vibrant social era in Egypt ... We are not in a process of transformation from A to B, as representative democracy is dying everywhere. We need to properly analyse the revolutionary process that has been going on for almost ten years ... and we need a manifesto of demands.
The Third Square and Egypt’s revolutionaries face the challenge of moving beyond subversion and resistance. The battle is on to grasp the nettle of state power. That means creating new democratic political and social institutions that can express the needs of Egypt’s workers, farmers, professional people and youth.
A World to Win secretary
29 July 2013