This last Saturday Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi called on his supporters to come to the streets on Friday 6th February in a new jamboree, to renew the “mob-granted mandate” of 30th July 2013, for wholesale slaughter in Egypt.
On this occasion, liberal elements, who were there on the previous occasion, are unlikely to be present. That is because they now form part of the up to 40,000 political prisoners currently in the Egyptian Gulag. If the official position is that there are no political prisoners at all in Egypt, this is because they are all classed as “criminals”, or “terrorists”, or will be, if ever the grunts at the police stations get down to do the paperwork, which is unlikely. No-one is sure how many political prisoners there are in Egypt because, for one thing, there are no records for people to check and, for another, the prison population is dying from overcrowding, lack of hygienic conditions, and a deliberate policy of medical negligence.
Those who will attend the Friday jamboree will be a combination of state employees bussed into Tahrir square, “baltagies” or thugs paid and recruited by the state police from the criminal population, who in Egypt’s bizarre “looking-glass world” have swapped places with prisoners of conscience, and militias financed by oligarch Naguib Sawiris, whose tax wrangles with the Egyptian state led him to finance the 30th June 2013 protests, in order to overthrow the (democratically-elected) then President for financial gain.
The reason for Sisi’s call for a new mandate to slaughter is partly to do with the furious ongoing daily protests in the streets, as well as those more high-profile protests in the universities against his régime, the reprisals against which have broken all the traditional norms that have maintained Egyptian society for millennia, by specifically targeting women and children, in Sisi’s fits of pique at the refusal of Egyptians to kneel to his tyrannical will.
The fourth anniversary of the 25th January 2011 “revolution” in Egypt was marked by massive protests across the country, and on this occasion, these were met without tear gas being used, without water cannons, without riot gear and batons: live ammunition was simply used against peaceful protesters from the outset.
Not in the dark days of Mubarak, or going much further back, the autocracy of Mohamed Ali, or the days of the Mamluk despots have such fundamental social norms been deliberately trampled on. Only the mass exterminations that Mongol rulers exercised as policy against those communities that dared to challenge them could compare. And such a state of affairs is what increasingly awaits us Egyptians.
Sisi’s idea for a “mandate for slaughter” is a construct of the military intelligence division of the Egyptian army and is designed essentially as a sop to US/EU government structures that seek “formal” validations of his tyranny and bloodshed in return for their continued support. It is designed around total control of the media, which was laid bare in recorded conversations (one, and two) between Sisi’s chief of staff, General Abbas Kamil, and his liaison officer at the Cairo Media Complex, Colonel Ahmad Ali, aired by opposition TV station Mekameleen TV, broadcasting from Istanbul.
Media figures bought with salaries in the millions of US dollars are, according to these tapes, instructed by the Sisi régime to drive mobs into the streets in support of the junta, to supply the TV footage to Western governments that are backing the régime to “validate” his rule, and from time to time to incite them to violence. If I am not mistaken this same muscular approach to democratic politics was followed by a previous demagogue in Germany called Hitler. Clearly, such lessons of history are lost on modern US and EU apparatchiks. They seem to be merely the content of endless ceremonies to the dead of the past, attended by politicians, who are obviously not concentrating, intent merely on their immediate ambitions.
Needless to say the support Sisi enjoys in European capitals, incredibly gives him the licence to lobby European governments to close down opposition channels, such as Mekamelen TV and Elsharq TV, among others, airing through European satellites, just as he closed them all down in Egypt. Of course, even if Nilesat, Hotbird and Arabsat were blocked to these TV stations, you and I could still access them on our iPads anyway. Nevertheless, the arrogance of the Egyptian junta in its dealings with foreign governments, which extends for instance to censuring EU parliament criticisms of its human rights record, is as breathtaking as the unbuttoned savagery it displays at home.
It is the total support Sisi enjoys from the Israeli régime for his suppression of the Egyptian popular will that feeds this arrogance. The invitation extended to Sisi to appear and speak at Davos this year, and the special thanks he received from Klaus Schwab (Davos founder and trustee of the Simon Peres Trust) is an indication of the extent of his backing by Israeli and international financial élites. That he does their bidding is evidenced, for instance, in his extraordinary across-the-board attacks against Islam in his Davos speech and subsequently in Egypt. These speeches reflect exactly the sentiments expressed by Rupert Murdoch in his post-Charlie Hebdo Tweet where the media baron said “Maybe most Moslems [are] peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible”.
However, even the Financial Times has begun to think that all this is going too far. The FT writes on February 3rd that Sisi’s Davos junket should “give [us] pause for thought”, and goes on:
“The Sisi government’s iron fist against dissent, on view again last month when more than two dozen people were killed in protests marking the Tahrir anniversary, works in tandem with Egypt’s increasingly arbitrary courts to foment radicalisation. Blanket repression that manufactures extremists is clearly based on a false calculus — the same sort of autocracy that triggered the wave of Arab uprisings four years ago.”
If Sisi’s need for a new “mandate for slaughter” is partly due to those never ending protests which evidence the unbendable will of the Egyptian people, is has mostly been brought about, however, by the new jihadi war, which has broken out in Sinai. In the same article above, the FT goes on to say more specifically on this matter:
“… by criminalising mainstream Islamists such as the Brotherhood, it brings more grist to the jihadist mill… There was a lethal reminder of the jihadi threat last month, when around 27 people were killed in attacks against security targets in Egypt’s lawless Sinai peninsula, as well as this week’s attempted bomb attacks in Cairo and Alexandria — possibly improvised by disaffected Islamists”.
I quote from one of the pillars of the financial establishment on this subject, not out of any sense of deference to their judgement, which has been incredibly lacking in recent years over events in the Middle east, but as a sign of the fact that Western governments are continuing their support for Sisi despite the fact that they know it is the wrong thing to do and they are being told so by their own people. It isn’t merely the FT that is saying this: the New York Times is saying it as well. The otherwise-concerned-with-their-ambitions apparatchiks of the US/EU, in their munificence, are actually intent on doing the wrong thing.
In a previous post, this author joined a warning that the US/EU “roadmap to democracy” was in fact a roadmap to hell. This has now come about with the war in Sinai instigated by Sisi’s obedient directives from the Israeli régime to blow up the town of Rafah on the border with Gaza and disperse its occupants. It has also come about with a change in the Muslim Brotherhood leadership on the ground, which has been criticised for continuing a policy of peaceful demonstrations in the face of what is seen as total disinterest on the part of the so-called “international community” in the fate of protesters. The FT’s new warnings come a bit late.
In a reorganisation of the administration of the demonstrations in Egypt, while indiscriminate violence is strictly ruled out, tit-for-tat reprisals are now sanctioned against police and army units and individuals, who are proven to have committed atrocities. This departure was long in the making, due to the essentially peaceful nature of the resistance, but it has finally arrived as a matter of necessity.
Meanwhile, Sisi with his new “mandate to slaughter”, which he will certainly acquire this Friday, if not from his supporters, then certainly from the baying hounds of the Egyptian media, a “killing fields” will open up in communities that are known for their resistance such as Kirdasa, Delga, and more recently, Matariyya. Having torn apart the moral fabric of a traditionally peaceful nation, Sisi will now seek to tear it apart physically.
It has been a testament to the high moral standards of the resistance that Egypt has not become a new Syria, Libya or Somalia. It is all our hopes that the rigid maintenance of their principles, in the face of internationally-financed atrocities against them, will keep the integrity of the Egyptian nation, as a future productive member of the community of nations.
Omar Kassem can be reached through his website at http://different-traditions.com/