The Last Choice

Today the mood in Cairo was wary & melancholic. With the reality of what went down yesterday at Maspero hitting them with its full might, the general population that yesterday found itself on the brinks of chaos is utterly terrified. The number of phone calls I received from people who were worried and horrified made me wish I could shut off my phone, with everyone looking at the future with an incredibly bleak outlook. It’s easy to fall into that mood- after all you have your army killing your people, a long oppressed minority of it at that- but if one looks beyond what happened, one sees a very different picture. What happened yesterday was the beginning of the end of the military rule over Egypt: The days of the SCAF ruling us are numbered. And not because they don’t want to, but because they will no longer have any other choice.

A quick recap over what has went down yesterday: a huge demo held by Coptic Christians & muslim supporters protesting against yet another fight over the building of a Church was attacked by the Egyptian armed forces there to protect it and plainclothed thugs. Shots were fired at protesters killing them, rocks were thrown by protesters in return, protesters were overrun by armored vehicles, the Egyptian State TV issued a plea asking Egyptian citizens to come to the Demo and “protect the army from Christian thugs”, and a street battle that resulted in over 24 dead and 150 injured. The street battle after a while turned into Egyptian citizens fighting each other, without any of them being able to figure out who was fighting who. Pandemonium, for a lack of a better word.

But the moment the dust settled the questions started presenting themselves: This was obviously planned, so what the hell was the SCAF thinking? How could they attack and kill Egyptians on the street so casually, while their sole purpose is to protect them from getting killed? How could they risk enflaming the country into a huge sectarian battle by having state Media so conscientiously attacking the Christians and promoting violence against them? How did they not see that the choice they made is an inherently flawed one that it could spell their doom? How do you explain last night?

Well, the easy explanation is that they- like every single political force in the country throughout this year- fell into the trap of thinking that they have won and asserted their power, only to have the whole thing blow up in their faces. After believing the political street to be dead, and that the revolution is almost dying, they figured they now have the power to put “people in their proper place” like the old days. So, they went down yesterday to terrorize the Christians, counting that they won’t put up a fight (because they never really did before), and that the sectarian rhetoric will cause them all to fear for their lives, stop them from causing trouble, and quite possibly scare them from participating in the elections. With every single respectable political party formed after the revolution having prominent Christians in their founders and as their candidates, they figured that threatening us with the possibility that the next election will turn into a Muslim vs. Christian election will discourage people from voting and participating, leaving the new parties with fewer seats, with the Christians being underrepresented as always in the parliament, and thus allowing the ex NDP people control of the Parliament as the only other choice against the “Islamists”. To basically return us to the pre-revolution status quo. But had they thought this through for more than 5 minutes, they might have seen the inherent flaws in their old-and-reliable plan. They, somehow, didn’t and now they have overplayed their hand and about to face the consequences.

What consequences, some of you may ask, believing that there is no way to hold the army accountable for anything that they have done. This is not true at all. Yesterday was a game changer, and it proved that the old ways no longer work. Let’s go over the consequences shall we?

  1. They have shown how weak they really are: The SCAF might be the last remaining part of the Mubarak regime, but it’s not nearly as powerful, because they don’t have the tools of oppression that Mubarak had. Mubarak had the executive branch, a ruling party, talking heads, politicians, “intellectuals”, control over the Media and countless soldiers; SCAF only has the soldiers and Media, and neither are enough to control the situation for them. The soldiers yesterday were beaten up by the protesters, and in many incidents were shown running away from battle due to the sheer number of people they were facing. I personally saw a group of soldiers going up 6 October bridge, banging their batons against their shields, prompting many people to run away for 5 seconds, before standing their ground and advancing against them, and the soldiers stopped, suddenly looking hesitant and scared, and started walking back down. They suddenly remembered why they couldn’t fire on the protesters in Jan25: Because there are far more of us than there are of them. They can’t rule this country by brute force, because they will face real resistance from the population, even when they are unarmed. And the Media had to backtrack very quickly and are now facing the wrath of God from the average Egyptian, with no one able or willing to defend the SCAF, or what the armed forces did. They wanted to showcase their control, and failed miserably, because even they are not strong enough to carry this country alone.
  2. The old arrangement will no longer work on the Christians: The security apparatus always played a dirty game with the Christian population by inciting attacks on them by islmaist groups, thus ensuring that they continue to support it in order to be protected from the evil muslims, the closest example of which was the Church Bombing that took place earlier this year. But now that they have shown themselves willing to kill Christians, and inciting the population against them, they can no longer play the Christian protector, because they have killed Christians with their own hands. If the choice is between someone that is willing to kill you or someone that will protect you but oppress you, it makes sense to go with the Protecting oppressor. But if the choice is between two forces who are willing to kill you, well, screw both of them. The Army has now lost all credibility as the “protector of the citizens”, and thus can no longer be trusted to play that role by anyone. Instead, they left the Christians with no choice but to seek true democracy and civilian rule, because military rule -like islamist rule- now also leads to their oppression and murder. They have lost the trust of that segment of the population for a very long time, and thus left them no choice but to continue to fight, the exact opposite of what last night events intended to do.
  3. The Internal Consequences: The Army has Coptic Christians. Not necessarily in positions of power, but they do exist in all the ranks (except the top ranks of course) and have now placed them in a choice between their religious brethren and their army ones for no reason, which they are not at all happy about. If the Christians inside the army start thinking that their leadership is sectarian or promotes sectarian violence, they will start having serious cracks in the cohesion of the armed forces. Add to that the rising toll of their casualties, which , while not yet significant, are increasing alarmingly as far as the soldiers are concerned. Also, for the first time in their history, an increasingly rising number of the Egyptian population- who are known for their army worship- are starting to have an unfavorable view of them. All are not good signs.
  4. The Global Consequences: The way the world will read what happened won’t be in the context of “The Egyptian army killed its own citizens” (which is the real issue), but rather in the context of ” The Egyptian army just killed the Egyptian Christians”, which means that the Egyptian army will now be looked upon as a sectarian army, which is the death of them. Not only will they lose whatever international legitimacy they might have had, they have now put their allies in a corner: The US can’t justify giving military assistance to an army that kills its own Christian citizens, especially with how cozy they have shown themselves to be with the political islamist forces. The same goes to all western countries, international institutions, and global public opinion, which is largely in support of the Egyptian revolution, and not the Egyptian army, especially if they start viewing it in the “Islamist anti-christian” context. And since no one can defend what they did, there won’t be a counter-argument, because they have no people abroad who can defend them any longer. A Tsunami of international pressure will reign down on them with economic consequences, and it’s exactly the kind of headache they don’t want and can’t deal with economically right now. It’s a bad business.

So, now what?

Well, as far as I see it, there is only one solution out of this: Our political and social leaders need to sit down with SCAF and deliver the following message to them: “If you keep this up you are walking the path of your own destruction. The old tactics won’t work. The people refused to turn sectarian, and your soldiers are no way near enough to take control of the country. So why not cut the crap and finish this? Tell us what you want, and get out of power immediately, because if you continue doing this you will break the country and your institution. Neither one of us wants to live in a broken country, and you can’t sustain this, so this needs to stop, now. What we want is a country with a future, and the only way to get there is together. This is the only choice you have, because the Price of the other choice is one that you cannot afford to pay, but we are starting to be willing to pay it. This is not a negotiation; this is the only road out, and you no longer have space to maneuver. We are stopping you from signing your own death warrant, so let’s end this now.” And we take it from there. An exit deal, made right now, ending this fiasco, because the alternative is death to all. And make no mistake: they will have to answer to the death toll of yesterday, because the army cannot kill its people and be allowed to get away with it. Someone will be held into account as part of that deal. No one will win, but especially not the SCAF, because it’s no longer an option for them.

Too many people will say that it’s too late for this, and might even see this solution as a soft-handed approach to the SCAF, but there is no other logical way out. Yesterday, while observing the clashes at Abdelmeneim riad, the people who were violently clashing were regular citizens, Egyptian vs. Egyptian, with no army or Police forces in sight. Needless to say one couldn’t tell the muslims from the Christians (because we all look alike), and neither could the people fighting each other. After engaging in a street brawl where not a single person could tell who is with who or against who, they stopped a started chanting. One team started chanting “The People and the Army are one hand” and the others started chanting “Muslims and Christians are one hand”, thus providing us with the choices that we as Egyptians were told to make yesterday. And then, strangely, both sides at the same time changed their chants to “One hand”, and both sides started chanting that fiercely, stopped fighting each other, and joined each other into one big marsh chanting “One hand, One hand”, and thus showing us that they made the right choice. They were presented with the choice between the Army and National Unity, and they refused to make that choice and collectively and organically made the only correct choice: Each Other. Egypt. In the midst of the battle, they realized on a very basic level that they can’t chose one over the other, and that , even if they have prejudices, they really do not want to fight each other. There is a lesson in that incident for all of us, and it may just hold the key to our salvation.

Comments

  1. thank you – informative – clearly a must read

    • A good article, however you betray a bias when you say “military rule -like islamist rule- now also leads to their oppression and murder”. For sure military rule does. But Islamist rule? This is the majority choice of us Egyptians. In a free and fair election the clear majority of us will most likely make the choice of FJP al Wasat or such like. Egyptian christians have nothing to fear from such islamist parties and in fact to expect anything different in a generally religious society where the vast majority are muslim would be a denial of rights. But most importantly Islam would protect and encourage christians to live as equal citizens. Be true to what you know is a majority view,. If yours differs you too will be treated equally in Egypt but theres no denying it will be a minority view that thinks Islam leads to oppression and murder

      • You are being naive or worse duplicitous if you think that Christians have nothing to fear from Islamists. I think you really need to know your history and not from the perspective of Islam. Muslims have claimed that Christians live peacefully under muslim rule but have you ever asked a Christian that. Of course not because history is written by the victorious and not the dead or persecuted. I think you should really give yourself a dose of reality. You also don’t understand democracy because actually the biggest fear or those who set it up was tyrrany of the majority which is why individual rights should always trump group/majority rights. Elections are only a peaceful means to transfer power from one thug group to the next as long as the thugs decide not to fight it out. You should read anything and everything from Ayn Rand. I am not a Christian but it is easy to see that Egypt will be in a civil war soon. Anytime the government does not protect minorities and the smallest minority is the individual the only resort that minorities have is to arms. You can take that to the bank.

      • Emma Yonas says:

        America is a majority Christian country. But the law of the land is not based on the Bible. The law should be indifferent to any religion. The law should neither favor nor discriminate against one religion over another. Wouldn’t you prefer to live in a country where the population follows Islam because they want to and not because they are forced to do so by the law?

  2. Its genuinely inspiring to read non sectarian, non party political analysis/opinion/truth-telling like this. As someone who grew up in a low level sectarian war of thirty years in the north of Ireland, i have some appreciation of the dangers and pitfalls and anti humanism that arises with sustained and learnt sectarianism.

    But there is also the power that benefit and manipulate (false) notions of the other.
    Central to whats written above is not simply the rejection of any sense of difference, but an underlying sense of commonality.

    Thank you

  3. Mahmoud, thank you for being the calm, reasoning voice amidst the chaos. For some time I’ve wondered why SCAF sat back and did nothing during the revolution. What did they have to gain? I am seeing more clearly, thanks to your explanations, what they wanted, but will not achieve after this weekend.

    They have lost credibility with the global powers. In the old days maybe they could have gotten away with this, justifying it to world governments, but not now. We, the citizens of those countries, will no longer turn a blind eye and allow it.

    We are still watching, and cheering you on Egypt.

  4. John Spies says:

    Please continue to post the truth, so that those seeking truth may know truth. It has been an honor to follow your tweets, and to read your rants. My prayer is that you remain safe, remain engaged in the struggle and one day know peace, prosperity and joy.

  5. Bruce Olsen says:

    Thank you for telling the story of the Egyptian people’s struggle for freedom. For most of us in the west we have forgotten, as people, what value freedom has and, more importantly, that we should not freedom for granted because to regain freedom from tyrants requires great sacrifice from all citizens.

  6. Nice take on the subject, which I hope is an accurate one. You don’t really mention the silent majority, who are complicit in this. Do we automatically assume that they share your views, and those of young activists generally, of Sunday night’s crimes? Even if the army is playing to certain extreme elements like the Salafists, would they do it were they not convinced that most Muslims will say and do nothing? That the MB is never going take an openly principled stand against sectarian violence? I am still astounded by the number of people who expressed satisfaction at the violent dispersal of the July/Aug sit-in this year. There are many in Egypt who would prefer military rule to the uncertainties of populism and democratic politics.

    • Nancy Morrison says:

      Absolutely, what about the Egyptians clapping for the military guy who was bragging that he shot someone? Clapping? This is the majority of the population we are dealing with here in this country – and yes they would prefer military rule. BTW before you say anything I am Egyptian and Muslim.

  7. Thank you!

  8. Thank you for your very well thought analysis. I on my part never believed from day 1 that the army had any genuine desire to accept Democracy in Egypt and it was very clear to me when they started playing the islamist versus the liberals from the very beginning. In brief things were presented as either “us” or “them” the scarecrow of a fundemtalist backward regime most vividly represented by the Salafis or the good old ways of a military rule. In fact if you look at the history since 1952 the Egyptian had hold power and since then they ended all democracy and civil liberties in Egypt transforming it into a military dictatorship with one party rule. Presently they military establishment controls about 30% of the economy (not quiet sure of the number but not far from that). Ironically the time when the military were going to lose partially control was the time of the supposed succession of Gamal Mubarak… Which according to what we heard later they vowed to stop by fomenting a military coup if it had happened. They claim that they saved the 25th of January revolution when all they did was watch and see who was going to win. And the most flagrent example of that is the day known as the camel battle when they let things happen! In fact all they wanted to is to remover Mubarak and his closes associates and keep things as they were. Just a few figure head change and that’s it. I don’t know many examples in history of an army or a General ever establishing a democracy, with the notable exception of General de Gaule in France.
    You are right no army can control a population of more than 80 million even if it wanted to. They have played against the revolution and with the help of members of the old regime, media brainwash of the less educated population and also lest but not last the use of the extremist, they almost succeeded in demonizing the revolution in the eyes of the normal citizens, without whom the revolution could never had gained nor continue. The last trick was the use of the old Mubarak and other military rulers of the past 60 years that is to create sectarian violence. You probably know that in one of his report to London British High Commissioner Lord Cromer wrote in the 1900’s that is was practically impossible to differentiate between an Egyptian Muslim or Christians as we are the same.
    I hope that these tragic events will be the wake call of most Egyptians and they will realize that the way for them to improve their life is through real democracy. No revolution in Egypt will materialize without the uneducated ordinary citizens believing that it will change their life for real and the life of the children

  9. Hadaya el Naggar says:

    Thank you for your excellent analysis and which made me believe again in the power of the Egyptian people – demonstrations/ riots in Egypt have changed the flow of modern Egyptian history 1919, 1935, 1945-52 ,1977, Jan 2011 and will continued to do so- we shall overcome

  10. All that us fine and good. But what happens after the fall of the army?

    • This time, have an interim government ready to step in and assume power. Don’t wait for elections… get something up and ready to go when the military steps aside. If a void is left, someone will fill it and they may be worse than the military. Just a thought.

  11. Bu Sultan says:

    Thank you Mahmoud for a very well-versed analysis.

    I have been following closely what is happening in Egypt. Although your analysis is well reasoned, what about the third possibility, that the whole fiasco is a set-up?

    That is, what the army says in terms that a tank was stolen and used against the demonstrators and that shooting came from unidentified third parties, while far fetched, can be true as well. As you know, there are a lot of forces that would love to see the Egyptian revolution fail and who would love to put a wedge between Egyptian and their armed forces, while igniting a sectarian war too.

    Far fetched, I know, and conspiratorial to boot. Yet not very hard to do for a well organized group or a well-connected government.

    My point is not cut the last thread with the army until facts are proven, one way or the other.

    Turki Al Homaidan
    A UAE citizen

  12. Well put, great analysis. You discounted few facts in my opinion, we do have a sectorial issues in Egypt that needs to be addressed from childhood in both Mosques and Churchies, may be we can put this on low priority for now as we need to resolve bigger issues related to the country direction for instance. But we need the a holistic recognition of this issue to give both muslims and christians the hope that this will be addressed later own.

    More importantly for now, we still missing leadership as a country, non of the presedential candidates nor the parties leaders managed to gain enough credibilty or support which continues to give the SCAF the upper hand. Unless we start agreeing with a majority level on a party or a candidate SCAF will continue doing whatever they are doing ignoring any and all pleads of reasoning.

    Unfortunatly I still believe we yet to see much more blood on the streets before we start moving in the right direction. And I do pray to be proven wrong!!!!

    May God bless Egypt and the Egyptians, grant us the power and wisdom to choose what is right for us.

  13. Well put, great analysis. You discounted few facts in my opinion, we do have a sectorial issues in Egypt that needs to be addressed from childhood in both Mosques and Churchies, may be we can put this on low priority for now as we need to resolve bigger issues related to the country direction for instance. But we need the a holistic recognition of this issue to give both muslims and christians the hope that this will be addressed later own.

    More importantly for now, we still missing leadership as a country, non of the presedential candidates nor the parties leaders managed to gain enough credibilty or support which continues to give the SCAF the upper hand. Unless we start agreeing with a majority level on a party or a candidate SCAF will continue doing whatever they are doing ignoring any and all pleads of reasoning.

    Unfortunatly I still believe we are yet to see much more blood on the streets before we start moving in the right direction. And I do pray to be proven wrong!!!!

    May God bless Egypt and the Egyptians, grant us the power and wisdom to choose what is right for us.

  14. Hassan Afifi says:

    Well done! Although I don’t always agree with all your views, but I totally agree with the solution you’re proposing. But, unfortunately, we lack leadership, both religious and social. We need to find these leaders quite soon before things get worse.

    The tens of random parties that have been created have to actually focus their efforts to actually try and improve the political scene rather than concentrating on telling everyone how the “others” are wrong. There needs to be a more cohesive message, and instead of always having this “mine is bigger than yours” attitude, these parties have to listen to each other and agree that the goals are all the same, but the differences are in certain ideas on how to reach those goals. They have to start to be more flexible amongst each other in order to start having true power to achieve “civilian” stability as quickly and as effectively as possible.

    One hand!

  15. Amazing piece of analysis, very true on most of it. Yet unforunately the Christian minority have been used and will continue to be used unless their issues are put to bed by giving them their rights once and for all.

    I have too lost faith in the army for good.. and suddenly my eyes are wide open and I see everything so clear. Yet I’m so scared of tomorrow and what the price will be until we get our freedom. And I truly wonder will we ever get there.. I hope.. I pray.. and I beg God that this happens very soon.

    Please continue to keep writing.. expressing.. and keep your voice high… we need everyone like you.

    • mena basta says:

      Mariam, that amazing piece of analysis, I totally agree with you, I admire your way of thinking, I’m scared of tomorrow and the price we will pay as well. I understand Egypt, I am worried because I lived there and I know what is like. Also, the things I saw and heard from family is upsetting and kind scare. God grant everyone the comfort there to get through all this.

  16. WISAM ELMAJED says:

    THIS IS FANTASTIC. THIS IS THE VOICE OF EGYPT THAT I LOVED ALL MY LIFE . I AM A MOSLEM,ARAB WITH PALESTINIAN,JORDANIAN,LEBANESE AND IRISH HERITAGE. YESTERDAY I WAS SAD AND DEPRESSED. TODAY I AM HOPEFUL. GOD BLESS EGYPT . GOD BLESS THE REVOLUTION.

  17. Thank you for this clear and exhaustive analysis.

  18. Laila ojjeh says:

    Thank you you gave me some hope for Egypt

  19. Brilliant ya sand monkey as usual, if you can translate a copy in Arabic, I can put it on SCaF s table. They have to read it slowly to understand it and realize how bad there situation is.

  20. The Kopts are suppressed because they are christians.
    Why do you neglect the rol of Islam.

    • Emma Yonas says:

      I am en Ethiopian Copt. The copts are a majority in Ethiopia. T(he first Muslims come to Ethiopia as refuges escaping persecution from the Arabia land. Ethiopia took the Muslims in and although we had a few problems though out the years, but not as bad as what Egypt has). It saddens me to see that Egyptians Muslim fanatics regularly burn Churches. You have never never seen Copts burning mosques in Ethiopia. It is really sad that we have fanatics in both regions but the fanatics in one side seem to be more violent.

  21. Thank u…..

  22. Great article. Thank you for your leadership. Keep up the great fight until True Democracy is restored in Egypt

  23. until you (Egyptian) will continue to say ” we” and “them” or “christian” and “Muslim”
    the change you are looking for will never happen!

  24. Arnie from NYC says:

    There’s an old Jewish saying (which I will alter slightly) that says when ‘non-Jewish party A’ fights with ‘non-Jewish party B’, inevitably they will rush to hang the Jews. For party A or B, you can insert what you want: monarchists, peasants, militarists, Copts, Sunni, Shia, etc. Since 1967, Egypt no longer has any Jews left. Now there is not even an Israeli embassy to burn down! The next step will be to blame the World Zionist conspiracy. I only hope it will not result in a suicidal mobilization for war in what becomes a sick self-defeating effort to bring unity to Egypt.

    • Emma Yonas says:

      You are here denouncing people for always blaming the Jews. Hmm, noticed that you are the only person bringing up the “blame the Jews” here?

  25. What our country really needs is a Great Leader like Gamal AbdelNasser.

    • You don’t need a leader like him. What you need is a society that respects diversity and human rights. When you have people like that, you’ll get a government like that. Until then your government will reflect the people. Don’t like what you see?

    • Indeed. Clearly what the Middle East needs is more Big Men. Worked so well, right?

  26. As brilliant as always, fantastic analysis.

  27. Thank you so much for another brilliant analysis. You give me hope that there are still many wise, moderate and humane Egyptian muslims. Reading the comments written by muslims responding to articles at various Egyptian newspapers is enough to make you feel sick, so it is good to have people like you to give balance. God bless you and bless Egypt.

  28. I read the article but, as always Sandmonkey, you have good insight mixed with a negative attitude about “Islamists.” What the heck do you mean by Islamists anyway? Someone who wants to apply Allah’s laws.. ummm like don’t you know that Muslims are suppose to follow the Quran and Sunnah and apply Islamic law? I just hate the lable. If you ask me, you are trying to make the practicing Muslims of this country the scary monsters in the closet. Practicing Muslims have alot in common with the Christians and that is being oppressed by the govt. We don’t need you lumpiing us with the army. We do have a right to practice our religion and that includes following sunnah… Why don’t you right an article about how hard life is for the women who want to wear niqab like the wives of the Prophet and the Sahabah. Of course you wouldn’t want to do that because the people who want to be religiously committed aren’t cool… you want to be westernized which for some reason means you can’t associate or support but must rather you feel you must fight by your every letter. Religiously committed Muslims would never burn down or destroy a church or even bother the praying people because that is what Allah has ordained. If they aren’t fighting you, then you leave them alone to live in peace. If you want to criticize the govt. go ahead and I agree with what you said about the army but stop just conveniently making unsubstantiated ties and discrediting political parties that have Islamic as their focus….They have a right to exist and without our lables and negative commentary

    • sorry for all of the typos…. I was passionately carried away.

    • Just speaking my mind says:

      Dear Umameer,

      Not all Islamists apply the law of Allah as they claim. Some are driven by power like any other religious institution. In the Quran it says that each person is born and judged on their own and not as a group. Each point made in following the the Sunnah can be interpreted differently by each person and this is why a lot people are against following the Islamic law; a simple man’s interpretation of what is wrong and right is not the same as a 3alem’s and the 3alem’s are not always right. They are just humans like you and me and you can never see truly a man’s devotion this is something that only God can know. All religions advocate goodness they are like a dictionary on how to live the best of lives. However, unfortunately no one can fully understand religion and no man is not driven by greed even without realizing it (each group wants to be the best, have the most power and influence). An Islamic law that is not based on spirituality but rather dictatorship and power is not really Islamic.
      “The scary Muslims” are not the ones that are practicing religions and truly believe in goodness but are the ones using it’s name to gain power like a lot of Islamic brotherhoods that have enough money and power to help the poor in certain regions of the Islamic world however, they only offer their help if you are part of their group or to be on their side. The Prophet would help anyone in need without waiting for something in return. How they are doing it I wouldn’t call help; if you are demanding for something in return which in this case is their lives for them to gain more power when they themselves are not putting themselves in the front lines.I agree that “Practicing Muslims have alot in common with the Christians and that is being oppressed by the govt.” and also we both along with others believe in God’s words which clearly states that Killing is wrong in all circumstances unless you are protecting yourself. One should be concerned with practicing his religion on his own and not by forcing others to practice the same way he does. It is your job as a muslim to spread the right words if asked but not forcing it.
      “Why don’t you right an article about how hard life is for the women who want to wear niqab like the wives of the Prophet and the Sahabah. Of course you wouldn’t want to do that because the people who want to be religiously committed aren’t cool… you want to be westernized which for some reason means you can’t associate or support but must rather you feel you must fight by your every letter. ” being veiled or not has nothing to do with being cool or westernized. Till the 90′s wearing a veil in Egypt was not very common. It is also even harder for women that are not veiled in this region. It is hard for women period but most radicals would say she’s the one that is not following God’s words so she deserves it which is completely biased. Women’s rights should be women’s rights regardless of the circumstances. That’s part of being a true Muslim not judging and controlling others that’s God’s responsibility
      “Religiously committed Muslims would never burn down or destroy a church or even bother the praying people because that is what Allah has ordained. If they aren’t fighting you, then you leave them alone to live in peace.” Sorry to say but not all religiously committed muslims understand Islam the right way and these are the people that are feared because they spread information to the simple minded people that is incorrect and unfortunately due to poor education these people believe them and follow whatever they say. This also applies to any of the other parties.
      “If you want to criticize the govt. go ahead and I agree with what you said about the army but stop just conveniently making unsubstantiated ties and discrediting political parties that have Islamic as their focus….They have a right to exist and without our lables and negative commentary” Sorry to say but till now the Islamic parties have shown radical approaches to their beliefs and are biased to some personal and external interests. The Quran is there for anyone who wants to read it and practice it no one is against that but I don’t need a man like me to tell me how to be a good muslim by force; no one after our prophet Mohammed was chosen to do so. The state and religion should be kept separate because if they’re not then religion will get corrupted by conflict of interests of the state. Nothing is more powerful than speaking in God’s name and that’s where the danger lies; when one speaks wrongly in God’s name and usually it’s without realizing he is doing so.

      • I disagree that Islam is up for personal interpretation. We have the Quran and it has its reliable tufsir… We have the sunnah and we have access to credible sites and books which list these hadith. Allah guides those who ask to be guided and then make the effort to learn their din. For sure there are those who pretend to be Muslim but are not…. those people are called the munafiqin but my problem is when Sandmonkey says “Islamists” because this term includes everyone who practices their Islam. Its an all incompassing term that makes people loathe those who look Islamically committed (bearded or in niqab, khimar, conservately dressed). They are villanized. You would have to walk a mile in my shoes to understand how often people like myself are looked at as if we are the source of every problem…. We already are unable to work in this country or be members of clubs, or attend weddings or other events in certain govt. establishments etc. I’ll accept all of that but don’t use all inclusive statements and make references to a group as being supporters of the army etc…. Jazak Allahul Khairan… BTW I am a naturalized Egyptian who immigrated here from the US and who has raised my seven children here… I know freedom and hoped I would find Islamic freedom here but the struggle continues on… and this rhetoric isn’t helping

        • Islamic freedom is an oxymoron. Islam is submission which is another word for bondage i.e. slave. Freedom means thinking for oneself and not being dictated by such as religion that what is right or wrong. People can submit themselves to slavery as being forced. I think you should really think about that.

        • In many places, the term “Islamist” is distinctly different from the term “Islamic,” which is the broad term that covers everything related to Islam.

          “Islamist” is used to mean those who support political Islam, who want to tell other people how to live.

          I agree that the distinction in the spelling is very slight, and therefore confusing.

        • “I disagree that Islam is up for personal interpretation.”

          Too bad.

          ” We have the Quran and it has its reliable tufsir… We have the sunnah and we have access to credible sites and books which list these hadith. ”

          Very nice. Good for you! A bit of a pity that so many Islamists think that the Sunnah and Hadith tell them they must impose indignities upon the Copts. Does this bother you or are you with them about this?

          “You would have to walk a mile in my shoes to understand how often people like myself are looked at as if we are the source of every problem…”

          Oh, how awful. Tell me, did a bunch of thugs beat you up so badly that you wound up in hospital? Did another bunch invade the hospital to beat you up some more?

          Maybe you should count yourself lucky and save your complaints for another day,

        • Umameer wrote

          >BTW I am a naturalized Egyptian who immigrated here from the US and who has raised my seven children here… I know freedom and hoped I would find Islamic freedom here but the struggle continues on… and this rhetoric isn’t helping

          I just do not believe you. You must pardon me your English is poor and why is that?

          As for islamic law or any so called religious law: such law is open to the interpretation of mere human beings like you or me and unless such human being has a direct line with Allah and he/she can consult with him on regular basis then there no such thing as religious law and it is all man made ideas. And i can assure you that i do not have a direct phone line with god. So do you have a direct phone line with God in-order to be able to interpret his laws niqab and all?

          As for the niqab it seems that umameer is not aware that some 90 years ago a great Egyptian woman by the name of Huda Sh3rawi stood in the center of today’s Midan el-Tahreer and removed her niqab and exposed her face and declared that Egyptian women should be free.

          Oh the niqab? It was imposed on Egyptian women not by the ulama but by the Turks that occupied Egypt for a long time

          But again I can forgive you that you did not know anything about Huda Sha3rawi after all you “immigrated” to Egypt from the US!

          PS: Mahmoud you do a very good job

  29. Thank you for a thougtful and shrewd analysis. I hope that the silent majority will make the same choice as the gangs on the street. Up to the pro-active to make the case.

  30. very nice ya monkey, truthful, inspiring, especially the closing paragraph.

  31. We´re monitoring the situation in Egypt very closely. Good luck to you, all Egypts, and the ones who have a hard time anyway anywhere in particular: the intellectuals.

  32. And what If you are wrong?
    What if the violence wasn’t a premeditated decision by the top brass of SCAF but instead a local decision made by the commanding officer at the scene?
    What if the “thugs” who joined in were nothing more than ordinary Egyptians and not pervious Mubarak regime thugs?
    I really would like to believe what you wrote, but I am just not convinced that what happend two nights ago wasn’t sectarian in nature. Maybe it’s just because I can’t comprehend how an egyptian, AN EGYPTIAN, soldier would take an APC and mow down a crowd of other egyptians time and time again, whatever his orders were. I can’t comprehend that, that is, unless he was motivated by hate.

  33. I don’t buy this reading of what happened, sorry. It seems that in the face of growing disillusion with the way the revolution is going, many commentators resort to ‘Folk-devils, in this case the military, to explain away painful truths and facts about the situation on the ground. It is no doubt easier and reassuring on focus on one figure or group than to account for the complexity of Egypt’ past and present.

  34. “Our political and social leaders need to sit down with SCAF and deliver the following message to them…”

    Haven’t they been doing that for the past month? They are all sick of SCAF already!

    The way I see it, SCAF is complacent in everything that happened.
    A church gets attacked and destroyed, a christian man gets his ears cut off, and all SCAF does is send someone to “mediate” between the aggressors and the victims! What happened to Law and Order? What happened to the Military trials and the tough stance towards agitators and thugs?

    Its very clear what SCAF is doing! They are getting tough on protesters, but letting criminals off easy!

    Its so transparent that a 5 year old can see it! Their biggest problem now is Private & International News channels, they are having trouble keeping them under a leash, not that they haven’t been trying! And we will only see more and more censorship in the days to come!

    There has to be a very clear and tough boycott of State run media! They are the Old Regime’s PR arm!

  35. Egypt need serious help, or it will come back to us

  36. GREAT!!

  37. What really has to be clearly exposed is how Al-ahram/ahram online are peddling the SCAF fictions about what happened

  38. you won’t have to worry about it much longer

    “The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations calculated last month that more than 90,000 Christians have fled the country since March 2011. At that rate, estimated human-rights advocate Naguib Gabriel, one-third of Egypt’s Coptic population will have vanished within a decade.”

    • Once all the minorities leave then the muslims can go ahead and kill each other. This is what happens when ideologies that don’t respect and protect individuals take over. I’m sorry but I see this getting a lot worse than it is now. Unfortunately, the middle east is a society based on irrational thought and as such turns to irrational action. With so much hate you can never be a functioning society.

  39. As much as I enjoy reading your blogs, and as much as I want to believe that what you are saying is accurate, I am afraid in this case it is not. The Egyptian people are too enamored by the army and can never see them doing anything that would hurt the population. Everyone is gonna gobble up the lies that SCAF have presented in their latest press conference.

  40. Since I’m not from Egypt, your article gave me a lot of needed insight beyond the typical headlines. Thanks for that.

    Also, I like your positive stance in such a sad moment. Keep it up.

  41. Thanks for the interesting read. When you talk about the ‘internal’ consequences, don’t you think there already is a split down the middle in the army, which doesn’t have to do with religion? I don’t see the army as one at all. I see a bunch of old fuddy duddies sitting as a council and another bunch of younger officers more eager to get them out than the Egyptians themselves and that scares me because I don’t know what those younger officers think like. I know more how SCAF thinks and SCAF wanted mubarak out more than ‘joining’ the people of Tahrir; those are two different things. But new officers… Are they Nasserites… are they MB?…do they promote war with Israel? Who knows? Chances of any army personel being ‘democratic’ are highly unlikely. Despite SCAF crap, I really can’t say if other segments of the army are more dangerous or not. Even though the army is a ‘nation within a nation’ I got a feeling I’ll just wake up one day and find a military coup. Anyway, that’s just my humble 2 cents worth from a Muslim/Egyptian. Thanks again for the read.

  42. Mike Martin says:

    Thanks!

  43. Giggles Macshaheedmaker says:

    musing of a beardo

    I’ve a holy beard and sacredly pious short pants
    no sex standing up for might lead to mingled dance
    on allah’s divine rant, I assume a proper stance

    On my pious short pants and holy beard I savagely do swear
    though half or a quarter, on woman Allah is true absolute fair
    my holy pants shorter swell at though of her pert perfect pair

    By beard and holy pants verily Allah’s will is to me known
    must find some hellbound woman to agonizing death stone
    and a beardless boy to give to my stiff swollen bone

    because by word, pants, and beard I know Allah’s will
    much better than you, you are garbage we use as fill
    you are feritizer for the earth we will inherit and till

    • Thanks for proving the point. Islamist versus Islamic. No more needs be said.

    • Sarasmilealways says:

      Many apologies, but just couldn’t understand you. Is that Arabic translated into Google English??

    • cyberstorm says:

      You know, if I didn’t know better – I would think you were trying to be funny.

      What came out was really strange.

  44. I find it alarming that people are signing with their religion/nationality! isn’t this just a sign of how divided we are? or how we were forced to think within a specific mind set.. If Mona felt compelled to identify her religion as part of her identity to clarify her stance, I wonder how we will fare in 2 month from now?
    I suggest Egyptians read on civil war in Lebanon and how there are no winners and losers in a civil war.. just losers. And in the case of Egypt, we might even run the risk of losing our land too. I am far from home but I am deeply disturbed by the way people feel compelled to align themselves with Army stance or Copts’ right. How about right and wrong? or are we past that?

  45. we need a guillotine ..for the scaf and the salafis

  46. Sarasmilealways says:

    SCAF doesn’t look to the revolution, the activists and the educated for support. It couldn’t care less about the likes of us — hence its apparent U-turns on decisions are generally vocal but on the ground when we think we’ve “won”, it adds and subtracts articles in laws and policies according to what suits it. SCAF’s mass support comes from the governorates, the aqaleem same as ex-NDP, where widespread satellite tv stations and internet are not the norm. Why did Tantawi tour el-Minya and Fayoum after reinstating emergency laws till 2012? He “broke” his silence there about the performance of SCAF and the necessity of being heavy-handed. He looks quite the gentleman, ghalban, when speaking and so appeals to those masses. If THEY turn round and say we’re not happy with SCAF, then I see your scenario unfolding and a sit-down with them being productive. SCAF doesn’t want to leave power, even if it’s a divided country as long as the masses are behind it. We need to present both sides to them — not the one-sided state media. Only then can we see true results. In the meantime, it’s optimism and work as usual for me/us.

  47. cyberstorm says:

    Question: every time there is some extreme response by a group or individuals – is it always those who are usually that extreme to blame? Are there not people who get excited at these functions who would react easily to confrontation? It would be almost normal response for those who feel compelled to react in this way, and even a few who may get “pumped” up for a confrontation – who then actually start one.

    Taking stock in how people respond in a large crowd under these conditions is often part of preventing it. SCAF most assuredly knew how this would play out because of that. So, if protesting and having rallies and sit ins are a common thing, perhaps careful planning with knowing who is taking part where is a good organizational plan for the future. You then know who is who, and who is not part of the peaceful movement. Good plan for seeing who is purposely disrupting things on purpose as well (outside of SCAF). It also makes those who are part of a planned event more accountable. Can’t do it this way all the time, but being this organized is like planning a battle. SCAF won’t expect it.

  48. Giggles Macshaheedmaker says:

    Bearded howl

    The filthy jew and you christian scum
    refuse the Prophet so beyond dumb
    for you not a morsel or even a crumb

    To christian scum, and you filthy jew
    you are ever wrong, even when True
    You a decrepit and old, we are new

    Allah the greatest deciever says our Book
    and Proudful in demeanor, gaze and look
    Souls bought and paid for in a foulled souk

    We will drive you from the Nile’s Lands
    We will send you to flight from Our sands
    We have sword and Book in our decieved Hands

    • The best of the Muslim scholars say something very different.

      http://www.acommonword.com/

      Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.

      The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.

      • Giggles Macshaheedmaker says:

        Valerie dear your are deluded by wishfull thinking and deceptive practicioners of islam, look to the realities on the ground, ie. the demographic destruction of the jewish populations of muslim dominated countries and the same genocide being experienced by the christian populations of the middle east now. The Cleansing of the indigenous hindu populations of pakistan and bangladesh, the genocide of Pontic Greeks and Armenians, both christian populations, in anitolia.
        The words of muslims and their actions rarely agree, therefore muslims are never to be trusted. Baseline prudence. Where in islam is is preached “love thy neighbour? foolish woman

        • No, I recognize a powerful tool when it is placed in my hands, and I know how to use it.

          Sometimes it functions as a cr@p detector.

  49. 3, the ideal of a father: I want three children, were named the Ctrl, Alt and Delete, if they do not listen, I knock them about as long as both will be good … …

  50. Giggles Macshaheedmaker says:

    Your crap detector is broken, better foulled with the detritis of unrealistic dreaming.
    Your mindset is similar to those who would have negoiated with the German fascists, It is utterly divorced from real world. Ignore the crimes and atrocities of muslim populations sanctionjed and mandated by islamic orthodoxies. an anybody say abrogation as in

    “If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Noble Quran, 5:28)” or handwringer fav

    “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)”

    are “abrogated” overruled and replaced by the nasty cut off limbs, kill the fucking kafir verses like the old sword verse.

    If you are some well-meaning westerner, do you have any concept of your own hubris? Not everyone believes or thinks as you do, The islamic world is a civilization in it’s own right with it’s own drives and motivations, it’s own paradigms and will to acendancy. An example, the UN universal declaration of human rights vs the The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, the un document apparently isn’t that Universal.

    If you are muslim grifter, to late the cat’s out of the bag regarding muslim doctrines, and those in the west who shield you are in retreat. Apparently getting smacked in the face by reality is a bitch.

    • Go back. Read the link I supplied. Find out who signed that document. Be sure to re-read the Pope’s Regensberg address. And while you are studying, you can read the Hamas Covenant. Poke around here, a bit.

  51. If you want to buy a car, you will have to receive the loan. Furthermore, my sister all the time uses a auto loan, which occurs to be really rapid.

  52. Snivaljihad says:

    Revolution? Many historical revolutions turn to nothing but ruin.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/284773/egypt-s-descent-mark-steyn

  53. Monkey…

    Have not commented in a LONG time. But I remember telling you I felt Egypt was going to be the next Iran. I said that probably two years ago. The liberal youth could not unite or get their message across. Now it looks like the religious extremists are going to have a strong hold on the country. You have gone from the frying pan into the fire.

  54. Yup…let an Egyptian say it better than I can:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/12/05/liberal-youth-behind-revolution-decimated-in-free-egyptian-elections/

    Iran revisited…the hope, the great lie, the deception and then the disaster.

    • Schnellinger says:

      Howie, if you consume this propaganda medium that FOX is, you would never understand anything in MENA and the rest of the world also.
      Grew up, use brain

  55. Schnell..

    Did you notice that the propaganda was written by a well-known Egyptian…possible presidential candidate that is very worried about what is happening with the support for Muslim extremists?

    Nothing changes on these blogs…if you don’t have a point…insult…right Schnell?

  56. It appears that the Islamicist parties are winning. Christians will continue to be persecuted, when have they not been persecuted? They will revolt or leave. Egypt is on its way to becoming an Islamicist state. Tourism will die. Right now I wouldn’t go there if the trip was free. It really is amazing. In the Arab spring they claimed they wanted democracy, but in the elections they choose dictatorship. This will also redound against Muslims in the West. How can they demand rights that they refuse to give to others? It will increase the mistrust. How can the Egyptians not understand this?

  57. De video was ook “begeleid door een eis dat de Amerikaanse release gevangenen, maar functionarissen zeiden dat de Verenigde Staten is niet iedereen het afstemmen van de namen op de lijst houden,” Goldman en Apuzzo schreef. Echter, ambtenaren vertelde de AP is het mogelijk de mannen al eens in handen van de Pakistaanse regering.
    Kort na de aankondiging van Clinton in maart, “de Levinson familie een serie foto’s van Levinson gekleed in een oranje overall gevangenis zoals die gedragen door gevangenen op de Amerikaanse militaire gevangenis in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ontving,” de AP onderzoek gemeld. “In elke foto, droeg hij een ander bord hing om zijn nek. Een te lezen, ‘Waarom je me niet kan helpen.” “