Friday, August 16, 2013

Massacre in Egypt

EGYPT is sliding into a bloody civil war in which the only outcome could be death and suffering for ordinary people, and misery whichever side wins.  According to official figures at least 600 people were killed on Wednesday when the Army opened fire on a Muslim Brotherhood-led protest against the military takeover of the country.

The Brotherhood says the true figure is over 2,000 dead. 

Egypt's ambassador to the UN claimed on BBC News Night that the armed forces were not using live ammunition! But the government has authorised the use of live ammunition today, in defence of government buildings and forces.

US Senator John Kerry has deplored the "violence", and Obama himself has urged restraint on both sides. Maybe the Egyptian military had been paying more attention to the advice in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal recently that Egypt needed another Pinochet.

US joint manoeuvres with the Egyptian forces have been cancelled, but not yet aid and arms supplies. The EU too has reacted, and so has the UN. But not with anything like the response which NATO countries gave to repression and conflict in Libya or Syria.   

There have been attacks and arson, presumably the work of Islamicists, against not only government buildings but Christian churches. But as to the claims that Morsi supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood were responsible for initiating the bloodshed on Wednesday, this is not accepted by objective or foreign reporters. The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv is hardly likely to sympathise with the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly when the Egyptian military appears to be turning its peace with Israel into a de facto alliance against the Palestinians. But its correspondent Nadav Eliav wrote yesterday (15 August 2013 7.04am):

"The Egyptian army rushed yesterday (Wednesday) to make available dimmed images of some individuals, allegedly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, firing weapons during the riots. The photos looked a bit suspicious, the weapons in them reminded some observers of obsolete carbines. What happened yesterday in Cairo was not a battle, but a bloodbath, something a lot closer to massacre than a struggle between two armed sides.

"Yesterday the Egyptian army carried out its own Hama massacre, albeit on a much smaller scale than that carried out in Syria by Bashar Assad's father, Hafez, about 30 years ago. Then and now, the purpose of the massacre was a deterrent, creating a balance of terror and making it clear to the Muslim Brotherhood who is the undisputed ruler. "

Here is a statement by the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt, published today in Socialist Worker:
The bloody dissolution of the sit-ins in Al-Nahda Square and Raba'a al-Adawiyya is nothing but a massacre—prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But, it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime. The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of 30 June. Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Mursi to power. But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers' strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors—largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and military generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi's government. It has adopted a road-map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian revolution, which are freedom, dignity and social justice. This is the context for the brutal massacre which the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor, or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror. However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches, is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak's state and Al-Sisi are complicit, who have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches. We stand firmly against Al-Sisi's massacres, and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today's massacre is the first step in the road towards counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt's Christians and against the sectarian campaign which only serves the interests of Al-Sisi and his bloody project. Many who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in Al-Sisi's government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands. We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood: those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Mursi's regime, and those who fall now confronting Al-Sisi and his dogs. Down with military rule! No the return of the old regime! No to the return of the Brotherhood! All power and wealth to the people

The Revolutionary Socialists 14 August 2013 Article information News Wed 14 Aug 2013, 16:19 BST Issue No. 2366

The Muslim Brotherhood has today called a Day of Anger against the government and the army. There are fears that Egypt could go through the kind of horrors Algeria underwent in the war between military and Islamists.

The Egyptian working class would suffer the most in such a war and has least to gain from the victory of either the Brotherhood or the Military. The workers' movement has the difficult task of uniting people under conditions of repression, terror and vengeance. We can only voice our solidarity and hope its courage and vision of a happier future is successful against these odds. 

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