Friday, August 16, 2013

Letters from Egypt: Crying for Egypt

An Ikhwan defacing Saint Fatima Church Source: Animal New York

Friday prayer has ended and the anticipation continues to mount with everyone wondering what’s going to be on fire next.

Prior to the prayer, I got out and about to get some last minute supplies. I went to Rd 9 (the expat shopping haven in Maadi) to get some coffee. Next thing I know, everyone starts abruptly leaving as shop and café owners remove patrons from the outside seating. I asked my regular coffee shop what was going on and they said that people were expected to march down Rd 9 from the mosque at the El Maadi metro station (which has always been known to be a staunch Muslim Brotherhood-aligned place). Shop owners all gathered in front of their buildings after securing their property, ready for action as everyone dispersed to return home or somewhere less-likely to have an uproar.

For certain, stay clear of Road 9 and the Al Arab area (about a five minute walk from the Maadi Grand Mall; a medan where most microbus exchanges happen). Other places that have been rumored to have protests (note the keyword: rumored) are Road 77 near Medan Swaris, Riyan mosque and one other mosque that I can't recall at this time all alleged to converge on Medan Horreya.

I want to take a moment to share this article that someone sent me yesterday, “This is what it looks like just before the Muslim Brotherhood jumps you”. The Ikhwan only want international attention on how they have been wronged and serve to plant photos and images to prove just that. They want everyone to think that they are the victims. I want everyone to remember that there was a reason that they were forced underground for so long. I want everyone to know that even Gulf countries (sans Qatar) are not in support of a MB-led regime. That’s right, the Muslim Brotherhood is banned in the UAE and even home of Mecca itself, Saudi Arabia.  

Aymann Ismail detailed his experience in Animal New York, and it is one of the most accurate accounts of what is really happening throughout Egypt. I have to say that I was even a little on edge reading his article wondering if he and I were in the same place on Saturday, August 10. I’m certain had that been me, my outcome would have been far worse than Ismail’s horrific account.

This article discusses how he was first welcomed to take photos, everyone rejoicing that he was snapping them doing something peaceful. However, when he came across something that was not so peaceful, how quickly the crowd turned. As he details getting his camera taken and the amazing feat that he was even remotely able to get it back with photos still intact (thanks Aymann for sharing all of these pictures), it begs to question just how many other people were doing the same, but caught a glimpse of something not-so-pleasing to the MB smoke and mirror campaign and had their cameras stolen and/or all data erased.

Instead the news is being bombarded with the MB spokeswoman that continues to evade questions while repeating the same lines. Did you ever think that the reason there is a woman representing the MB for international media interviews is because they are trying to pretend that they are an equal-opportunity organization instead of the Islamist political dictatorship that refuses to recognize other groups? The Anti-Coup Movement, also affiliated with the MB, carries the same: a female spokesperson.

In addition, when media outlets report the sit-in at Rabaa el Adwaya mosque, it makes it sound like these people are sitting inside praying. Again, read my blog from my Saturday experience, “Don’t Leave Home”. Exercising your right to hold a peaceful demonstration is one thing. The protests have been ongoing for six weeks. When is it legally right in the eyes of the US and others that seem to think they know what’s best for a country to say, “Alright kids, let’s pack it up and move it. You’ve obstructed traffic enough. We heard you, but we’re not going to change it. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

And yet all the while governments continue condemning Egypt’s interim government and military for taking action against the protestors, including the world’s most defunct organization, the UN. For the Americans, I can come up with a simple analogy. I-10 near a large city like Los Angeles or *insert major roadway here* has been blocked by protestors which includes a carnival set up in the middle of the street resulting in complete blockage. The police enter the scene to disperse the crowd because it is an obstruction which could cause security issues as drivers began to show agitation at the hassle and fights ensue. All of the sudden, a protestor opens fire (and I’m even being kind by making that singular as we all know that it was more than one Ikhwan that opened fire on security forces). In the US, the police have the right to return fire.

So tell me again why Egypt is being condemned for their actions when the interim government has made several attempts to hold peace talks with the MB?

In any case, this is not the Egypt that I want represented to my friends and family. I can’t stress enough how not every Muslim is a supporter of the Ikhwan. I can’t stress enough that in the article from Aymann Ismail, should you choose to click it, he highlights another Muslim walking up to the vandal saying that it wasn’t right to defame a church, “That’s against Islam.” Egypt is different in the sense that it is secular. There are always signs of the crescent moon representing Islam cradling a cross. Don’t be fooled by the media reports that the MB have taken such care to get out to everyone, but also know that not everyone Muslim is bad. That includes even some MB supporters, like my dentist and the man trying to stop the church vandal.

For those of you that live here, have lived here or even those that have been able to visit pre-revolution: if your heart isn’t crying for Egypt right now, it should be.

Source: FB صورة رسمتها احدى البنات فى الصعيد

1 comment:

  1. Breaks my heart. Such a beautiful and majestic country, riddled with conflict. Praying things get better for Egypt.