“The killing of more than 600 people in Egypt this week has prompted international condemnation and alarm, but the military-backed government in Cairo appears to be enjoying widespread domestic support for its bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood,” the UK Guardian’s Ian Black and Patrick Kingsley report from Cairo:
Egyptian officials and liberals blame the western media for one-sided reporting, while ignoring their own government’s deficiencies in explaining and justifying the actions of the security forces. There is also anger at what is seen as a credulous approach to the Brotherhood, especially by the US and Britain. …..Analysts cite growing hostility to the Brotherhood since the 2011 revolution and especially over the year of Morsi’s rule.
“I would estimate that 80% of Egyptians are completely disillusioned with Islamism as represented by the Brotherhood and want to see it uprooted from political life,” said Hazem Kandil, an Egyptian political sociologist at Cambridge University. “Some support the army while being suspicious of where things are heading. Some are calling for Sisi to take power.”
“I have never seen Egyptians so angry with the West,” he said. “They feel it is blowing the horn for the Brotherhood. People are becoming anti-Western and pro-military at a dizzying pace.”
“First the diplomats got Stockholm syndrome and now it’s the media,” quipped veteran democracy activist Hisham Kassem.
“We agree with what happened at Rabaa and at Nahda,” said Mohamed Khamis, a spokesman for the Tamarod (Rebellion) campaign, which mobilized public opinion against the democratically-elected but deeply unpopular Morsi. “We don’t like what the Brotherhood did.”
“What happened was tragic. It’s one of the traumas of the nation,” said Kassem (left). “However, Egyptians want to get back to normal life. They feel that the state was quite patient with the people in the sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahda and used up all options before resorting to violence, and were very cooperative yesterday when a curfew was called on the hopes that this will help the state put all of this behind them.”
“Even those like me who have a clear position and say we are facing a terrorist entity can’t help but feel sorry for all those victims,” the liberal commentator said.
He is indignant about Western calls for the withdrawal of assistance and similar sanctions.
“After 30 years of supporting Mubarak, the transatlantic community now says its interests clash with its values,” he told CBC radio. Sanctions at this time would be “very costly,” he said, suggesting that Western commentators did not understand the nature of the Brotherhood which, he said, threatened to “burn Egypt” if it failed to win the presidential election.
The interim government in Cairo also criticized President Barack Obama’s comments “deploring” the crackdown.
Obama’s remarks “would strengthen the violent armed groups and encourage them in their methods inimical to stability and the democratic transition,” said a statement by the office of the interim president, Adli Mansour.
The Cairo government accused the Obama administration of failing to understand the “terrorist acts” Egypt is facing, including Islamist attacks on the country’s Christian minority:
“On Thursday, Egyptian Islamists continued to lash out across the country,” the New York Times reports:
In the latest in a string of attacks on Coptic Christian churches and businesses, at least one more church was set on fire, in Fayoum. In Cairo, some Islamists contended that the Coptic pope, Tawadros II, had appeared to endorse the crackdown, and they portrayed attacks on churches around the country as a counterattack.
Other observers expressed credulity at Western sympathy for an organization with its roots in the fascist movements of the twentieth century and which remains steeped in anti-Semitism and illiberalism.
“Egyptians are a Mediterranean people. They can’t live like they do in Saudi Arabia. People believed that the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t believe in the country, but in an ideology. [By acting on Wednesday] the army and the police saved Egypt from a civil war.”
Brotherhood ‘tried to re-create authoritarianism’
Brotherhood supporters are demanding Morsi’s reinstatement and accuse the army and the civilian government it installed of seeking to return to the dictatorial style of Hosni Mubarak, The Brotherhood’s opponents make the same accusation against it. the Guardian’s Black and Kingsley report.
“Egyptians have not been dehumanized,” insisted the veteran left-wing journalist Hani Shukrullah. “But they do want this battle over. They want to get on with their lives. The intensity of hatred of the Brotherhood’s rule was really unprecedented, more even than against the Mubarak regime, precisely because you had an attempt to re-create an authoritarian system.”
Publisher and activist Kassem says “there is no doubt that Egypt is on its way to becoming a democracy.”
“There will be setbacks – this is one,” he said. But previously apathetic Egyptians have now deposed two governments within three years, without waiting for the leadership of intellectuals or any other elites.
That, he said, is Egypt’s “best guarantee” against the restoration of authoritarian rule.