Mohammad Salah
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

It is not difficult to explain what happened with the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Indeed, despite it being unanimously recognized as unlawful action contrary to Egyptian and international law, as well as to all conventions, and despite the fact that all Egyptian political forces have rejected the attack on the embassy, as well as of course the confrontations with security personnel that followed, we must understand that there is in Egypt a major social issue called “vengeance”, for which the search to find a solution never stops, and which is well entrenched especially in Upper Egypt. Despite the fact that the law punishes those who commit crimes of vengeance and does not excuse them, even if their father or brother was killed by those against whom vengeance was exacted, incidents of vengeance never stop, but are in fact often publicized by those who commit them, who can only rest after having made sure that everyone knows they have exacted their vengeance. It is therefore of no use to direct political or media discourse at those who stormed the embassy that would point out that what they did brings harm to Egypt. Indeed, they do not concern themselves with logic when they feel that they are owed “vengeance”. It is true that they will be punished, but what matters is for the blame to fall on those who did not take measures to diminish their desire for revenge, since Egyptian soldiers and officers were killed at the border.

On the whole, there is nothing new in talking about the mistakes committed in managing the transitional period in Egypt. Indeed, television shows and other media, in addition to social media websites, have not stopped talking about it… whether “for God’s sake” and the sake of the country or for “interests-related” reasons. It is quite natural for some forces, parties and personalities to leap onto the Egyptian Revolution and “ride” its wave, to then direct it towards different paths far away from the goals that had been set by the revolutionaries, which they had sacrificed for and sought to achieve, and which had become linked to the slogans of the revolution and the chants of the revolutionaries. It is also logical for all the forces that had sponsored and taken part in the “Friday of Correcting the Course” to wash their hands of the violent incidents that accompanied it, starting from the assault against Interior Ministry headquarters and the attempt to storm it, through the offensive chants that included insults by some protesters, and up to the blood-spattered events that took place at the Israeli embassy and the consequences they produced. Indeed, all of those forces always assert the peaceful nature of the Revolution, and stress the fact that the revolutionaries have only their insistence on moving forward with the Revolution until all of its goals are achieved through peaceful means. Indeed, there is the awareness that Mubarak left power without the revolutionaries firing a single bullet or throwing a single Molotov cocktail, and that the crowd in Tahrir Square and other Egyptian public squares was sure to shake the foundation and topple a ruler who had remained in his seat for more than thirty years, after he and the leaders of his regime came to believe that power would remain theirs forever, and would pass on to their sons and grandsons after them. Thus, “undermining” or subverting the Revolution takes on many different forms, which could include duping the Revolution and the revolutionaries, outbidding it and them, or using it to move the masses and the crowds in directions opposed to the Revolution and its goals. And if groups, coalitions, political parties, personalities and media outlets do not stop pointing out the mistakes committed by the Military Council and the executive apparatus, including the police, usually laying the blame on them for their delay in either achieving the goals of the Revolution or restoring stability to the country, they are confronted with statements or insinuations that always hold those who call for “million man marches” responsible for obstructing the path of the Revolution or for causing further unrest. It seems clear that both sides have resolved not to recognize their own mistakes, and to each move forward on their way as if they had done everything right.

The Military Council, ever since Mubarak stepped down from power, has never spoken of having made a mistake, nor have the revolutionaries from across the political spectrum ever acknowledged that a certain call had been unsound or a certain behavior inappropriate. Regarding the media, which became divided between those who defend the behavior of the military and of the government and those who have ridden the wave of the Revolution, with very few exceptions, those in charge of it believe that they are winning as long as there is “work” and events that can be exploited to fill more hours of broadcasting. And since the revolutionaries are concerned about conspiracies being weaved to stifle the Revolution or bring harm to it, it is not enough to point to parties that seek to achieve such an objective, as their duty dictates that the revolutionaries should abstain from entering into side battles that are of no use. Moreover, it is strange that they would accept to be associated with football fans, thus bringing upon themselves and upon the Revolution the burden of unethical behavior which most people reject, and associating the discourse of the Revolution with certain terms and insults, and with offensive and revolting chants, even if they are directed at those whom the Revolution arose to topple. The revolutionaries may disagree over how to build Egypt in the future, over articles of the next constitution and over the electoral law. They could also disagree over whether they want an Islamic or a secular state. Yet what is certain is that neither the revolutionaries nor the rest of the Egyptian people seek after a secular republic with a…“football” frame of reference.


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