A massacre in the morning!
The military decision on August 14 2013 to brutally clear the anti-military and pro-Morsi forces from their peaceful demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere has finally ended the charade of progress to democracy in Egypt. The brutal actions of snipers and other state armed men killing un-armed men women and children has also exploded the myth of the military machine being a defender and a champion of the Egyptian ‘people’. The exact number of injuries and deaths will probably never be known, but what is known is that men in control of states who conduct terror against their own citizens find it absolutely necessary to hide the true facts and under estimate the exact numbers.
We also know that those effected by such brutal attacks may tend to over-estimate the numbers assassinated by the state armed bodies of men. So the government figure of over 600 will undoubtedly be far too low, whilst the pro-Morso figures of many thousands killed may be somewhat exaggerated. However, a true figure of probably well over a thousand, together with the horrific means chosen to execute these peaceful demonstrators, amount to an enormous catalogue of domestically committed war crimes. For this reason, there can be no peace and no justice in Egypt – even in a bourgeois sense – whilst the military elite are able perpetrate such large-scale nihilistic outrages against their own civilian population.
Of course we know how this outcome was justified to the troops and the general ‘public’ before ‘operation innocent slaughter’ or whatever innocuous term was chosen to designate this vicious and despicable action. Using the states PR agents, and pro-capitalist elements such as private media outlets, time and resources were used to mis-label and demonise the majority of protestors. A negative stereotype was steadily manufactured during the lead up to the military incursion, by which it became possible both before and after the slaughter to ‘blame the victims’. We know from experience how it was done.
Blaming the victims.
A link between sectarian Islamic terrorism and the ordinary Muslim Brotherhood members, was made and the presence of non-Islamic anti-coup protestors at the various camps was ignored. This way the protest against the previous military coup overthrowing an elected but unpopular government, was transformed into a threat to national security. Also in this way the peaceful protestors, men, women and children, were transformed into terrorists and disrupters of peace and constitutional governance by those who had overthrown a constitutionally elected government .
Then either before, during and after this process, they undoubtedly planted weapons, inserted agent provocateurs among the opposition, created false-flag operations (committing atrocities dressed as Morsi supporters) they moved in to clear the sit-ins with as much lethal force as was necessary to terrorise them into fleeing – in the almost certain knowledge that these non-armed victims will in actual fact continue to be blamed as the perpetrators.
We know this is the most likely process because it is the way all modern states operate and we know that the Egyptian state forces have operated in that way before. Blaming the victim is the way all elites create a climate of support for, or indifference toward, those they choose as their targets for inhuman treatment. And this process was made easier because there are some Muslim extremists in Egypt as elsewhere, who are sectarian terrorists who commit atrocities and wish to introduce oppressive Islamic law.
However, the majority of pro-Morsi and anti-military forces camped out in the various sit-ins were not Islamic extremists, but peaceful defenders of bourgeois democracy. Yet it was these who were brutally targeted. The lessons this outrage will teach the Egyptian people cannot not fail to be drawn. They have now been drawn in blood – again! Bourgeois democracy is a sham! Unless it produces the results the elites in power wish for themselves, it will be destroyed mercilessly. Food, justice and dignity can never be achieved in Egypt or elsewhere by the means of bourgeois elections and parliaments. The military machine controlled by the Egyptian elite is their tool of terror, as it is elsewhere, to be used against the economic and social aspirations of the citizens of Egypt, but it is also a tool with strong links to the USA.
The military machine.
The military machine in Egypt has a long history of political and economic involvement within Egypt and the Middle East. All the previous unelected leaders of Egypt during the 20th century have been from the military and many senior governmental figures are from a military background. The military have been the backbone of the Egyptian state and remain so. It should be understood that for many years, the Egyptian military elite has been trained and its armaments supplied by the United States of America.
For decades, the Egyptian military have been in receipt of billions of dollars of advanced armaments yearly from the USA government. However, that is not the only aspect of close relationship between with the upper echelons of the military and the north American elite. For decades the upper echelons of the Egyptian military have been graduates of the American military colleges and training courses. During their military training they have made close reciprocal relationships with the military elite in the USA. They will have been taught ‘black-ops’ tactics as well as crowd control by the US military ‘experts’.
However, the Egyptian Governmental elite in general receive substantial ‘aid’ from Saudi Arabia and other gulf state sources. The military elite cannot fail to be beneficiaries of much of this inward ‘investment’. In this way the military in Egypt has military, social, economic and financial strings to a variety of other external actors. All of whom in one way or another will be securing their hold on these strings if not exactly tugging firmly upon them. When politicians in other countries, such as the USA and other countries feign neutrality and distance from the events in Egypt, that is of course just the usual political spin. All these external players have provided, training, equipment, intelligence, tactics, perspectives and opinions.
The weakness in the military machine is at the same time its strength. This strength and weakness lies in its rank and file base. Rank and file soldiers are essentially working class citizens recruited on the basis of offering secure employment for the defence of the ’nation’. However, they are low-paid workers who are treated badly and forced to do all the dirty work of the military elite. Many, if not most of the rank and file soldiers, despite the demonising of the ‘victims’ will not be proud of their days work on 14 August 2013 – a day of infamy! Nor will they be happy that the communities from which they are drawn and the general population over the next weeks, will view them as neo-fascists and consider them the enemy within Egypt, rather than the champions of their communities.
The immediate implications.
The situation now has reached an impasse. The States armed men must defeat the street or the street must defeat the states armed men. If the Egyptian people allow the military elite to split the population and win, the state of emergency will be upheld and extended and any protest by whoever, will be violently put down. In addition many thousands will be imprisoned, tortured and murdered. If possible the military elite after a period of time, will put forward a figurehead to take part in future biased elections.
The military elite know that if they lose this struggle now many of them will be put on trial for crimes against humanity and crimes against a constitutional government and elected officials. For this reason the military leaders will do all they can to divide and rule the Egyptian people and they will press on regardless urging the police and special troops on to further atrocities. The crimes of the militarised crack-down should be used to cause splits in the military ranks themselves. A truth and honesty inquiry covering the events, should be proposed along with support and an amnesty offered to those soldiers refusing to continue this internecine destruction.
Yet after the many deaths by sniper fire and massacres by other weapons, there can be no early forgiveness by those effected and there can be nothing but outraged condemnations by all humane thinking people. There is now no chance of reconciliation between a substantial section of the Egyptian people and the military elite and its supporters. This means that for the immediate future there is now no possibility of peaceful resolution or development within Egypt. It is now war – a civil war – between the people and the state.
The implications are clear. The situation will continue to deteriorate fuelled by anger and desperation against the economic conditions and now by the outrage at the recent atrocities. There are now only two possibilities. The first is a descent into a debilitating and unequal sectarian civil war in which, like Syria, the population will be split into those against the present state and those for it. The second is that the anti-military secularists and the Muslim Brotherhood will both meet this challenge by making serious and sustained overtures to each other. The Egyptian people – as a whole – need to subvert, resist and overcome the imposition of this naked military rule.
First in the form of a defensive pact and calling for mass civil disobedience and subversion – a regular Intifada a ‘shaking off’ of this internal occupation. Next, if the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters can abandon their goal of Shariah law and any other sectarian restrictive practices and with the secularists draw up an economic and social programme, then a degree of unity could eventually be achieved. It would need to be a programme which would address the needs of the overwhelming majority of the population; Muslim, Christian, secular and others such as the rank and file soldiers. This would transform the uprisings and protests from mass opposition against what is not wanted toward mass organisation for what people actually need and want.
The revolutionary implications.
Given the general economic crisis and the sovereign dept crisis of the Egyptian state, the pay and job security of the rank and file soldier, will sooner rather than later, be downgraded and for many their services terminated. The disintegrating economic condition of Egypt will now accelerate further after this and subsequent events. Even without such a deterioration, there is a task to be undertaken which is to immediately conduct a campaign aimed at the rank and file soldier. They should be made to face the shame and horror of what they have done or has been done in their name. A split between the rank and file soldiers and the military elite should be sought in as many ways as possible. The situation in Egypt is now about much more than the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood in power it is about the military verses civil society. It is now a descent into civil war or moving forward to revolution.
The size and determination of those on the Egyptian street can be such that nothing, not even the army can prevail against it – if it is successfully unified and mobilised now or later. A new consciousness and determination to struggle for basic human rights has been born throughout the region. The fear of the beatings, torture and killings has finally surmounted as the pressure of the need for jobs, food and justice built up to bursting point. Now outrage and anger at the recent fascist style shock-troop intervention will hopefully fuel some much needed non-sectarian solidarity. Undoubtedly the greater War crimes have been committed by Egypt’s military forces. Those who ordered this action and those who carried it out must be held accountable for these atrocities, by all who have the power to do so both in Egypt and internationally.
Roy Ratcliffe (August 2003.)
[See also ‘Egypt: Workers and Soldiers’.]