Egypt’s Bloody Wednesday
by Stephen Lendman
On January 30, 1972, Northern Ireland’s Bogside Massacre was called Bloody Sunday. UK soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilian protesters and bystanders. They did so in cold blood.
Fourteen deaths resulted. So did numerous injuries. Reports said five civilians were shot in the back of the head.
The incident occurred during a nonviolent Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march. Critics called what happened reckless.
Authorities largely cleared participating soldiers of blame. Controversy still resonates today. Everyone shot was unarmed. A belated 2010 Saville Inquiry said killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable.”
Bloody Sunday paled by comparison to Wednesday’s Egypt. Hundreds were massacred in cold blood. Some estimates say thousands.
No one’s sure how many. Bodies are stashed in makeshift morgues. Thousands perhaps were injured.
Egypt’s a rogue police state. State-sponsored repression is longstanding. Generals run things. What they say goes.
Opposition isn’t tolerated. Wednesday proved it writ large. A state of siege exists. Martial law’s imposed.
Russia Today headlined “Bloody reckoning: Crisis-torn Egypt’s future on a knife edge after crackdown on Islamists.”
Doing so “plunged the world’s most populous Arab nation into its worst violence for decades. The country is teetering between a return to Mubarak-era autocracy and civil war.”
Militarized ruthlessness bears full responsibility. State-sponsored repression targeted pro-Morsi supporters. They did so nationwide.
Muslim Brotherhood (MB) spokesman Gehad El-Haddad twittered “(w)e will always be non-violent & peaceful.”
“We will push fwd until we bring down this Military Coup.”
Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi defended lawlessness. He did so unjustifiably. He called nonviolent sit-ins “anarchy.”
He said “no self-respecting state” can accept them. A state of emergency exists. Over night curfews were imposed in major cities. Sit-ins were banned.
On Thursday, MB officials announced protest marches. A statement said they’re planned “from Al-Iman mosque to protest (Wednesday’s) deaths.”
Four journalists were killed. Russia Today correspondent Bel Trew reports from Cairo. She’s been in the line of fire. She twittered:
“I’ve never seen such a bloody fight in Egypt. The security forces kept us ducking behind cars, under a barrage of bullets for 8 hours straight.”
Ruling generals and interim officials are hardline. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim vowed to restore Mubarak-era security.
Mubarakism’s the last thing Egyptians want. He’s gone. They reject reinstating what they reject.
Ibrahim “promise(d) that as soon as conditions stabilize and the Egyptian street stabilizes, as soon as possible, security will be restored to this nation as if it was before January 25, and more.”
He means January 25, 2011. Huge anti-Mubarak protests began. They continued for 18 days. They ended with his February 11 departure.
Ibrahim, other interim officials, and junta leaders are playing with fire. They risk further bloody confrontations. They risk potential civil war.
Egypt’s already a war zone. Reinstating Mubarakism ignores popular sentiment. Egyptians want real change. They want democracy. They want longstanding grievances addressed.
They oppose reinstating despotic rule. Mubarak represented it. He manipulated elections. He enforced police state harshness.
He violated personal freedoms. He targeted activists and regime opponents. He ordered arrests, imprisonments, torture and assassinations.
Popular anger simmered for years. In 2011, it erupted. Mubarak’s gone. Egyptians won’t tolerate resurrecting his policies. Thirty years of dictatorship were enough.
Egyptians want same old, same old ended. They want freedoms they never had. They want living wages. They want respect.
They want government repression and corruption ended. They want leaders serving everyone equitably. They’re willing to die for what they want.
They face ruthless state repression. Washington supports it. So do other Western countries. They pretend otherwise.
John Kerry claims ousting Morsi reflects restoring democracy. He said Egypt’s a strategic ally. Saying it assures business as usual. Official statements ring hollow.
On July 3, a hollow White House press release headlined “Statement by President Barack Obama on Egypt,” saying:
“As I have said since the Egyptian Revolution, the United States supports a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people.”
“The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law.”
“Since the current unrest in Egypt began, we have called on all parties to work together to address the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people, in accordance with the democratic process, and without recourse to violence or the use of force.”
“The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people.”
“Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution.”
“I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters.”
“Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under US law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.”
“The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties – secular and religious, civilian and military.”
“During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts.”
“Moreover, the goal of any political process should be a government that respects the rights of all people, majority and minority; that institutionalizes the checks and balances upon which democracy depends; and that places the interests of the people above party or faction.”
“The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard – including those who welcomed today’s developments, and those who have supported President Morsy. In the interim, I urge all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.”
“No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve.”
“The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.”
On August 14, a follow-up White House press release headlined “Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Egypt
“The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt. We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed, and to the injured.”
“We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian military and security forces to show restraint, and for the government to respect the universal rights of its citizens, just as we have urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.”
“Violence will only make it more difficult to move Egypt forward on a path to lasting stability and democracy, and runs directly counter to the pledges by the interim government to pursue reconciliation.”
“We also strongly oppose a return to a State of Emergency law, and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of peaceful assembly, and due process under the law.”
“The world is watching what is happening in Cairo. We urge the government of Egypt – and all parties in Egypt – to refrain from violence and resolve their differences peacefully.”
A previous article said Washington doesn’t give a damn about junta ruthlessness. It cares plenty about it making world headlines.
It wants reports of state-sponsored violence suppressed. It wants business as usual continued. It wants it out of sight and mind.
Egypt’s a strategic US ally. Longstanding support continues. Calls to suspend US aid won’t happen.
On Thursday, Obama said joint September military exercises were cancelled. Doing so alters nothing in longstanding US/Egyptian relations.
“Given the depths of our partnership with Egypt,” Obama said,
“our national security interest in this pivotal part of the world and our belief that engagement can support a transition back to a democratically elected civilian government, we’ve sustained our commitment to Egypt and its people.”
“America cannot determine the future of Egypt. That’s a task for the Egyptian people. We don’t take sides with any particular party or political figure.”
“We want a peaceful, democratic, prosperous Egypt. That’s our interest. But to achieve that, the Egyptians are going to have to do the work. We recognize that change takes time and that a process like this is never guaranteed.”
“America wants to partner in Egyptian people’s pursuit of a better future. And we are guided by our national interest in this long-standing relationship.”
“So America will work with all those in Egypt and around the world who support a future of stability that rests on a foundation of justice and peace and dignity.”
Obama deplores what he claims to support. He wants America’s imperium advanced. It’s waging multiple direct and proxy wars to achieve it. He’s mindless of Egyptian suffering. Buckets of blood on his hands prove it.
On August 14, Washington Post editors acted out of character. It doesn’t happen often. Exceptions prove the rule. They headlined “Egypt erupts as security forces attack Morsi supporters,” saying:
“(T)he Obama administration is complicit in the new and horrifyingly bloody crackdown launched Wednesday by the de facto regime against tens of thousands of protesters who had camped out in two Cairo squares.”
Egypt’s military reinstituted Mubarakism. “The Obama administration duly protested.” It did so disingenuously.
“…as police were still gunning down unarmed civilians in the streets of Cairo Wednesday, a White House spokesman was reiterating to reporters the administration’s determination not to make a judgement about whether the terms of the anti-coup legislation had been met.
Refusing to denounce “massive violations of human rights is as self-defeating for the United States as it is unconscionable.”
“Continued US support for the Egyptian military is helping to push the country toward a new dictatorship rather than a restored democracy.”
Post editors urge suspending “all aid and cooperation.” They want a strong message sent. They want generals told normalized relations won’t resume until repression stops.
They want what they won’t get. Bloody Wednesday may repeat. Things may get worse, not better. Civil war may erupt.
On Thursday, Egypt’s Health Ministry reported 638 deaths. Another 3,994 were injured, it said. Likely numbers are least double official claims. They’re always way understated.
New York Times editors called Wednesday clashes “military madness.” They say virtually nothing about longstanding Israeli repression against Palestinian civilians.
They report little on Bahraini despots. They’re silent about repressive Saudi Arabia and other rogue Gulf states.
They’re concerned about possible Egyptian civil war. Reasons given largely ignored what’s most important.
They’re troubled about how it would affect US and Israeli interests. They’re silent on a potential devastating death and injury toll.
They ignored longstanding US support for regional despots. Urging responsible actions now rings hollow.
Events in Egypt affect the region. What’s ahead bears close scrutiny. US imperial interests and junta power square off against popular sentiment.
Egypt holds its breath. A potential clash of civilizations looms.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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