Egypt: Youth Remember Martyrs, Reject both Army and Muslim Brotherhood

A couple of thousand demonstrators came into Tahrir Square on Monday evening to commemorate the massacre of protestors at Muhammad Mahmoud St. off Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo on November 19, 2011. The commemoration continued Tuesday morning. One of their signs said “Revolutionaries only: No entry for Muslim Brothers, the Military, or remnants of the Mubarak regime”:


h/t Helena Hägglund ‏@helenahagglund

Those killed beginning that day in 2011 (some 40 altogether over weeks) died at the hands of the army, which had made a coup after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Commemorating the dead of Muhammad Mahmoud St. is therefore symbolically at odds with the prevailing sentiment in much of Egypt now, that “the people and the army are one hand.”

Reuters reports on the lead-up to last night’s events:

Many of those who showed up Monday evening had been at the original demonstration two years ago. This is probably the biggest protest by the “Third Square” forces who reject both military rule and the failed presidency of Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi.

The crowd defaced with graffiti the statue in memory to the revolution’s martyrs by the army (the irony was lost on no one).

Here is video from Monday night:

The crowd was chanting “Fall, fall the State Security Police”, condemning Egypt’s notorious secret police.

33 Responses

  1. I have to say that my instincts are to support these people that reject both a military dictatorship and Islamic fundamentalist. So we now have three forces. Political arithmatic tells me that two competing opposition movements facing off against a fascist run government will lose if they do not figure how to align.

    • Divide and rule, a time honoured tactic for maintaining control in the face of popular dissent.

      All the military had to do was giving the Brotherhood enough rope and then step in when the country’s first stab at democracy didn’t work out as expected.

      I wonder how long they’ll manage to maintain the illusion of being on the people’s side.

  2. If these protesters are serious about democracy, they should be calling for the restoration of the Morsi Presidency, regardless of their disagreements with his politics. Declaring yourself to be “against the Brotherhood and the military” is a cop-out. The proper alternative to military rule is the return of the elected government.

    • But it wasn’t merely Morsi’s “politics” that they opposed. After winning office, he set about dismantling the very democracy these protesters hope to see. He meddled in elections so badly the monitors quit, seized control the constitutional assembly so his party could put its policies beyond democratic reach, made his pronouncements outside of judicial review, and otherwise set about to create a one-party state.

      Democracy has to be about more than someone who wins one election seizing dictatorial power.

      • @Joe from Lowell

        You must have been calling for a coup in the United States following the 2000 election and the subsequent Bush presidency.

        • I don’t recall Bush doing any of the things I listed.

          Once again, you demonstrate the very error I called out at the beginning: the inability to distinguish between “politics” and democracy itself.

        • Now, to make an actually legitimate analogy: you must have been calling for the restoration of Mubarak in 2011, since he was remove from office by military coup.

      • @Juan Cole

        I think it would have been wrong if the army overthrew Nixon and started shooting Republicans in the streets. I would have called for Nixon’s return to office, and then for impeachment proceedings to be filed against him immediately afterward.

        • That’s because, Matt, we had a Congress and a judiciary of sufficient strength and independence, backed by an established constitution and hundreds of years of percent, that it would be possible for Richard Nixon to be impeached.

          Whereas in Egypt, they had no constitution, Morsi had seized control of the process of writing it to make sure that no such independent powers would arise, and he was gutting the judiciary to bring it under his control.

    • “The proper alternative to military rule is the return of the elected government.”

      You are referring, of course, to Morsi, who after being elected President and taking office, immediately began to take measures to undermine the very democratic system that brought him to power. It would have been folly for the Egyptians to stand by while Morsi attempted to dismantle democratic institutions that would have rendered the possibility of removing him in a future election moot. Given the choice, it is better that Egypt have a secular authoritarian government than an Islamic one.

      • @Bill
        “Given the choice, it is better that Egypt have a secular authoritarian government than an Islamic one.”

        It isn’t your, or my, choice. It’s the Egyptians’.

        • “It isn’t your, or my, choice. It’s the Egyptians’.”

          And the majority of Egyptians made their choice: to support the ouster of Morsi. Their choice, by the way, also happens to be in alignment with United States interests, a happy coincidence.

        • It isn’t your, or my, choice. It’s the Egyptians’.

          And the Egyptians themselves poured into the streets to demand Morsi’s ouster, in even larger numbers than the protests against Mubarak. They then roundly supported Morsi’s removal by the military.

        • And those “United States interests” would be just what, again? Not much to do with “stability” or “sustainability” or some sad notion like “general welfare,” just more of the same old pursuit of some vain triumph of imperial oligarchy, oiligarchy, hegemony. Not a clue about or smidgen of interest in squishy stuff like “making the world a better place for the most of us rather than a very few of us,” just “maximum freedom of action” for some chimaerical “nation” that is just a set of very PRIVATE, for-profit “interests,” if it is anything at all…

        • “And those “United States interests” would be just what, again? Not much to do with “stability””

          Actually, US interests have a lot to do with stability in the Near East. You really need to get off your hobby horse and get out more.

  3. good,but patient is needed to enable proper digestive transition into democracy..God bless Egypt!

  4. the army, which had made a coup after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

    After?

    Wasn’t it the army that removed Mubarak from power in the first place?

  5. I have to agree that it would be better if the revolutionaries and MB worked together on this one. What I am hearing from the Sisi regime makes Morsi look like a paragon of democratic virtue by comparison and I think the revolutionaries need all the help they can get. A couple of thousand protestors aren’t going to do much and refusing to make tactical alliances to remain ideologically pure is rarely a good way to get results.

    • There may be a point at which the Muslim Brotherhood gives up its inner Secret Apparatus and tries to join the democratic process. At the moment they’ve revealed themselves little different from the stealth Stalinists of the 1940s who made coups in eastern Europe from the covert positions into which they wormed themselves. I gave them the benefit of the doubt in 2012 and they behaved badly.

      • So what should happen to the Muslim Brotherhood? Like it or not, they represent a substantial portion of the population. If there’s going to be anything resembling a democratic process, they will have to be included in it.

        Of course, you don’t have to have a democratic process. The Brotherhood and it’s supporters can just be repressed, tortured and murdered like they have been for the last 60 years.

        • “So what should happen to the Muslim Brotherhood? Like it or not, they represent a substantial portion of the population. If there’s going to be anything resembling a democratic process, they will have to be included in it.”

          They already were included in the “democratic process” after the fall of Mubarak. They won the election and then proceeded to undermine the very process that brought them to power. To answer your above-cited question, they should be included in any future political process when they learn to act like a democratic party, and not like the “Eastern European stealth Stalinists of the 1940s,” as so aptly described by Professor Cole.

      • I gave them the benefit of the doubt in 2012 and they behaved badly.

        The day after Morsi and Obama successfully negotiated a cease-fire in Gaza, I was writing comments on this site about how impressively Morsi had stepped up as a statesman. That was more or less the line of the left throughout the West: satisfaction at how the MB was operating as a responsible democratic actor.

        Morsi took advantage of that opportunity to start cracking down on his enemies and making himself dictator.

      • I don’t seem to recall the Stalinists lacking control over the military, jucidicary and press. I also don’t recall them allowing opposing political parties like Morsi did. I don’t recall multiparty elections being scheduled. Of course he tried to influence the judiciary in his dicretion, so does every US president every time a Supreme Court vacancy opens up. I just don’t see how Morsi was making himself a dictator and certainly not half as much as the new management.

  6. As consistent democrats and socialists we don’t have to chose which counter revolutionary force is lest bad. Morsi was narrowly elected on a low turnout and then set about betraying all the democratic rhetoric of the election by increasing sectarian and authoritarian policies. The Tamorod movement against the Morsi government was not of the Armies making but general revulsion at Morsi.
    The army coup and the violent suppression of protestors that followed cannot be supported either. You can oppose the shooting of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the imposition of martial law with supporting or joining up with the Brotherhood.
    we should support the Third Square movement and the growing and militant Egyptian union movement. Most Egyptians want democracy, are anti sectarian and want social justice. The ground is there for the third movement to take off and in alliance with the Labour Movement to shake the Sisi government. Remember it was strikes on the Suez Canal that toppled Mubarak, the army where reacting in panic to that. The Egyptian unions strength has grown since then.

  7. I have been anticipating this moment for some time. The revolutionaries who remain true to the real values of the 2011 uprising have refused to sell out and retain a presence.

    Given that the turnout for their crowds is significantly larger than the quantities seen in the sets of rallies for the other two factions, one has to wonder about whether the majority is really sold on the current government.

    It is claimed that the Sisi cult is so powerful and widespread, yet when banners appear depicting the man in a noose, when he is cussed out along with other political and military figures, and when events symbolizing his trial and execution occur, the response offered in his defense is feeble. Could it be that the Sisi cult is in large part a creation of the servile media and segments of the elite rather than a genuine grassroots campaign with deep appeal? This is not to say that he doesn’t have significant popularity but perhaps his fans are not being totally honest and the truth differs from what they depict.

    Another question is the ratio of popularity for the revolutionaries vs authoritarians in areas outside Cairo. The Third Square/Way of the Revolution Front/etc. need to make sure to sufficiently promote their vision in those areas as well, else they may have difficulty capitalizing on the chance to gain a greater national prominence.

    Their message of bread, freedom, and social justice is superior to that of militarists and would-be dictators.

  8. This is much more encouraging than reports from NPR and the BBC yesterday (Nov. 18) that General al-Sisi is becoming a national hero.

  9. Another thing is that the October 6 crowds that the government tried to mobilize really were not that impressive in size. It is like it was only possible for the state to summon large numbers in the street only in the immediate aftermath of the Morsi overthrow. Now, however, the turnout on events meant to commemorate the army, police, or to worship Sisi see weak to miniscule numbers.

    It could be suggested that the feel no need to demonstrate but another possibility is that it was only anti-Morisism/anti-MB fervor that drove those previous protests, not pro-Army, pro-the current government zeal.

    As the economic crisis continues and Gulf aid fails to fix the situation, the split between the democratic/pro-liberty movement and the deep state is almost certain to grow.

  10. Those sealth stalinists provided a very good example of how to take power and the Khomenists of USA have provided a very good example of how to keep power once you have it. Democrats and Libertarians have really foolish views of human nature. I do agree with democrats that there is such a thing as the general welfare. I do agree with the democrats that it should be the goal of who ever is ruling to try to maximise the well being of a country`s population. I do not agree that elected leaders of Canada or Sweden or Norway or France or Germany have done any better than Vietnam or Cuba in this reguard.
    Those westernized countries might have a higher UN human development indexes but they have achieved these levels more because they have had more to work with and have been geographically luckier and have cheated more than the Socialist countries ever did or could have.
    Power is achieved through deception. Power is kept through deception. I am not going to offer you any supporting evidence for such an assertion. If the reader does not already believe it evidence will be rejected.
    In the stable countries of this world real democracy only occurs for at most a few dozen people. Of course Rush Limbaugh or Sara Palin could resist but when their salaries depend on not resisting their minds will build a fortress of psychological defences to convince themselves that they are fair and honest servents of a fair and honest system.
    Although I think that democracy is like gold, only a fool would want any. I do think that who ever rules a country has to be on the look out for political talent and stake out a wide tent for genuinely politicaly motivated people who are interested in really figuring out what serves the general welfare. Such people should get specialized training and be allowed to take part in the processes the determine the rules that the members of a society will be expected to live by. If that is a large percent of the people so much the better.
    One litmus test to determine whether or not some one might be qualified for such consideration is whether or not they think that someone has a right to privacy. Those who think that they do are clearly not yet qualified for certification.

  11. So what I would like people, especially any Egyptian that might read these comments, to conclude, is that the methods that the different factions competing for power in Egypt use is not nearly as important as what they will do with that power once they have it.
    Which side will impose a steeply progressive income tax rate in Egypt.
    Which side will regulate work places to potect worker safety.
    Which side will inspect agricultural products to ensure a safe food supply.
    Which side will will do its best, while unfortunately being trapped in a world wide system of exploitation, to ensure a livable wage for Egyptian workers
    Which side will be more clever in attempting to destroy the world wide system of exploitation.
    Which side will support sustainable energy, agricultural and environmental policies.
    Which side thinks that fairness in process is more important than fairness in result.
    Which side really understands the last question.

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