Two Statements from the "Revolutionary Socialist" group in Egypt July 28
Against the massacres and the military's "mandate"
A NEW massacre shocked Egyptians when they learned about it at dawn on Saturday, adding to the bloody record of the Interior Ministry and the military, just hours after the millions-strong demonstrations for the "mandate" from the people demanded by the Ministry of Defense. This is the first tidings of the mandate are to whitewash evidence of the state in confronting protests by force of arms.
We defend the right of the populace--all of the populace--to express their opinion by every means of peaceful expression, from demonstrations and sit-ins to strikes. This right was one that the January revolution won, thanks to the blood of our martyrs. We condemn this massacre, which claimed the lives of dozens of the poor from the provinces and the youth of the Brotherhood.
Nowhere among them were their leaders, who we see only upon the stages or the satellite channels supported by America, calling for violence in the name of religion. We don't see any of their names or their children among those murdered or injured. Yet they urge the youth to face down the brutality of the police, who have decided that their "mandate" means confronting protests with murder.
The guns aimed at the breasts of the Brotherhood today will quickly be turned around to take aim at the breasts of the revolutionaries and those protesting against the regime among the workers and the poor, on the pretext of keeping the wheels of production turning.
The Brotherhood today is reaping some of what it has sown by the hand of its own Interior Minister, who this past January killed dozens of people, and by their crimes against the residents of El-Manial and Bayn al-Sarayat and Giza and others, the most recent victims coming on Saturday at Al-Qaed Ibrahim and on Sunday with the attacks on churches. These have created a mighty wave of popular anger against the Brotherhood that is being exploited by the army and the police to gain their mandate, on the excuse of combatting terrorism.
The omens of a return of Mubarak's dictatorial regime are lost on no one. We have witnessed the clearest of these signs in the speech of the new Interior Minister yesterday about the return of men fired from the state security services to their old jobs of tracking political and religious activities. We have seen it in the threat to use the emergency law to disperse the sit-ins, and the intervention of the army in the workers' sit-in at Suez Steel, among others.
This feeds our doubts about the role of the current government and the extent of its involvement in these crimes, particularly Hazem el-Beblawi, the prime minister who was the first to support the military's "mandate" in the march at the presidential palace. It begs questions as well about those elements rejected by the revolution because of their positions after the massacre.
It is impossible for the armed forces to disperse the sit-ins and end the crisis, but it is possible for them to deepen that crisis. There is no true solution to the current crisis of our revolution other than a political path that adopts a clear vision for transitional justice, including guarantees of retribution against all those who have committed crimes against the rights of the people and our revolution--the figures of Mubarak's regime and the military council, and also the Brotherhood and its allies.
We call to all of the proud revolutionary and social forces, to the free people among the workers and students and professionals and farmers and everyone else. We call upon you to participate in building a fighting revolutionary front so we can together confront both this increasing military fascism, as well as the opportunism and the crimes of the Brotherhood. This front must complete the goals of the January revolution and its second wave on June 30 against all those who betray it--the feloul, the military and the Brotherhood. It must achieve the goals of bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity for which the revolution still rages in Egypt.
Glory to the martyrs, victory to the revolution, disgrace upon the murderers--every murderer. All power and wealth to the people.
July 28, 2013
Translation by Jess Martin
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The Copts are being massacred
THE BELLS of the churches rang at the time of evening prayers, and the Copts fasted along with Muslims for Ramadan, while the state media sang a song about our heroic nationalist battle and the unity of the Egyptian people, both Muslim and Christian. But only a day later, there were efforts by supporters of the deposed president to break into three churches in the village of Degla in Minya, bombarding them with rocks and Molotov cocktails, and firing bullets at the Mary Girgis Church in Port Said. The families sought the assistance of the police/security forces, but got no response.
You might be shocked by this position of the police/security forces--after all, they dispersed the people yesterday to protect them from "potential terrorism." So where are they now?
Actually, where were the police throughout the era of Morsi--while the crimes were committed against the Copts of Egypt, with the aim of their forcible expulsion? Not one of those involved in the police saw it as their role to stop any one of those crimes against the Copts, except when they struck against the funerals of particular martyrs. Where were they throughout the era of the military council and the era of Mubarak?
And what about our free and impartial media, which documents the crimes of the Muslim Brotherhood, but doesn't mention the sectarian crimes occurring in the Sinai, like the murder of three Copts, among them a priest? What about the ongoing threats against Copts by extremists? Or perhaps the media is returning to sectarianism, following its incitement against the Copts while they were being run over by tanks at Maspero.
Of course, the sectarianism of the Brotherhood and its allies isn't a new development, since they were sponsors of sectarian strife throughout the period of the military council. They continued in their inflammatory sectarian rhetoric throughout the period of Morsi's presidency. And now, since June 30, the Brotherhood has persisted in its crimes, attacking churches and chanting sectarian slogans in their marches.
The regime is both the creator and protector of sectarianism, always invoking it as cover for the crudeness of its corruption, just as the Mubarak regime did with the Saints Church, to cover its rigging of the parliamentary elections in 2010. They use it to scatter the ranks of the revolutionaries, as the military council did with its successive attacks on the churches, beginning with Atfih and ending with the Maspero massacre. They use inflammatory sectarian rhetoric to portray every opponent as an enemy of Islam, as the Morsi regime did.
The regime will continue to feign ignorance on the issue of the Copts, and the state will continue to turn a blind eye to sectarian crimes until there is a catastrophe--at which point we see a traditional scene between the priest and sheik, with pleasant slogans repeated, which do nothing to prevent these crimes from recurring.
First among the responsibilities of the state is to protect the Copts and their houses of worship, not to tolerate their expulsion. Or doesn't yesterday's "mandate" from the demonstrations include that clause?
The experiences of the past few weeks have demonstrated with overwhelming evidence that the state and its institutions do not bother very much about our blood, which has flowed before the eyes of the police and army while they, on more than one occasion, stood by watching without batting an eye.
But the most important point is that this experience has proved that the masses are capable--despite the steep cost--of deterring the attacks on the neighborhoods with their popular committees, which they had to improvise because of the intentional negligence of the army and police in protecting their neighborhoods and homes.
Now we must organize our popular committees to protect ourselves from recurring assaults and to apply pressure on the negligent state apparatuses to undertake their responsibility to protect the people according to the framework of the law--without needing the "mandate" of anyone.
Yesterday, army tanks stopped on Mohammad Mahmoud Street in Cairo, in front of a graffiti tribute to the martyr Mina Daniel, to remind those who have forgotten who his killers were, and why he was martyred, and for what ends--to recall his unachieved dream and his blood, for which no one has been held accountable.
Mina died, but during the occupation of Tahrir that toppled Mubarak, he had sung with his Muslim friend, "The revolution is sweet and beautiful while you're with me"--recognizing that the revolution could not claim victory without their unity. He knew that his freedom and dignity could not be achieved except by a revolution against the dictatorial regime of Mubarak.
Let us complete the path that Mina began, recognizing our enemy however it changes its face. Let us remember his struggle and achieve his dream.
The Office of Issues of Persecution
July 28, 2013
Translation by Jess Martin
both statements appeared in the Socialist Worker