Egyptian ‘Liberals’ Are Out for Blood

They have lost all moral high ground by supporting the military's violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood

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Yuri Kozyrev / Noor for TIME

Egyptian supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi wave their national flag as they attend a rally in support of the former Islamist leader outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, on July 8, 2013.

Last month, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and Egypt’s new military strongman, asked Egyptians to “come out to give me the mandate and order to confront violence and potential terrorism.” What al-Sisi sought was a green light from the Egyptian street to put down the Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters were still protesting on behalf of the country’s first elected President, Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, whom al-Sisi removed from office and jailed on July 3.

Yesterday, al-Sisi put his mandate to work when security forces attacked demonstrators in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities and villages throughout Egypt. At this point, 575 people are confirmed dead nationwide. Only time will tell if al-Sisi has eradicated the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, but the death knell is already ringing for another of Egypt’s famous political movements: liberalism.

(MORE: Egypt in a State of Emergency: Live Updates From the Scene)

Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the face of Egyptian liberalism, resigned on account of Wednesday’s violence, but the reality is that many of those Egyptians who define themselves as liberals supported the July coup as well as today’s crackdown. “Egypt’s liberals are trying to ignore the fact that people are being murdered,” says Samuel Tadros, an Egypt expert and a fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. In doing so, Tadros told me in a recent interview, they have lost any claim to a moral high ground. “For liberalism to succeed, it needs to explain why this political worldview is superior to others. It’s not just about the material benefits of economic liberalism, but why it’s better for man. Man, after all, does not live by bread alone. Here, Egyptian liberalism has failed completely. The liberals in support of the coup and the violent crackdown have abandoned morality for short-term political gains.”

It’s understandable that many Egyptians are concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood’s religiously fundamentalist and paranoid worldview. But the fact that people who describe themselves as liberals want to see their neighbors’ blood shed suggests that their liberalism isn’t what we typically mean by a political doctrine that prizes individual freedom and seeks as little interference from the state as possible. The reality is that Egypt’s liberals have aligned themselves with the military — the very same regime that they protested against during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

(MORE: What Happened in Egypt Was Not Democratic)

Why have liberals turned from democracy, albeit a very imperfect one, back to the military? As Tadros explains in his new book, Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity, Egypt’s liberals have always depended on the state for their advancement, for education, employment and social status. “In Egypt,” Tadros tells me, “liberalism didn’t start as it did in Europe with the emergence of an independent bourgeoisie that sought to limit the powers of the state and other entrenched institutions. In Egypt, liberalism was born with the rise of the civil-servant class in the mid–19th century. Since civil servants are a part of the state, this liberalism is not at all interested in limiting the role of the state.”

Moreover, whereas Western liberals have historically seen it as their role to educate their fellow citizens in liberal values, Egyptian liberals have always seen this as the job of the state. Should the state prove incapable of inculcating others with the same ideas and ambitions, then it is up to the state to protect the liberals from what they perceive as the unwashed masses, i.e., their neighbors. And right now it is the Muslim Brothers and their Islamist partners whom the liberals see as a threat that needs to be put down.

In addition to acting in bad faith, the liberals have made a bad deal by siding with the army. Because the liberals never prepared the ground for liberalism, they left it wide open for the Islamists, who over 80 years built a grassroots network that combined political indoctrination with social services that earned them respect and admiration — which is why Morsi won the presidential election in June 2012. In spite of al-Sisi’s crackdown, the Muslim Brotherhood will almost surely return — and next time better organized and, holding a vendetta against the army and the millions who clamored for the Brotherhood’s blood, much angrier. In the meantime, as Tadros argues, “it’s the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the liberals, who can claim the moral high ground.”

164 comments
kitkat21
kitkat21

The lies people tell themselves to rationalize the widespread, disproportionate violence.  And btw, how many people were killed when occupy wall street or the taksim protests were broken up? Less than 10 total!!!  Get the picture!!  And it wasn't for lack of violence in turkey: protesters damaged 103 police cruisers, 207 automobiles, 15 ambulances and 280 buildings and buses in demonstrations across the country.  The turks should have just called this terrorism and shot everyone.  

Attacks on copts and churches are absolutely reprehensible.  But do they justify killing 1000 protesters, most of whom are unarmed?  No!  People seem to think if 1 islamist attacks a church then shooting another islamist (or 1000 islamists) is ok.  Not all islamists are the same... some commit crimes, others don't. If you have 100,000 people protesting, you can't say that 3 people holding guns makes the whole group guilty. 

People are ALL held responsible for their actions, not for the acts of others.  And who will hold this soldier shooting a clearly unarmed protester responsible? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfwHhfQEzyM

Or will you say the church burnings made his life worthless?  If so, that is the logic of terrorists.


helsayes
helsayes like.author.displayName 1 Like

The Brotherhood is made up of terrorists and terrorist supporters, plain and simple, and their agenda calls for nothing less than complete dominance of Islam and Sharia law. The Egyptian people decided to fight those fascists to get back their freedom and democracy. In wars for freedom killings do occur.

WhereIsJustice
WhereIsJustice like.author.displayName 1 Like

@helsayes You seems to forget about democracy.. In democracy majority wins and rules.. this is what egyptian people voted for.. You seems to be supporting murderous illegitimate thugs with no moral values whatsoever.. Do you call it freedom when your rights to protest are taken away.. state sponsored terrorism by sisi and gang on unarmed civilians.. imprisoning any voice of opposition.. if this is what you want then good luck you people are silly.. Sisi and his gang will steal your 2011 revolution and you will not have any freedom for long time to come.. Sisi will impose repression and oppression...

LeylaMaker
LeylaMaker like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like


http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=3cd07c43-8499-4879-8323-f66eadd3d6e2http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/136572?http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=20b3871f-0004-4295-8268-80c6bb40afc0http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/08/13/coptic-christian-killed-while-walking-home-from-bible-class-in-egypt/?intcmp=obinsitehttp://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-08-16/24-policemen-killed-in-deadly-protests-across-egypt/?http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=adb0d8fc-cf73-45ca-94f8-1059ec9c77aehttp://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/coptic-orthodox-church-diocese-of-los-angeles-more-than-40-coptic-christian-churches-burned-and-torched-throughout-egypt-219930381.html?http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=0439f8c5-a2b7-457c-995f-40a525e7ba5chttp://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=857ac443-c4bc-429e-9432-7475ba73fef5http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/coptic-orthodox-church-diocese-of-los-angeles-more-than-40-coptic-christian-churches-burned-and-torched-throughout-egypt-219930381.html?

LeylaMaker
LeylaMaker like.author.displayName 1 Like

you should call it not "Time Ideas", but "Time With No Brains"

amestms
amestms like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

This is addressed specifically to people who believe the claims being made by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Before you take the high ground and condemn the police force and the army, the most recent peaceful and unarmed protest breakups that were conducted violently: (1) Occupy Wall Street, NYC SF and others (2) Taksim Square, Turkey where the hypocrite that used force is the one calling the UN Security Council to meet (3) London, PM  to the effect of when national security is at stake, don't talk to me about human rights. 

Regardless of what you think, in America and Europe should a group of protester stage a sit in and disrupt traffic, tenant access, destroy public property, build barricades and it is proven that they are armed, they will be dispersed by force.  Regardless of what the rest of the population things.  That is the international language.  So, whats fair there is fair all over the world.  Don't talk to me about more than the application of law here.  While all the other atrocities will leave an impact on Egyptians,  the basic premise is unarguable.

Otherwise it would seem that the western world would like double standards.  We can do what we want but you can not.

jivatmanx
jivatmanx like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

The Brotherhood quickly lost that high ground after going on a rampage against Christians and Churches. 


JConabicycle
JConabicycle like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@jivatmanx Never mind just Christians, the Brotherhood murders shi'as and calls them infidels.  They are lower than the sewer.  Murdering thugs.

KamalFarhi
KamalFarhi like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I am not a liberal. Thats what you make of it. I am a muslim and hate the Muslim Brotherhood. 

jimmyjimmyjimmy111
jimmyjimmyjimmy111 like.author.displayName 1 Like

You wouldn't hear a single positive spin on the MB if they hadn't made nice with Israel while in power. Keep sucking the Zionist teat Times.com. 

Targus
Targus

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and Mohamed El Baradei killers

Massacre in Egypt

Flynangel
Flynangel like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Targus Muslim Brothers are the killers and are the reason for all the massacres

Targus
Targus

Why is the massacre of the Jews ? Jews were the killer Flynangel ?

This comment has been deleted

Hoza88
Hoza88 like.author.displayName 1 Like

There is no Democracy in Egypt It is fake and the coup supports fake Democracy....... Shame on the Army !!!!!!!!

SandySmith
SandySmith like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

To the people who agree with what the writer wrote...take a look at this, hopefully it'll open your eyes a bit more http://www.emannabih.com/videos-egypt-under-brotherhood-militias-terror-attacks-14-aug-2013/

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@SandySmithOh, and here's an eye opener you should probably look into before you spew pathetic Egyptian state television footage (which didn't bother to show any footage of a single dead protester): those 10 bodies under the Rabaa stage were put there.  Even New York Times journalists said they checked under the stage and never saw any bodies before the military came in.  Ok, it's one thing for Egyptians to fall for their military-run state news.  But you? C'mon, seriously.

Flynangel
Flynangel like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MicahShapiro @SandySmith It is really good that you realize you are with the terrorists against a whole country! What has been happening today from Morsi supporters all over Egypt, vandalizing, killing people on the streets, burning churches down and shooting live bullets haphazardly. at people..yes definitely you are with the terrorists...

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@Flynangel @MicahShapiro @SandySmith oh those hoodlum rogues? Nah, i'm not with those guys burning Churches.  I was taught not to let the majority be judged by a minority.  

In other news, Muslim Brotherhood leadership harshly condemned any burning of Churches today.

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@SandySmith Ok, again, i actually went back and tried to give it a chance.  Again, couldn't make it past the 1st line:

"
At this defining moment in The Egyptian History, we say to the whole world like the Usa once said, You are either with us or with Terrorism."

Barf.  Ok, i guess i'm with the terrorists.

SandySmith
SandySmith like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

So I guess the leader of the Muslim brotherhood saying they will kill any police officer in the streets bc what they have done is "allowed" is ok then?! You've got to be kidding me!!! Witnessing everything first hand is all I needed. So I don't need all the press, I know what I see with my own eyes. I don't know what you have been watching, but I'm sorry that you haven't a clue.

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@SandySmith I stopped reading as soon as I read the title and it said "BRotherhood militias." The title alone demonstrates it has an agenda, since "Brotherhood militias" have never existed, and will never existed.  It's like saying "Tamarid rape groups" or "NSF militias." It is a term that has been used by the opposition time and time again to try and make MB into a boogeyman, and we are not stupid.  Thanks, but no thanks

Targus
Targus

@SandySmith 

conditions will not be without a military coup

conditions makes soldiers

military coup

Nothing is what it seems

Duffman
Duffman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

I'll take army rule any day over the MB. I would never visit Egypt if the MB is in charge. Now, I'd be willing to go. 

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@Duffman really? Because under MB leadership people were not allowed to criticize them and there was no freedom of speech and everything was controlled? Oh wait, that is the Military leadership.  Egypt had free press under Morsi

JConabicycle
JConabicycle like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@MicahShapiro @Duffman It also had legalized child rape and subjugation of women under morsi.  You are a MB apologist and your name is shapiro like mubarak is ricky martin.  you fool no one but yourself.

Targus
Targus

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Article 3 Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. 

Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be  prohibited in all their forms. 

Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment  or punishment. 

Article 6 Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 9 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Flynangel
Flynangel like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Targus So why did the MBs torture people in Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins? No arbitrary arrests, but terrorists should be jailed!

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@Flynangel @Targus lol @ torture under the Rabaa stage.  Ya, makes a nice horror movie, but please turn off Nile TV.  Every credible journalist who has reported out of Rabaa has said those rumors are ridiculous, including a Coptic Christian journalist from Daily News Egypt.

helsayes
helsayes

So, what about the slaughtering of egyptian police officers in Kerdasa and the excution style kilings of soldiers off- duty in Sainai. . Rumors?!

Targus
Targus

 @Targus 
do you love the blood of a Muslim?

Flynangel
Flynangel like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Targus I am a Muslim myself Targus, people should respect their government, army and police..the will of the people has to be respected. If anyone whether Muslim or Christian burn down building or shoot at people they should be brought to justice, if they kill they should be killed. That is justice in Islam too

Targus
Targus

Sandy very funny
You shall not kill    - Lo tir'tsach

SandySmith
SandySmith

And the MB are not killing???

Targus
Targus

@SandySmith Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Targus
Targus

@FlynangelWho is the terrorist? who normally?

Did you give the decision?

uncouthtownie
uncouthtownie

The plethora of "liberal" comments here questioning the author's motive because he dared to point out the moral hypocrisy of Egypt's liberals, just proves his point. That these so-called liberals are ready to abandon all moral principles for short term gain against their political foes. I am embarrassed to consider myself a liberal.

Flynangel
Flynangel like.author.displayName 1 Like

@uncouthtownie what will your police force do if you go out sit in the middle of the street with a machine gun?? What would they do if you fire at someone? More, what should they do if you shoot at them? Better try and get an overall idea of the picture here, because it is not what it seems to be on CNN, BBC and ALJazeera they are all presenting biased coverage for the sake of establishing the new world order!

MicahShapiro
MicahShapiro

@Flynangel @uncouthtowniealso, I suggest you read the reports of the journalists who were in Rabaa while the Military barged in.  They all said there was so little time that they didn't even have time to turn on their cameras and start filming, as they had to start running immediately.  It was sudden unprovoked chaos out of nowhere. Cold and calculated.  So obviously the military started cracking down HARD before armed resistance even started.  So obviously the armed resistance was provoked, as many have said such violence would be provoked a month ago.  Not hard to predict.  Please, the clock does not start ticking when people start shooting their guns at security.  Can you please go back a little further in time?