The struggle for stability continues in Egypt. Several weeks back I reported on the potential problem in the Sinai. Shortly after that blog, The New York Times reported a headline story on how the lawlessness in the Sinai could become another factor in fracturing Egypt. (Always nice to be ahead of the headlines)
On August 13, terrorists fired a Grad rocket at Eilat, Israel’s primer Red Sea resort city. However, the Iron Dome defense system had been installed by that time and knocked the rocket out of the sky. Residents heard a couple of bangs and the attack was over. Currently, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) is beefing up its troops in the area to end such spontaneous violence.
In Egypt proper, the crack-down on the Muslim Brotherhood continues. At this time the MB (Muslim Brotherhood) has been virtually crushed. The spiritual leader as well as other key commanders of the MB have been arrested. Currently, the police and military are checking unions and other organizations that may have MB members and arresting them for subversive activities if the persons are identified. The new interim government remains concerned that MB members will attempt to spark strikes that could effect the government’s ability to function.
The latest change in Egypt is the evolution of the word “Islamist” to have become a popular indictment. Of course, nearly 90% of Egypt are Moslems. However, the MB has been singled out as terrorist-oriented group. Few people who have followed the news over the years would doubt that claim. However, therein lies a new danger.
Is the military and the government going too far?
I believe it was Leo Tolstoy who believed that all revolutions were evil. (And this was well before the Communist revolution in Russia). He believed that in revolutionary situations Evil traveled under the guise of goodness. I conclude he would now point to Egypt as an example.
Apparently, the military and police have gone beyond restoring stability and are now striking in an almost indiscriminate manner. Members of MB are being rounded up on nothing more than their being affliated with the group. Journalist have been arrested and in some instances shot. The new interim government has removed all rights to due process against police abuse. Police attacks are certainly not new in Egypt and continued under Morsi. However, today the police feel vindicated and see themselves battling Islamist violence. This presents a dangerous situation for journalism or anyone who challenges their authority.
As so often happens in revolutions, the pendulum is swinging to the other side. All who are concerned with social justice and balance must be concerned with what could lay ahead. Police who feel no restraint always become a menace.
The specter of oppression is beginning to cast a long shadow. We don’t need Halloween to come early this year.