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The Egyptian military council promotes sectarian strife and massacres protestors

category international | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Tuesday October 11, 2011 11:11author by Tamer Mowafy & José Antonio Gutiérrez Report this post to the editors

The military council in Egypt, the SCAF, is more and more isolated from the Egyptian masses each passing day. Once the people chanted in Tahrir square, just before Mubarak's fall, that the Egyptian people and "their" army were one. Now it is becoming clearer the gulf separating the two of them: while the people still suffer from inequality, poverty, violence, military courts targeting protestors, emergency laws inherited from the hated dictatorship, the SCAF is making sure that "transition to democracy" is nothing but empty words. They are doing everything in their power to make sure that nothing at all changes. It may be that the people toppled in February the commander in chief, but all of his repressive building was left intact, and the military's role, headed by general Tantawi, is to make sure that the status quo is not challenged. This is transition to democracy as promoted by the USA and the civilian-military elites of Egypt. So the dictator is gone, but everything remains untouched.

But the people are getting more and more exasperated with this course of events. These weeks have seen massive demonstrations and strikes of students in Alexandria, health workers, teachers, transport workers for their most immediate demands, as well as the Tahrir community demanding in the thousands an end to the emergency laws, military courts and for the SCAF to step down. People are ready to defend their revolution. And the SCAF response has been predictable: repression, violence, lies, deceit, a genuine war of attrition against the people.

Yet in order to show its real face as the continuity of the hated Mubarak regime, they are irresponsibly agitating the ghost of sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians. They have been doing so since April, stimulating attacks from a mixture of salafists (ultra-conservative Islamists) and baltagayyah (thugs hired by the Mubarak regime) against the minority Christian community, as a way to divert attention from the real problems of Egypt and as a way to undermine the necessary unity of the popular block. They hope thus to turn the collective struggle of the Egyptian masses into a cannibalistic war of credos. They launch their dogs to the assault of churches and communities, let them operate with complete impunity and then turn a blind eye. This proves as well the underlying alliances between the regime and conservative political islamists who have clearly stood out of the revolution to turn into the defence of the status quo -together with the technocrats and the military, the elites of the Muslim Brotherhood are sharing the cake. They have lost the two souls of the revolutionary movement: the youth and the women; they have also lost all progressive elements, and they are left only with the ugly face of conservative salafism. They now denounce the protestors and revolutionaries and are in the same bed with the army, that is, they are united against the revolution, against the people.

Last week, the salafist gang was allowed for five hours to burn and loot a church in Aswan province, together with the houses of some Christians. In response, Christians in Cairo, joined by many Muslims, came out to peacefully stage a vigil out of the State TV in Maspero Street. The official response was brutal: they sent armoured trucks to run over the people wantonly (as shown in video footage) while shooting live ammunition at protestors. Also, the army forcefully shut down TV25 and Al-Hurra because they were showing live footage of the Maspero street riots, which were moving towards Tahrir. At the same time, the official TV agitated sectarian discourses calling peaceful protestors "agitators" and asking people to defend their "army" from these "Christian" protestors. Such irresponsible calls were to provide an excuse for the salafist thugs who represented the paramilitary gang of the SCAF, in true Mubarak fashion.

The response of the people, whether Muslim or Christian, was strong and defiant: they bravely fought with stones and petrol bombs the fury of 1,000 soldiers armed to the teeth (plus their salafist thugs). Instead of falling into the trap of letting the conflict slip into a sectarian war, they chanted that the "Muslims and Christians are one" and "Down with the Field Marshal", in referrence to Tantawi. The Egyptian people have shown they can turn this attempt at sectarian conflict into an open challenge against the military rulers, who resort to desperate tactics to retain their power and fading legitimacy.

The result of yesterday (October 9th) fight was terrible: at least 25 human beings were massacred in cold blood by the SCAF, and over 270 were seriously wounded. The clashes continue today out of the hospital where the martyrs were brought to. The government has responded kidnapping and arresting scores of activists and organisers. But the Egyptian people is getting clearer by the day that their enemy is not defined by credo. Their enemy is there, the parasitic ruling class who hijacked the people's revolution and the State who is crushing the free initiative of the masses that had its most inspirational blossom in the people's committees which flourished in January.

We stand in solidarity with the victims, showing that each one of their beloved martyrs is one of our own.

We denounce the irresponsible promotion of sectarian strife by the military authorities

We denounce the kidnapping of the revolution by Tantawi gangsters

We denounce this terrible massacre which shows the true colours of the SCAF for everyone to see

We call for the unity of the Egyptian masses to tear apart the last remnants of the Mubarak regime and thus open the doors to a new life,

Tamer Mowafy & José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
October 10th, 2011

author by SWPpublication date Sun Oct 16, 2011 20:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Translation of statement. More info at links. Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists’ statement on the massacre of Copts at Maspero Glory to the martyrs of Bloody Sunday Shame on the military and the reactionaries The Revolutionary Socialists send sincere condolences to the families of the peaceful demonstrators who were murdered by the bullets of the Central Security Forces and crushed by the military’s armoured cars after they came on the night of 9 October to defend the right of Coptic Christians to freedom and equality. The police repression of the demonstrations is an extension of Mubarak’s policies, just as it is a continuation of the policies of oppression of the Copts which goes hand-in-hand with a policy of divide and rule between Christian and Muslim working people, while the bosses and the military from both sides enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. And at the same time as these events, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has announced new decisions which will assist the followers of the old regime in their takeover of parliament, in order to tighten their grip once again. The goal of the counter-revolution led by the Supreme Council at this moment is to distract the masses in preparation for striking a blow at the revolution. The military’s crime is an expression of their fear, and the fear of their internal and external allies of developments in our continuing revolution. Over the last three weeks more than half a million working people, Muslim and Christian have joined the struggle, in the historic strikes by teachers, public transport workers, doctors, irrigation ministry workers and others. Muslim and Christian have been on strike together, and they have joined the sit-ins together. Sometimes they have faced repression, at other times they have been victorious. Their struggle has provided the finest examples of how to erase the false divisions which our exploiters impose on us for their own benefit. This coalescence between Muslims and Christians proves the interconnections between the struggle for social justice on one hand, side-by-side with our fight to defend full equality for the Copts and all the oppressed in this country. Meanwhile Mubarak’s generals continue to use the blood of the workers and peasants who fell in battle during their past wars with Israel to glorify themselves and their role in history. The truth is that the policy of the Military Council is an extension of Mubarak’s policy of weakness and subservience to the Americans and the Zionists. The generals have not taken any position against the continued aggression of the Zionists against our brothers in Palestine, or even over their killing of Egyptian soldiers. The Military Council responded with silence, and with the crushing of demonstrations demanding the rights of the martyrs. The perpetrators of the massacre at Maspero are not only those who took part in the killing in person; soldiers and those the military and the Interior Ministry like to call “honest citizens”, the thugs which the Interior Ministry put into action and some of the reactionary religious forces which spout sectarian rhetoric and whose followers are themselves directly involved in the crimes of burning churches and incitement to tear down buildings in the name of religion. They did not commit the massacre of Maspero on their own. Their accomplices are all those who published ‘facts’ in order to mislead the masses, all those who justified the slaughter in cold blood, and all those who refused to see that these are crimes against humanity and not only crimes against the Copts. We will continue to defend our revolution, and the people’s right to free expression, to protest, demonstrate and strike, in order to restore our stolen rights, and to cleanse the country of the roots of corruption, which is still poisoning our revolution and attempting to overturn it. In defence of freedom of expression, we declare our condemnation of the attack by the Military Council on the 25 January and Al-Hurra TV stations because they were broadcasting the massacres committed by the army and police that night. While we know that it will probably not wipe away the tears or quench the burning loss of a son or loved one last night, we swear to continue the struggle for the success of the revolution, so that our country can become a nation of equality, freedom and justice. The Revolutionary Socialists 4am, 10 October 2011

Related Link: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=26308
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