No winners in Egypt
It's nothing short of heartbreaking to remember those heady moments of early 2011, when hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square and stunned even themselves by ending a three-decade-old dictatorship.
Gone are the illusions of unity and brotherhood. Gone are the dreams of a smooth, relatively peaceful transition to a democratic system that would make Egyptians proud of their country and command admiration from the rest of the world.
Today, the blood-soaked streets of Cairo are a testament to tragedy. There are no winners in Egypt today. None.
The military under Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has the upper hand, but he and the uniformed corps he leads are hardly the winners. On Aug. 14, the military moved in to dismantle a massive sit-in by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were futilely demanding the reinstatement of former President Mohammed Morsy. We will never know how many were killed. The Muslim Brotherhood says security forces killed thousands of its supporters and wounded more than 10,000. The government says the dead amounted to several hundred, more than 40 of them security forces.
The military has blood on its hands. It has reimposed the hated state of emergency of the dictatorship, banning all demonstrations, further eroding its claim to democratic legitimacy.
The Muslim Brotherhood will now maximize the event's potential for victimhood as a rallying cry in the group's quest to revive the Islamist caliphate. But nobody would be foolish enough to think the Brotherhood has emerged strengthened.
Morsy turned out to be a disastrous president. Morsy and the Brotherhood showed they could win elections, but they also demonstrated they could not be trusted.
The Muslim Brotherhood lunged at power greedily. Democracy looked like a path to theocracy. Egyptians will never again give them the benefit of the doubt.
Also suffering a demoralizing defeat are Egypt's liberals, who proved capable of launching a revolution that succeeded in toppling an entrenched president, but almost immediately lost control of the agenda and failed to persuade voters to sign on to their vision. Liberals sought the kind of democracy that would be recognizable in the West, with equal rights for all, protections for minorities, free press, free expression, rule of law.
Egyptian minorities stand in the middle. Dozens of Coptic Christian churches were torched by Islamists, but security forces did nothing to protect them.
Now Egypt is again under martial law. The civilian government was chosen by the generals. Out-of-favor political leaders fear for their freedom, even their lives. Nobody has won.
On the losing side of the ledger we must add the United States, which handled the Egyptian uprising badly and came out of the crisis with all sides against it. Everyone is angry at Washington. Gen. al-Sissi says Egyptians won't soon forget American actions. Liberals are angry that the Obama administration didn't oppose the Muslim Brotherhood; the Brotherhood is angry that the United States didn't oppose the overthrow of a democratically elected government.
There is a deeply ingrained tradition in the Arab world of blaming America whenever something goes wrong. But whatever the U.S. government did wrong, it was the Egyptian people who started their revolution and then let it get away from them. It is now up to the Egyptian people to save their country.
Frida Ghitis writes about global affairs for The Miami Herald.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Westmoreland land bank purchases former Monsour Hospital property
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- Arrest made in connection with Rostraver home invasion
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Ferrante cyanide trial resumes with ER doctor testifying
- Nationwide drug ring was centered in Homewood, prosecutor says
- Primanti Bros. to mail sandwiches nationwide
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- Red Wings rally, shock Penguins in overtime
- Report linking field surface to cancer elicits Mt. Lebanon protest