A riven nation: No fear of death

Published on The Economist, August 17, 2013.

A SMALL Ferris wheel carrying grubby children creaks around in the sweltering, dusty heat. Donkeys pull carts of vegetables along potholed roads. In Adwa, the humble home village of Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brothers’ ousted president, there is much unhappiness at his demise. Posters on shop fronts say, “Yes to legitimacy! No to the coup!” … //

… But not all feel the same. “I voted for him in 2011 but it’s good riddance,” said Muhammad Sayed, who has just enrolled at al-Azhar university in Cairo. “He did none of the things he promised to do. People got angry about the lack of water and electricity.” That said, he thinks the violence of the security forces on August 14th was excessive. “These are our brothers and sisters who died.”

A hardening of opinion against Mr Morsi is stronger in Zagazig, a pretty university city 20 minutes’ drive away. The area was once a stronghold of the Brothers, and many professionals, businessmen and academics here are still loyal to them. But the movement’s former headquarters were trashed in the unrest that preceded Mr Morsi’s removal. Leaflets featuring Mr Morsi lie covered in ash and shattered glass. Six people were killed in political violence here at the end of June and the beginning of July.

Captain Mahmoud Sami Imam, who lives above the Brothers’ ruined offices, says he helped Mr Morsi run for parliament in 2005 because Egypt “needed a change”. Like many others here, he supports without any caveats the security forces’ crackdown on the Muslim Brothers following Mr Morsi’s downfall on July 3rd. He sees the Brotherhood as implementing a plan to “burn down Egypt” and destroy society’s foundations; his daughter sees those occupying the squares in Cairo as “trying to kill us.”

The Brothers in Mr Morsi’s home province are floundering. “Everyone turned against us,” says Yasser al-Hegg, a local doctor who is a member of the movement. When they gained power “people suddenly started blaming us for the streets being dirty.” Mr Hegg has closed his clinic and moved his family away for fear of attack: “The strategy now—supported by people outside our province—is to get rid of us, not just from power, but altogether … //

… (full text).


Spying on Its Own: The NSA’s Deep Bag of Tricks, on Spiegel Online International, by Christian Stöcker, August 16, 2013: Spy on US citizens? We don’t do that, the American government claimed. But new NSA documents published by the Washington Post show that the intelligence service violates the law in thousands of instances. Analysts with the agency are free to pick targets as they choose …;

Egypt’s crisis – The storm before the storm: A bloody confrontation on the streets of Cairo is a damaging development, and could be a precursor of worse to come, on The Economist, August 17, 2013.

Comments are closed.