Egypt: Revolution Being Undone

When protesters went back to Tahrir Square in Egypt, late last month, opposing Morsi’s government, I supported their massive demonstrations that brought out some 14 million people. I defended their grievances against and demands for Morsi’s resignation. Unfortunately however, those protests against Morsi gave the military the opportunity and excuse to take it upon itself to intervene and oust the government, through a military coup. Although protesters gave Morsi a vote of no confidence and wanted him out, after only a year and a half, so they could have new elections, the military’s intervention and coup was not what was needed or desirable for the future of the revolution.

After the coup, I gave the organization behind the protests, the Tamarod, the benefit of the doubt in going along and not voicing opposition to the coup. I wanted to see what would come next – What the military would do next and how the organization would react. Regrettably, I have to say I’m deeply disappointed. The military, we now know, did not stop at ousting Morsi and organizing an interim government to prepare for new elections. They moved to crack down on Morsi’s supporters. They upped the ante and opportunistically called for a demonstration to give them the mandate to forcefully go after the Muslim Brotherhood officials and supporters. And, they moved to file bogus charges of espionage and murder against Morsi and his top officials to justify putting then in prison.

But, more disappointing than the actions of the military, was Tamarod’s reaction to all this, which has been acquiescence and even a total surrender to the military, which, taking advantage of the situation and this misplaced and unjustified trust, has taken steps to bring back the old security apparatus, in the name of “national security” and “counterterrorism”.

The reason this is happening is that the revolution, though it succeeded in overthrowing Mubarak, did not touch the military which was falsely and rather naively viewed as on the side of the people. Though the police force was discredited during the revolution, the military, due to the relative restraint it exercised in dealing with the protesters, was not. And, now, using its good rapport with the protest leadership, it’s bringing back the old police and security forces and reopening their stations and torture centers. And, sadly, Tamarod is going along with all this.

What this means, I’m sorry to say, is the co-option of the revolution by the military and its abandonment by the protest leaders. I wrote in my last piece that the movement’s leadership should now demand an immediate stop to the crackdown and persecutions and try to bring Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters back into the movement to forge ahead towards real democracy and social justice. I also said that if the revolution is to succeed, they must eventually come to terms with the fact that the military is the enemy of the people and must eventually be confronted and fought against. Instead, what protest leaders are doing now is the opposite. They’re welcoming the military’s efforts to bring back the security forces of the Mubarak regime in the name of fighting against terrorism. Such heightened security environment will only be used to undo the revolution and ultimately crack down on the secular protesters, too. “Free elections” is meaningless in a society where the military plays an active role and meddles with politics, and more importantly, unleashes the old security forces in the name of “national security” and “counterterrorism”.

Ousting the Morsi regime was not the end of the revolution, and on the contrary, as I wrote in a prior blog, signaled its continuation, as people remained vigilant and continued their activism and demands for democracy and progress which led them to reject the Morsi government. But, siding with and supporting the military which is the most powerful and potent ally of the privileged class and imperialism, and tries to create a wedge between different sectors of the population and cracks down on one and prepares to do the same on others, is nothing but abandonment of the revolution and its goals.

Now that the military has been emboldened by a misguided and misplaced “mandate”, it will continue its aggressive posture and actions which can only harm and derail, and eventually, undo the revolution. It’s up to the movement’s leaders to stop them before it’s too late.

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