The recent tragic events in Egypt reminded me one of Marx’s most quoted statements: History does repeat itself, for the first time as tragedy and for the second time as farce. Here, in his Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Marx was referring respectively to Napoleon I and to his nephew Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III). It was about a comparison of Louis Bonaparte’s coup d’état of 2 December 1851 with that of his uncle Napoleon Bonaparte’s decisive action six decades ago when he seized power and became a dictator, bringing the French Revolution to a tragic end.
We wrote, in these pages, more than a month ago, that : “Months before the recent mass protest movement started, there were indications that the army was waiting for a pretext to intervene and oust the Morsi regime. When the first set of protests started at the end of June, many offices of the Muslim Brotherhood were fire-bombed by shadowy figures. Many observers have claimed that these events had the unique stamp of the same informal interior ministry/ army networks (“deep state”).
So, the path to this sad state of affairs had started by legitimate mass protests, and in a way the military coup was triggered by this popular movement, but it is still a coup, all this does not make it any less reactionary. Given their past record, the army in Egypt can scarcely represent the interests of the Egyptian people. Unfortunately, the recent military coup is the beginning of another dark page in the troubled history of Egypt.”
Unfortunately that dark day arrived yesterday when the crackdown of the Egyptian army and security forces resulted in the murder of hundreds, if not thousands of, civilian deaths in the country. According to most conservative official estimates, more than 600 people were killed and more than 3000 were wounded, most of them civilian, and the body count is rising across Egypt. This is the result, so far, of the “revolutionary” military coup as described by some so-called left/liberal groups in Egypt and abroad
Richard Falk, who is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, comments on the recent events:
It is unimaginable that the remarkable events of the January 25 Revolution of 2011 have morphed into an Egyptian rendition of Hell on earth after little more than two years. The most appropriate emotion of the moment is sadness and empathy for the people of Egypt caught in this terrible maelstrom of barbaric violence. The military coup of July 3, staged with a supposed “democratic” mandate from an enraged populace in a society teetering on edge of chaos, was stained with blood and vindictive violence from its first hours. It confronted the understandable and predictable resistance of pro-Morsi forces with a brutal show of state terror that seemed designed to instill fear and submission, has gave rise instead to a collective display of resolve-unto-death, tinged with a readiness for martyrdom.
The appointment of 19 generals as the governors of Egypt’s provinces, the resignation of Mohamed ElBaradei (the embodiment of liberal secularism), the killing of hundreds more unarmed Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, as well as the declaration of a state of emergency, makes Western diplomatic call for compromise, inclusion, and mutual restraint irrelevant, and pathetic. The only political act that would have any moral credibility at this moment is an unconditional condemnation of the criminal onslaught that General Al Sisi’s has launched against the Egyptian people, made credible by being coupled with a refusal to accept any longer its claims of legitimacy. (Al Jazeera English, 14 Aug 2013)
Keele 15 August 2013