On my last update to this site, on the 10th of August, I concluded the piece by saying that the current situation in Egypt is extremely tense and explosive, the people are edgy and jittery and they are holding their breath for what might happen during the next few days, I said that all the signs are pointing to a very nasty and violent explosion and threatens some very serious consequences, the polarization of the Egyptian society has reached incredible levels, the two adversaries were sticking to their totally stiffened and non-flexible maximum positions. Some of my friends and visitors to this blog thought that I was exaggerating and a pessimist, but my pessimism was justified few days later when the new Egyptian authority went in full gear against the two major encampments were hundreds of thousands of Muslim brotherhood supporters of ex-president Mursi were lodging in central Cairo, when in the early hours of Wednesday August 14, and in a huge military operation, the army and the police moved against encampments and were able to evict those who were sitting there, but it was a an appalling blood bath during which thousands of protestors were killed and many more people injured.
Wednesday violence began when armored bulldozers moved into the two major protest camps in central Cairo. The smaller of the two was cleared quickly, but clashes raged for several hours in and around the larger camp at Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque which was very badly damaged and gutted by fire. The carnage on the 41th was one of the most violent days in Egypt’s recent history, it left an untold number of dead and wounded , the Egyptian ministry of health said on Thursday that only 638 people were killed , which was without an doubt a very law estimate, but even if this figure is accepted, it cannot be justified by any civilized measure, it was an appalling massacre, But the new authority were non-apologetic, they argue that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization which is playing a direct role in stoking the violence, something which the brotherhood deny and repeatedly claim that their opposition to the new regime was through peaceful means and insist on the re-instatement of their democratically elected president. Nevertheless, the bloodbath was absolutely dreadful and created a great uproar in many parts of the civilized world.
President Obama Speaking from his holiday home in Massachusetts condemned the interim Egyptian government's actions in ordering security forces to forcibly break up the protest camps. Announcing the cancellation of joint military exercises scheduled for later this month between the American and Egyptian armies he said co-operation with Egypt could not continue as normal while civilians' rights were being rolled back. He said Egypt was on a dangerous path and urged the government to reject violence and adopt a process of national reconciliation.
Other international figures have also condemned Wednesday's violence. The French president, the UN human rights spokesperson called the figures of the casualties released by Cairo’s authorities, even the underestimates they were, were unacceptable by any civilized standard. By the Turkish Prime Minister who called it a massacre and asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss it.
But the new authority were non-apologetic, they argued that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization which is playing an uninterrupted role in stoking the violence. Their spokesmen insisted that the refusal of the Brotherhood to call off their sit-ins precipitated Wednesday's crackdown on them. They, the brotherhood, claim that their opposition to the new regime was peaceful and insist on the re-instatement of their democratically elected president and swore that they were going to continue their peaceful opposition to the new regime until their demands were satisfied, but it was not peaceful because next day there was another massacre.
Egypt is currently in a state of emergency. The interior ministry has given police authorization to use live ammunition in self-defense or when dealing with attacks on government buildings. Many areas are affected by night-time curfews. The US has warned its citizens not to travel to Egypt, and says those already there should leave. And in the latest violence on Thursday, hundreds of brotherhood members set fire to a government building near Cairo which housed the offices of one of the local governments. Seven Egyptian soldiers were shot dead by unknown gunmen in the city of el-Arish in the Sinai region.
Late on Thursday, August 15, it was announced that the UN Security Council was due to meet in a closed emergency session to discuss the violence in Egypt.
The request to hold the session was made by France, Britain and Australia. The august!! Body finally met and came out early evening with a very feeble resolution calling for an acceleration of the efforts to solve the crisis, to stop the violence and refrain from generating more killing. The Council called for the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and to end the violence. Turkey, which described Wednesday's events as a "massacre", has recalled its ambassador to Cairo "to discuss the latest developments". On Friday, the German government warned that further clashes "could plunge Egypt into a chaos of violence and counter-violence and further escalation". It called for a dialogue between the opposing parties, and also widened a travel alert for German citizens, advising them to stay away from the whole of Egypt, and that was all, there was not the harsh and martial resolution under chapter seven of the UN charter, it was all politics and was not a serious help. Meanwhile the situation on the ground was very rapidly deteriorating and very dangerously, all shocking scenarios are possible, both sides were sticking to their maximum positions, both sides were stoking the fire with their actions and their slogans, because instead of a peaceful outcome to the standoff between the two there was another bloodbath.
On Friday at least 60 people were killed in spite of a state of emergency which was in force for one month, when protesters loyal to the ousted President Mohammed Mursi in what they called a march of anger, clashed with the security forces in the streets of Cairo and many other citifies all over Egypt . Most of the reported deaths were in Cairo, but about 25 were elsewhere, including 12 in Nile Delta cities, but I would like now to make very clear that all the numbers I have been quoting are only rough estimates, both sides are not being very honest about their figures. But in spite of that carnage Mr Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said that there would be a week of daily rallies and demonstrations across the country and that they were not going to stop their opposition until the military coup is overturned.
On the day I am finishing this update, the Egyptian situation has deteriorated much further, the blood shed is ongoing, there is absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel, the future of this very unfortunate country, as I have already stated on several occasions in my last three updates to this blog, is extremely worrying and unpredictable.
Now my dear reader, I would like to apologize to you for the sad and agonizing stories which I have been telling you about the current situation in Egypt, but I would also like to acknowledge that I am really saddened and confused by what is going on there. Egypt was in the good old days a source of great inspiration and motivation with its great scholars, physicians and artists. Now Egypt is descending into a dreadful abyss with no end in sight, this very sadly reminds me of what happened almost a thousand years ago, when hordes of wild Mongols under the command of Hulagu khan descended on Baghdad in February 1258 and went on for a whole week into a frenzy of killing and devastating at the end of which tens of thousands of doctors, academics and educators were murdered, and when hundreds of thousands of books, real treasures, the work of some of the best minds mankind has shaped during thousands of years of its march into civilization were destroyed and thrown into the river turning its water black.
The tragedy which struck Baghdad under the Mongols was described by an American author few years ago using the following words, “All the old glory was mercilessly and senselessly swiftly consumed with fire and quenched in blood”.
Sunday August 18, 2013