Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Egyptian Unrest Rises in Social Media

Analysis by Emad Mekay
The Muslim Brotherhood has its own army of the young that will not easily be defeated. Credit: Hisham Allam/IPS.
"BERKELEY, California, Sep 29 2013 (IPS) - Gory social media images that fueled the global Jihadist influx into Syria 18 months ago are back. But this time the outpouring is coming from Egypt.
Pictures on Facebook and Twitter show dozens of bodies wrapped in white burial sheets lying in rows in morgues, hospitals and even mosque hallways. Others show charred bodies with the victims’ brains visible from sniper shots to the head. Most of the posts urge one thing: justice.

“Our self-control now is not out of fear. It’s out of respect for human blood and for the safety of our country,” said one post on an Islamist Facebook page. “If we are pushed too hard and our back is to the wall, we’ll defend ourselves.”
Three months after a Jul. 3 military coup that removed Egypt’s first elected government, hundreds of anti-coup activists have been killed, thousands injured and many more, mostly Islamists, thrown behind bars without charge or trial. The achievements of the country’s brief two-and-a-half years of freedom have been all but erased.
Amnesty International estimates that at least 1,089 people were killed in just four days – the period between Aug. 14 and 18 during the military operation to disperse anti-coup protestors at Rabaa square and Al-Nahda square in Cairo.
Human Rights Watch called the carnage the largest mass killing in Egypt’s modern history.
Weeks later, the military crackdown is still raging, with casualty numbers reportedly rising almost by the day, prompting calls for self-defence among the country’s targeted Islamists.
Al-Qaeda’s ideology of violence as the only path to change, which was discredited by the mostly peaceful changes of the Arab Spring in Egypt, has now received a new lease on life as a possible and viable option after all, according to several observers of Islamic political movements.

“We followed Western democracy prescriptions to the letter, but the minute a Muslim man comes to office, the world looks away. Nobody really respects democracy,” said one Islamist’s Facebook page.
The urge to resist the bloody crackdown has been most pronounced among young people. In private discussions, many of them, especially from the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest Islamist organisation, express frustration with their leaders for preaching gradual rather than “revolutionary” change.
Some activists described the top policy-making body of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Group’s Shura Council, as “dervishes”, an Arabic word connoting being detached from reality.
“The Iranian revolution model might not be so bad after all,” said one activist who asked not to be identified.
The current military crackdown is so ruthless, sweeping and indiscriminate that it has become a personal daily story for many young people, especially the Islamists. There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t had a brother, father or sister killed, arrested or tortured since the coup, the activist said.
If the young decide to take up arms, it will be on a massive scale. Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Salah Sultan, before his arrest earlier this week, estimated the group’s active membership to be between 800,000 and a million, not including their families and sympathisers......"

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