— Human Rights Watch’s Egypt Director Heba Morayef states on the controversial protest law and ongoing demonstration crackdowns in Egypt under the interim government. Huge and alarming.
Marina Lewycka: Protesters in Kiev who want to be free of a stifling past and Russian power may find western politicians are not so different
Interesting angle on the ongoing new revolution brewing in Ukraine over foreign policy with Russia, the EU. It’s really a catch-22 for these demonstrators, protesting against relations with Russia but then, as the writer states, the EU isn’t so great.
Another showdown? They threaten protests if ultimatum is not met.
We have probably been venturing into the unknown all along; any revolution is essentially an uncertain endeavor. But we try to swerve the revolutionary path towards the collective path.
Islamists suppressed their fascist slogans in the name of religious dissimulation when they participated in the collective revolt of January 25. Our collective chant, “Bread, freedom and human dignity,” prevailed.
But this collective cry has not won yet. We have not won yet. We have participated in part of the battles — sometimes with the generals on our side. Confrontation was inevitable, and so was death. But those who savor the gallows are likely to be hanged. And I refuse to risk my neck. This time, it is also personal.
The battle is complicated and frightening. Side-switching is a common phenomenon in this war, and the drums are banging with the sounds of fear and cruelty. Our voice is struggling to be heard amid the archaic speakers who have long dominated.
We might have survived, but this is not our victory.
I grew up as a teenager in Alexandria, back in the 1960s. My favorite place there was next to a small mosque named after Al Qaed Ibrahim Square by the beach, where we used to relax in the serenity of the cool sea breeze, listening to stories and dreaming of what could be as teenagers often do. I left more than 40 years ago. By those very same marble steps today is a battleground I never imagined the city would have to witness. […]
The stakes are getting higher by the day if not the hour. More than 100 lives have already been claimed in the last week or so. The Tahrir Square phenomenon, the Arab Spring, hailed as a prosperous new era for the people of the Middle East and North Africa, appears to be heading for an ugly finale. […]
The world desperately needs a democratic Egypt to transpire to act as a marker for the Arab world. The loss of life in Syria and stalled transition in Yemen, amid more turmoil in Tunisia and Libya, has only cemented this fact. What message does the international community send to the region if it allows Egypt to descend into another army dictatorship with our tacit blessing, and more than $1.3 billion in US military aid used to suppress a section of society? The dream of the Arab Spring where ideas and voices counted for more than the might of the gun is on the verge of collapsing.
And regardless of the debate over whether this was a military coup or not, the truth is that it happened against a backdrop of a major public movement, and Morsi alone was able to spare the political scene from direct intervention by the army by calling for a referendum or elections, yet he, as previously mentioned, decided not to do so.
And as for the Brotherhood leaders, it’s either they realise the impossibility of his return or not, and if the latter, then they, along with their base, should re-evaluate the situation and face the facts, rather than pushing for a path that only leads to blood and does not yield any gains so spilled blood is stripped of its value.
The blood of the slain will, in that case, be on the hands of those who preferred action over thought, the quest over consciousness, and movement over awareness. And if they do realise that it is a dead end, then they need to be frank with their human bases about it, because it does not show integrity to push them towards, God forbid, bloodshed without being aware of the reason behind it.
If this escalation was meant to improve the conditions of negotiations between the Brotherhood and their opponents -which is the most likely scenario in my view- then that should be clarified, along with the object of negotiations, and whether it is related to shielding particular individuals from being questioned by law, or securing the political scene, or securing the presence of the Brotherhood.
And it is not right to push people towards death by convincing them that they do so in defence of religion or the Islamist project; the point is that what we are experiencing is a purely political struggle. For during the year he was in power, Morsi could not have been accused or was not caught in the act of issuing any law or producing any policy that could be described as Islamic (and what is meant by Islamic here is what sharia specifically commanded or forbade, not what enters the real of the permissible.)
What was proven was that the licences of nightclubs were extended by three hours, and relations with the US were strengthened, and the Israeli embassy held its status quo, and therefore, what drove people to the streets was not Morsi’s Islamism, which would have rendered defending him a way of defending Islamism, but rather his mismanagement. All the factors that his supporters will claim to be a conspiracy (the ministry of interior, the army, the media, the lack of bureaucratic cooperation, etc.) fall under this category, and he is responsible for it.
Countless people had advised him to deal with the situation, yet he did not respond, and his backers said that he knew what he was doing, and accused those who asked him to do so of a lack of wisdom. This is not a time to reproach anyone, and gloating shows bad manners, so it is not necessary to dig deeper into this point.
There is nothing more dangerous to this country than to slip into violence and bloodshed and civil war, and to stop that is the responsibility of everyone. I hope it is not too late now, and that “reconciliation” is not a prerequisite for putting an end to bloodshed, for it is impossible.
Our differences will endure, and in fact, political struggles will increase, yet we must ensure that it does not lead to civil war, and that is first and foremost through taking a firm stand against incitement of violence.
Published about 10 days ago and still rings true.
— Syrian activist Rami Jarrah says on the Egypt and Syria relations
"I saw a man crossing the road. Then — bang — he was shot. I didn’t yet know if he was alive or dead, but it felt so natural to run towards him. He was surrounded by people trying to help. And then I saw this hand," TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev says. He had arrived in Tahrir Square on July 3 — just as the military announced that Islamist President Mohamed Morsi had been deposed — and spent the week photographing violent clashes in the streets of Cairo.
The man, who is not pictured, but whose blood is seen in the image above, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and had been shot as he was on his way to put a poster of Morsi on the barbed wire outside the barracks of the Republican Guard, the last known location of the deposed president. The photograph is featured in this week’s issue of TIME and in the LightBox Pictures of the Week gallery.
Kozyrev had been documenting the turmoil in Egypt since the early days of the Arab Spring in January 2011. (Much of the work has also been featured on LightBox.) The events of the last week, however, were entirely unexpected to him and reflected a different environment than what he had witnessed before. Much of the idealism and inspiration of the initial uprising has been tainted by escalating levels of violence from all sides.
"It’s not just revolutionaries throwing stones. They’re using everything. They have guns on both sides and they can be very aggressive with foreigners," Kozyrev says of the conflicts. Many photographers now come prepared with gas masks and helmets; some even bring body armor. “It’s a rough environment, it’s more challenging for us caught in the middle. But every time I am back I feel like I’m witnessing something important."
Such a violent, complicated situation can be difficult to document visually. Sometimes it calls not for the most graphic or gruesome image, but the most suggestive one.
"I believe the picture of the bloody hand tells more about how fragile and how dangerous this situation is in Cairo right now."
(Photograph by Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME)
Sound familiar? Egypt? At this rate, every nation in the Arab Spring will have experienced a second revolution. Tunisia has had one, Egypt is undergoing on and Libya is threatening it.