In Egypt, all eyes are on the army

Magdi Abdelhadi writes: There was no way this could end well. Mohamed Morsi and his supporters thought God was on their side, and their opponents concluded that they were up against religious fascists who would turn Egypt into another Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The hyperbole reflects an intensely polarised society and highly charged political atmosphere, where the voice of reason and moderation has been drowned out by the clamour for jihad on one side and for the military to rescue the country on the other.

Morsi clearly thought his speech last night (most probably his last) would be perceived as a heroic stand for democracy. Instead, it was seen by the people he most needed to persuade of his sincerity as a coded message to his most militant followers to unleash war on their fellow Egyptians, viewed as “enemies of the true faith”.

Reactions on social media were almost instantaneous as he delivered his speech on state television, word by word and gesture by gesture. Many were angry that the army had not prevented this man from delivering a speech that in their eyes amounted to incitement to violence. His readiness to die in defence of legitimacy (a word he uttered nearly 200 times) was interpreted as the code word for action by Muslim Brotherhood activists against their political enemies. Instead, it was his supporters near Cairo university who came under attack, and 16 were killed overnight. [Continue reading…]

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