Sarah Carr writes: Former President Mohamed Morsi was stripped of power illegally in a military coup, even if this decision was backed by a large majority of the general public.
It was mostly the privately owned satellite media and newspapers that became the army’s court jester, or at least did so with the most gusto. Logos appeared on screens insistently informing viewers that 30 June was a popular revolution, not a coup. Then the terrorism rhetoric began, and the pro-Morsi protesters were no longer just a bunch of skin-disease ridden, cult supporting lunatics, but also terrorists. Again, this happened almost seamlessly. Television presenters indulged themselves in the vilest xenophobia against Palestinians and Syrians, who they claimed were camped out in pro-Morsi sit-ins and meddling in Egyptian affairs.
Only the weakest of evidence was produced to support these claims, including a video of some men dancing dabke to this Palestinian pro-Morsi song. The aim, of course, was twofold: Firstly, to support the claim that the Brotherhood has links with Hamas and other foreign groups involved in acts of insurgency in Sinai, and secondly, to isolate the Brotherhood even further, turn it into a “them” separate from the rest of the population. The fastest and most foolproof way to do this in Egypt is to establish that a group has links with foreign powers. It works every time.
The media campaign has been disastrous for Syrian refugees, whether already in Egypt or seeking to cross its borders. Syrians who want to come to Egypt to flee the devastation in their country must now gain security authorization before doing so. Syrians already in Egypt are quietly being rounded up at army checkpoints and detained—even individuals registered with the United Nations.
The general public was sold. It ran stumbling and screaming into Sisi’s protective arms and nestled in his bosom. Almost overnight, people mutated into barrel-thumping nationalists celebrating a victory against a foreign enemy, when no battle has yet been won and their enemy is one of them. Hot air—lots of hot air — has been blown into former President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s corpse. Perhaps they are trying to blow his spirit into Sisi. Three years after the heady independent days of 25 January, and Egyptians are once again seeking out the army strongman to hold their hand, and an enemy—invented or real, it does not matter—to define and shape their cause. Like all nationalist movements, this is sentiment partly informed by fear and hate. There is nothing of real ideological substance here, no long-term goal other than either containing the Brotherhood or crushing the Islamist movement. [Continue reading…]