After Wednesday’s mayhem in Egypt, one is forced to ask, what now? For the most populous nation in the Arab world that has strategic significance for the region and the West, the going has been extremely tough since the Arab Spring that started two years ago. In the upheaval sparked at Tahrir Square, the common Egyptian has been the worst sufferer. While governments and officials lord over the nation with the stated intention of ruling it, they do not have to face the onslaught of the security forces, which are out in strong numbers to carry out the orders of the state. It is the man in the street who has to bear the might of the state— a baton, bullet or gas canister.
Thousands have been killed in the country after the revolution was sparked, and a number of them, mostly women and children, didn’t have anything to do with the change in regime or bringing about the revolt. The citizen in the street might be a Muslim or Christian, or belong to a third faith, but his death could make a woman a widow or a child an orphan.
One is appalled at the death toll the carnage in the country has taken. Those in the line of fire of the security forces could be driven by a mission that they want to achieve. But those killed in the crossfire are not.
Though security forces will hasten to point out that death of innocents is part of ‘collateral damage’ in volatile situations, the injustice to the dead or injured can in no way be mitigated.
Security forces shot dead hundreds of protesters, but the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood are not showing any signs of retreat. Not to cower under assault by the state, resilient members of the Islamist movement attacked a government building in Cairo yesterday.
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said that after the bloodbath the organisation had lost its central coordination but anger within the group was ‘beyond control.’ It is this type of disposition that is to be feared. The wounded spirit of the Brotherhood can do more harm to the state machinery and be harmed by the renewed rage of the security apparatus.
The Egyptian military has thrown out an elected president of the Brotherhood. A reprisal was expected, but not at the cost of hundreds of lives.
Condemnations from nations across the world have hinted that the security forces should have exercised restraint in evacuating Mursi supporters from the sit-in sites in the capital. Loss of human life is irreparable. The leadership of both sides should sit together to narrow their differences and prevent more deaths of activists and innocents•