I’ve been offline for a bit, but while I was away Bernews published an op-ed I wrote for them on Egypt.
It was a brief (ish) analysis of the Egyptian situation, the coup and what Bermuda could potentially do about it, namely closing our ports to Egyptian military equipment and passing various legislation similar to those we’ve passed as de facto sanctions against Iran.
There were some interesting comments resulting from that op-ed, and I’m going to try and respond to some of them here:
1) Why are you calling for a coup in Bermuda?
Perhaps the most amusing comment was from someone who, rather comically, misread the op-ed.
I’m not really sure how the individual managed to misread it so radically, but she/he seemed to get the impression that I was calling for a coup in Bermuda, and then went on to lecture me about how bad an idea that would be.
Shockingly, to me at least, the main concerns about a coup seemed to be about losing visa-free entry to the US, or certain UK benefits (such as a UK passport or tuition relief for students studying there). Personally, I would have thought that a coup would have much more serious consequences than those…
In short, however, I did not call for a coup in Bermuda. The confusion seems to have come from the phrase ‘call a coup a coup’ which the individual seemed to take as me ‘calling for a coup’ rather than the ‘call a spade a spade’ which I was doing.
2) Why are you supporting the Muslim Brotherhood?
Those who rebuked me for this also sought to lecture me that ‘things aren’t black and white’. Which is amusing, as they seemed to have taken a black and white approach, both in the sense of thinking one ‘either’ supports the military coup ‘or’ one supports the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as – more implied I think – in the sense that one must either be ‘secular’ or Islamic fundamentalists.
Firstly, I never said the situation in Egypt was black and white, and, secondly, I stressed in the op-ed that opposing the coup wasn’t about supporting the Muslim Brotherhood but about opposing everything a coup means for working people.
A military coup means a suspension of democracy, a suspension of free speech, a suspension of workers rights and bloody repression, massacres, abuses, imprisonment, propaganda and ‘disappearances’.
It also likely means an increased risk of global terrorism, with the ‘democratic path’ for Islamism seen to have been ‘slammed shut’ by the coup. But that’s for another analysis later….
So, I don’t support the Muslim Brotherhood. Nor do I support the coup and the ‘deep state’.
In my opinion the military intervened during the initial revolutionary movement, ousting Muburak and installing SCAF in order to abort a genuine full revolution. As the rule of SCAF itself became untenable they tried the charade of formal liberal democracy with an election which saw the Muslim Brotherhood legitimately win power in formal democratic means.
However, this, too, was an attempt to abort a full genuine revolution, by trying to channel the revolutionary energy into formal democratic pathways, in a way that gave a formal, superficial, appearance of change, without really altering the actual, substantial, reality of the Egyptian State and economy.
While there are various additional factors at play here, and I’m only tracing what I see as the more important aspects, I think the formal democratic option, a ‘charade’ as I called it in the op-ed, failed to contain the revolutionary energies, and the military stepped in AGAIN to abort a full genuine revolution.
And this time they stepped in through a coup and a useful division and conquer move, sacrificing the Coptic Christians and what gains the initial revolution had made in the process.
There are other aspects here, such as the interests of the Saudis and other Gulf nations in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood in general and in rolling back the democratic threat of the ‘Arab Spring’. In some ways Egypt risked being a ‘threat of a good example’ that could inspire further revolutions, and it suited these Gulf nations for it instead to be an example of a different kind.
Ultimately, the situation in Egypt is not black and white, and I do not support the military or the Muslim Brotherhood (although they do have a claim within the boundaries of formal democracy).
I do support a full, genuine, revolution.
3) Have I ever been to Egypt?
I’m going to chose to neither confirm or deny on this one.
Quite frankly, one doesn’t need to have a connection with a country in order to form opinions about what is happening there. Nor does one have to have a direct connection with a country or a people in order to express solidarity with them.
As such, as far as I’m concerned, this question is irrelevant.