To Whose Benefit?

Last night’s bomb-attack in the city of Mansura, aimed at the provincial’s capital police head-quarters is said to have been an act of retribution. ‘Islamist extremists sought to revenge their ‘martyrs’ from the sit-in dispersals in August this year’ suggested the twitter-timeline. For the ‘informed public’ was clear: “the Muslim Brotherhood is behind this”.-

Now from inside Mansura one can hear voices from political parties, suggesting that the heinous act, factually leaving more than 13 people dead and about 150 wounded, most of whom reportedly belong to the police-forces, had been ‘orchestrated’, since the premises on which the car, allegedly carrying the bomb, parked, couldn’t possibly have been brought there, as the street had been blocked for a while, ‘this must be an inside job’.

Apart from the agony, the partly gruesomely wounded victims are suffering, and apart from the grief of the bereaved: what would be the benefit of inventing and carrying out such an insidious atrocity?

The Ministry of Interior surely has a lot to cope with. And they sure will have a lot to explain in the near future.

When the demonstration-law succeeded the abrogation of the state-of-emergency in mid November, the interim government unintentionally opened a second demonstration-front. The old activists came back to the streets and gained ‘glory’ in the local and foreign headlines in protesting this law, which lead to their and other protestors detention resulting into trials for inciting violence e.a.- A typical headline read “Egypt jails symbols of 2011 uprising”, and as almost to be expected: the EU immediately communicated a statement ‘demanding the verdict to be revised’. Is the interim government committing acts of self-sabotage?  – It is irritating that the court-sentence for one of the most prominent activists, who stood as well in the forefront on June 30th, received a hard to believe 3 years prison sentence. I can find this only very exaggerated.

Like a sympathetic amount of anarchy, I take exaggeration as an Egyptian streak. Moreover I’m coming to think ‘Egyptians’ love simplifications and have a strong tendency to despise opinions which are not in full swing with their favorite conspiracy-theories. You can hear sentences like ‘Egypt has been plagued by a bunch of activists who choose to collaborate with MB & terrorists under the pretext of confronting the military.’ Like most of what happens around ‘the state and the opposition’: it causes a constant stupefying dumbness in the conciliatory mind and leads eventually to an adjustment of measure. –

Demonstrations to protest the detention of members of the Muslim brothers, especially their leaders and explicitly ex-short-lived-president Mohamed Morsi have been centered on students, loyal to the Muslim brotherhood. Now the ‘law of retribution’ created another chain of protests against the protest-law and for the release of the detainees who are imprisoned because they protested that law and additional protest in solidarity with jailbirds from the opposition-camp, who had been released in the meantime since their lobby, the HRO’s had put enough pressure on the case.

In the boiling heat of one such protest when already bird-shot-guns were employed, a student, Mohamed Reda, got shot while – accounts differ – ‘he was heading to the administration of the prestigious, governmental, and religiously unaffiliated Cairo University, to get some paper-work done’. The shot had allegedly been fired by security forces. He died. Mohamed Reda became a reason for uneasiness in the ‘middle-class’ citizens spectrum, and a reason for further retribution-demonstrations among activists. Democracy-Meter showed: 511 student protests alone in November; I suppose that’s why the demonstration law had been imposed in the first place.

Yesterday the unfortunate death of a revolutionary Youth had been bemoaned, and went viral on social media: ‘The Egyptian revolution is embodied in Basem Mohsen: he lost an eye in clashes with police in 2011, was beaten by the Brotherhood in 2012 and finally shot in the head in 2013’ (by the interim government’s security forces during a protest). He was 19 years old when he joined the revolution in January 25th, unafraid and always to be found in the forefront.

Aversion against ‘state brutality’ has started to penetrate the layer of the ‘original’ revolutionary stratum.

No wonder.

In the meantime the constitution was almost finished. Among other disappointments it is becoming clear that still civilians could be put on trial by military courts. One key-demand of the Jan25th revolutionaries has been that military trials for civilians must be abolished.

I find it worth considering that writing a constitution in this counterproductive and willfully distorting atmosphere is everything else but contributive to maintaining an elevated frame of mind. So when Amr Moussa, the head of the Constituent Committee openly declared and explained that a constitution must not be regarded as an eternal script but rather a draft which will be adjusted over the years in the process of politics and in accordance with the societal needs, ‘things’ fell back into place for me.-

I strongly believe that fighting for civil-rights is a duty of every able citizen, once the goal is at least feasible, meaning: if there is a comparatively fair prospect of success; otherwise it’s a waste of energy that could be utilized for more productive activities leading to achieve that goal. – What would you need civil-rights for if there are no civilians left? Let’s not forget: Egypt was at the verge of a civil war just in June this year. It is becoming clearer every day that evil forces, commonly referred to as terrorist, seek to undermine a successful nation-building through directing and strengthening malicious activities with every support they can get.. – I’d find it difficult to continue my work sitting at the desk while knowing someone is trying to constantly set my house on fire. Terrorist attacks and assaults, as horrifying as they are, must be confronted and counteracted since it doesn’t look like they’d just vanish through ‘peace as the result of trade’.

Back to Mansura. Why would a government that is already under scrutiny and in dire need to proof itself and put economic plans into action, sabotage itself even more with orchestrating a major terror-attack on its very own personnel?

Assumed, like both major opposition camps have it: the ‘military junta’ orchestrated Mansura to gain the upper hand and make the politically unaware citizens surrender to their wisdom, thus accepting each and every security measure in humble gratefulness. That would presumably lead to the police state and military dictatorship, which some claim we already have. – But how? The police officers will still be the same. The army might have a bit more powers to act with, but for doing what exactly? Who would win?

Everybody knows that a state can only prevail with a certain but crucial number of ‘happy’ individuals. Happiness today and in this context means but gaining one asset: money. How many corrupted citizens does it take to present an embellished and misleading picture about Egypt? A few ten thousands, I reckon. They’d all would want their share of the cake. And now comes the point where the theory sucks. The cake can only be shared if taken off the shelf.

To see what the cake contains, one should look at what the second-revolution-wave, the one after June 30th, represented through the interim-government, already accomplished.

Next to all the already known gigantic, big, medium and small enterprises related to the Gulf countries, the World Bank, the States, the EU and other countries which the interim government succeeded to initiate or revitalize since July 3rd of this year, new projects aiming at internal/local entrepreneurship, are giving reasons for high hopes.

A new focus on Upper Egypt might even lead, evolutionary though, to a moderate kind of decentralization. For the first time in decades, infrastructural and housing problems are going to be solved big-scale in public-private partnerships.

The earnestness with which the call for increase in productive investment is being brought forward in various boards, plus the transparency standards imposed on multi-national-companies to be able to supervise their widely ramified business activities, leaves not awfully much space for ‘human weakness’, namely corruption.-

The syndicate of medical doctors, under the thump of the Muslim brotherhood, always males, for decades is now presided over by a woman, who is a well known Jan25 activist and renowned for her political ambitions and integrity.

This gives me reason to believe that sustainable change is paving the way in Egypt.

The constitution is ready to be voted for or against in a referendum, due by January 14/15th.- Despite the draft is already being slammed as lacking progressive aspects, one should honor the fact that subtle but significant changes have been adopted, as even Egypt’s ‘chief’ human rights representative concedes.

Under the given circumstances namely: the part of the public debate lead by leftists, who are focusing on elaborating on the multitude of shortcomings of the government while having obviously sworn an oath on banning to mention achievements from their comments on the current, the old protests and the new demonstrations.. – This government is quite a success!.-

Life goes on for those who understand how to work productively. Life drags on for those who have little space for creative innovation. Life sucks for those who are destined to follow the flow, since the river runs low.

The “anti-coup” – ”all-is-fine” – ”Mubarak-is-back” sentiments simmering the underlying mood in Egypt constitute of course a challenge to society as a whole.

“The military is behaving in a very heavy-handed way, as militaries are wont to do, and has begun to alienate even those sectors of society that have stood behind it so far. 2014 will see increased tensions between military and security forces and Islamist actors. It will also see worsening relations between the military and the secular opposition, especially the youth. Continuing demonstrations and escalating Islamist attacks on military and security targets in the Sinai and elsewhere will make it difficult, perhaps impossible, to address the country’s economic challenges. Egypt is not out of the woods yet.” Not all too agreeable. As a friend from Twitter has put it: all of the remaining Egyptian Islamists would fit into my reception. I don’t see that ‘Egypt’ is caught up in a stand-off with opposing parties, ready to emerge into a mass-revolt anytime soon, as some already suggest.

But it’s not because the Gulf has poured Billions of Dollars into Egypt’s economy that we have nothing to worry about. Businessmen are cautious.  “Some private sector Gulf investors have said they would not come back to Egypt without collateral to secure their funds, in response to judicial cases raised against their projects following the 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian courts issued no less than 11 rulings in business related cases since the 25 January Revolution, which included abolishing several government contracts concluded during Mubarak’s rule. These cases were raised by activists and lawyers, who believed that public companies were sold at low prices. These judgments resulted in legal dilemmas for several foreign companies in Egypt, which would be repellent to investment and threaten the business climate.” – However. Coming they will. ’Cautious optimism’ is justified.

The ‘cake’ at stake can and will be only distributed, when the country succeeds to find a convincing way to make its governance appealing and desirable, not only their front-man, which is widely thought of as going to be General El-Sisi. The power-of-public-consent is already established, since the government has already lost its ‘untouchable’ nimbus.

Egypt is still in the hibernation-mode, economy wise. – The interim government received a lot of credit as well on their trust- account from its friends and allies. The building ‘the world’ expects Egypt to erect has already most building materials at its disposal. The crucial challenge to solve now is: the statics of the building. Even if General El-Sisi would become president, provided he would submit to the pressure of the people and his fellow cabinet-colleagues and announce his candidacy which will – most analysts and Egyptians agree –result into a clear majority-vote, his presence alone would only provide the shape of the building-structure. The statics would have to come from inside.

The Ministry of Interior seems to be the most grief-stricken breach between the people and the government, and it has never been healed. All the trust, the government earned so far from the majority of the Egyptian people goes to the army and – in the noticeable aspects – to the interim-government.

If the Egyptian government succeeded to find a solution to the terror-problem and if the Egyptian activists succeeded to find an appropriate way to bring forward and promote their grievances, the governmental administrations together with new shaping societal movements could focus on tackling the underlying political, economical, and social challenges the people went into the streets for, back then, on January 25th, having a beautiful future.

There are signs that the leaders in Egypt have internalized the need to seriously address the problems at hand.

Adly Mansour, Egypt’s president, has just formed a fact-finding committee and ordered to investigate all the occurrences of violence after June 30th.- This is revolutionary. It’s still the Middle East. Not very long ago, Egypt had been reigned by aristocrats where nobody was expected to publicly account for anything that could question the whole.. – not because a few thousand Egyptians enjoyed the privilege of a Western education abroad, mostly at very reputable universities, all of Egypt has lost their conservative sense of national identity! Nations are slow to learn..

The question is: will Egyptians support their own cause and eventually sit themselves at the laid table or will they be manipulated into stubborn insistence of an undoable set of priorities and drift into another uprising, from which Egypt certainly won’t recover easily?

In the meantime, having in mind what all happened  after the November 13th and in light of what happened in Mansura last night, I come to believe it would be best to abolish the demonstration-law, reinforce the state-of-emergency with a curfew, Fridays be like other days, and ban demonstrations until the presidential election is over. – As Charles de Gaulle once said: “There is no time to distinguish between the unfortunate and incompetent.”

My conciliatory self prefers to think differently.

Let’s keep in mind: You can’t vote to change the laws of economics. – Egypt is suffering. Some Leftists are already making fun of the governments’ plea to show support and solidarity in combating terrorism. I’m as tired of unproductive comments as I’m tired of protests which embellish featherbrained hooliganism with politics. – May the three days of state-mourning meant to honor the victims of Mansura, bring out the hindsight that retribution leads only to destruction.

Let us reject what we think and accept what we see.  Let violence not be a substitute for wits..

“In the end, the treasure of life is missed by those who hold on and gained by those who let go.” Lao-Tse

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