Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trouble in Egypt: Riots, Molotov Cocktails, Tanks, and Group Gropes in the Streets

As we knew it would things have taken a decidedly deadly turn in Egypt. President Mohammed Morsi's power grab immediately led to demonstrations protesting his autocratic decrees. Those demonstrators opposing Morsi are now being met in the streets by crowds of fundamentalists and rank and file members of the Muslim Brotherhood. NBC and Reuters are reporting that after three hundred or so anti Morsi protesters staged a sit in near the presidential palace a large number of the Brotherhood gathered, ran them off, and burned down their tents. The immediate result of that action was a full scale riot featuring rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The grim figures are seven dead and three hundred and fifty injured. The Egyptian army, who will probably have the final say in all this, deployed at least four tanks and several armored personnel carriers around the palace in order to bring peace to the scene.

General Mohamed Zaki was quoted by the state controlled radio as saying, "The armed forces and at the forefront of them the Republican Guard will not be used as a tool to oppress the demonstrators." Well that certainly is a double edged sword. The General is apparently letting Morsi know that the army isn't going bail his ass out, but at the same time he is telling the opposition they are, in effect, on their own. It would seem the military, the time honored arbitrator of all things political in Egypt, is biding its time to see which way the winds finally blow.

Last week pro Morsi mobs blocked members of the Egyptian judiciary from their offices, harassing and intimidating judges in an effort to make sure their man's edicts went unchallenged. In addition there has been an uptick in the number of instances where women have been sexually harassed and set upon in public. No one really knows if this is due to a concerted Brotherhood effort to keep women off the streets or not. Obviously fundamentalist aren't big fans of women in the first place and the Brotherhood knows all too well that they played a large part in the demonstrations that brought about the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. It has been speculated that some of the attacks seem a bit too orchestrated to come under the heading of just a bunch of wild and crazy guys looking for some fun and a quick, crude, grope, but no one has any real proof. All of this sordid behavior was highlighted by a disturbing video making the rounds on the web that showed a crowd of lechers descending upon a female French journalist as she was making a TV report.

The violence has spread nationwide as Brotherhood offices in Suez and Ismailia have been torched. Also a Brotherhood leader in Alexandria was severely beaten. It is unclear as to how long and far the military will ultimately let the violence go. Obviously Morsi thinks they have his back or he would have never started this putsch in the first place. However, one has to think he never dreamed that there would be such wide spread and determined opposition. Perhaps, as others have done recently, he made the mistake of relying too heavily on his in house pollsters

The only thing truly certain at the moment is that Mohammed Morsi isn't backing off and he is setting himself and the Brotherhood up to run Egypt for a long, long time. Anyone who disagrees with that notion will ultimately be dealt with one way or the other. No doubt a list of names is being compiled at this very moment and if yours is on it you can count on a late night knock on the door sometime in the near future. We've seen this sort of thing too many times and in too many places. Democracy provides a wonderful means of pulling off a huge scam to get yourself elected to power, but once there it needs to be chucked out the window as quickly as possible. I mean if you can't run a country for life, why take the time and trouble to run it at all?

Just ask Hugo, among others.


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