Friday, August 16, 2013

The representation of Egypt in the Western media is completely wrong


From Mr Peter Welby:

Egypt is in some state of unrest. So far, so obvious. Those of you following the news will also have noticed that the Egyptian military has slaughtered hundreds of innocent protestors. That, I'm afraid, is where I have to stop you. Not because it isn't true – it might be – but because it is too early to say at this stage, and too easy to be drawn into a narrative in which one side is portrayed as purely evil, and the other as purely good. That happened in Syria where, without diminishing the deep disgust I have for Assad's government, I have from very early on been concerned that the motives of some of the rebels are not entirely pure either. And the current government of Egypt is not comparable to that of Assad.

First, a declaration of interest: I lived in Alexandria, in Northern Egypt, for 20 months or so, between September 2011 and this spring. I arrived just in time for the trouble surrounding the parliamentary elections. Then followed the Port Said massacre, which sparked incidents all over Egypt, some of which I got caught up in. It is an eye-opener to walk home from the shops carrying the ingredients for apple crumble, while on the streets all around one can hear gunfire, and individuals who only half an hour before one saw hacking at one another with makeshift weapons stream terror-stricken, blood running down their faces, in all directions. The police weren't involved in that particular incident, but it was no less bloody for being a civilian affair.

Then followed the presidential election – I was in Cairo on results day. The streets of that rowdy city emptied, while I (generally more reckless than intrepid) wandered them with my visiting girlfriend and a friend; I have never felt more palpable fear drench the air. In case you're wondering, it wasn't fear of Morsi. It was fear of unrest; further military government; what would happen if it was the 'wrong' result (whichever one that was) – fear, probably, of what would happen when one chose one's leader for the first time in Egyptian history.

Well, it was the right result as it turned out: the one that wasn't followed by violence or accusations of fraud (though I wouldn't struggle to believe them). So there were some wild promises. Apparently, President Morsi would fix the security problems, provide affordable food, reduce the dreadful traffic, and clean the streets of rubbish, all within the first 100 days! Truly he must have been some kind of superman! Except, predictably, he wasn't. And therein lies the problem.

His Grace asked me to write about the state of the Christians, and I will. But one cannot write about one group in Egypt without writing about the whole, so bear with me in my diversions. Christians in Egypt have had something of a poor deal since long before the arrival of the Muslim Brotherhood. In January 2011, weeks before the revolution, a church in Alexandria was bombed, leaving more than 20 dead. But attacks like this merely demonstrate a deeper discrimination. If you are Christian, you will not get a senior job in the government, civil service, or army. You'll be quite lucky to get a government job at all, apart from your national service, in which your pay will barely be enough to eat on.

However, we do ourselves a disservice by overstating the plight of Egyptian Christians. Many live comfortably, and while there are many who are poverty stricken, the same is true of all Egyptians. Christmas is a national holiday, and church bells ring on Sundays. But amongst Christians the atmosphere is one of deep concern, bordering on paranoia. One friend told me of how it is much harder for Christians to get Western visas, because the visa staff are all locally employed Muslims, and religion is stamped on one's passport. I don't know the truth of that, but am reminded of the saying that just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean I'm not persecuted. And societal divisions are growing, despite protestations to the contrary. These divisions are fuelled by ignorance of the other – one Muslim friend thought Christians worship three gods – and conspiracies about Western ‘fifth columns’, and they lead to incidents such as the attacks on churches in Suez and Upper Egypt over the past few days.

The Christians were as varied in their voting in the presidential election as everybody else was. Some I knew even voted for Morsi in the second round: better the Muslim Brotherhood than the old regime. Most didn't vote either way. And a few voted for Shafiq, the Mubarakite, with reasoning ranging from 'better the devil you know' to 'we were served well by Mubarak'. But in largely supporting the overthrow of Morsi, they were in line with the will of the majority of Egypt: Pope Tawadros stood side by side with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar while the people, once again, rejoiced in the streets.

It's hard to state just how the army, the saviours of the revolution, were despised by June 2012. They had failed, utterly, in their prime task for the interim: to govern Egypt. The fact that they were lauded as saviours again just a year later shows just how the Muslim Brotherhood had failed at the same task. People had voted for them for a variety of reasons. They appeared to be pious, undoubtedly. They were organised – a big advantage in a country with no other viable opposition. They cared for the poor. They had been oppressed – targeted, more than the general oppression – by the old regime. And yes, some people wanted Islamic government – but in my experience, that's something the majority accepted as the price of good governance, not as an end in itself. And that's where they failed. They didn't provide good governance; in fact, things got worse, with rolling blackouts and hours-long fuel queues, rising prices and declining security. They didn't even provide unity: Morsi promised at the start that he would be the President of all Egyptians; he clearly meant it in the Mubarakite sense, that he would govern all Egyptians, but would govern for the benefit of his allies only.

He kept the benefit of the doubt, mostly, until November 2012, when he issued an infamous Constitutional Decree placing himself and his orders above the courts. The partial purpose of this was to rush through the new Constitution, steamrollering the Christian and secular opposition in the process. Most of them walked out, preferring not to be part of such a flawed document. Morsi's government's credibility was near its nadir at this point, and though the Constitution was passed, it was on a 33% turnout.

Most of my friends, Christian and Muslim, were strong supporters of the revolution, and were dismayed by the route it took. They wanted a new Egypt, and got instead the slaughter of nearly 30 Christians protesting the destruction of a church in October 2011; or the Port Said Massacre; or a constitution that ignored them; or the storming of the Coptic Cathedral in response to a swastika daubed on a wall by children (the reason for the riot: it looked like a cross); or now, the events we've seen over the past few days.

The problem with talking about Egypt in simple, secular vs. religious terms is this: most don't care who or what governs them, provided it has legitimacy of one sort or another. Most don't care about most of the government's policies, so long as they are not affected too dramatically. For the majority, good governance is the key, and if one can have good and pious government, so much the better. In a country like Egypt, this is likely to lead to Islamic parties in government. But if they fail, we have seen that it will also lead to Islamic parties out of government.

The coup, when it came in early July, was something of a relief. Friends still in Egypt tell me that the representation of Egypt in the Western media as roughly split into two camps of equal size is completely wrong. Fine, the opposition (as it was) exaggerated the numbers protesting for Morsi's overthrow: 30 million is ridiculous. But 10 million is feasible – and imagine David Cameron staying in post if an equivalent proportion protested for his dismissal in the UK. The same friends tell me that they haven't noticed very much from where they are in the past few days. I can well believe it: for most of my time in Egypt, all I knew first-hand of the troubles were peaceful marches going past my house, and an unfortunate habit I had of blithely walking into riots without noticing. But when one is close to a riot, it feels like it takes up the world.

It was shortly after the constitutional referendum that I moved to Sidi Gaber in Alexandria, into a flat that overlooked the square in front of the train station where most protests in Alex happen. On the other side of the station were the Muslim Brotherhood offices in the city. Three months living here gave me quite an insight into the life of a protest, watched beginning to end with a birds-eye view. Friday night was protest night, with occasional extra nights thrown in. It is this experience that makes me cautious of believing one side or the other when it comes to the recent clearance of the camps in Cairo. I'm no fan of the security forces: I've been gassed (I don't recommend the experience) and had shot land on my head too many times for that (it sits in my wallet as a reminder). But in almost every protest that I witnessed, there was a curious group that didn't seem to fit into the police or the protestors. Armed thugs attacking either side, and providing both with an excuse to say the other attacked first.

I can understand the Western media's concentration on the bloodshed. Every life lost in political violence is a tragedy and a waste. But I would sound a few words of caution. Be careful in what you believe about body counts: at this stage, no one knows. Be careful in thinking that this is representative of Egypt: it is for the reporter, because they have lived through it, but it isn't for most Egyptians. And be careful of thinking that the pro-Morsi protests are large or popular: for most they're a nuisance, and even those who supported him are largely concerned with not being excluded from the next round of this revolutionary dance.

So pray for the Christians in Egypt, certainly: they need it. But pray for all of Egypt too.

Peter Welby studied Arabic in Alexandria from 2011-13. He now lives and works in London. A fuller account of his Egyptian experiences can be found at his blog AlexandrianNotes. He also tweets – occasionally – @pdcwelby. All observations expressed in this post are his own.

36 Comments:

Blogger Martin said...

Seems to me that the trouble with News reporting is that the past needs to be remembered at the same time as the present is presented. A job the press seem to find impossible.

16 August 2013 09:09  
Blogger Martin said...

One does wonder why the World & his wife are tweeting this blog.

Who is Peter Welby anyway?

16 August 2013 09:21  
Blogger David B said...

I thought that report very believable, and fair. While I don't pray I deeply sympathise with all Egyptians suffering in the present unrest and turmoil, other than those who wish for and agitate for theocratic government of any stamp.

I did notice, and cannot resist commenting on, the bit where he said that people seeking visas were often denied them by Muslims because their religion was recorded in their papers.

A secular government should not have such things so recorded.

David

16 August 2013 09:28  
Blogger bluedog said...

Martin @ 09.21, possibly the son of Marcus Welby MD?

16 August 2013 09:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

How about son of Justin Welby?

16 August 2013 09:57  
Blogger Dunstan said...

As with so many of these cases, the attempts by mainstream media to make a "story" mean it has to be oversimplified: this piece reaffirms the normal case that "it's more complicated than that". Who remembers the stunning television pictures of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness at Stormont - an iconic image of reconcilliation. And who remembers the catalyst for this step: water bills.

But we have been conditioned into simplified news: the body count; the picture of a building on fire; who's good and who's bad. In Syria much of the media is cheering on an odious group of rebels whose only virtue is that they're pitched against an odious incumbent. While the general population are interested, as Peter writes, on good governance that enables them to lead their lives, just as the people of Northern Ireland were more interested in the size of their water bills than whether it was a Unionist water bill or a Republican water bill.

Media, today and always, is about reporting the extremes. In a protest of 100,000, the camera will be focussed on the 20 who are throwing bricks. In a city scene, the camera will be zoomed in on the building that's on fire. The reporters and photographers are doing their job: creating the image with the maximum impact. But pieces such as this, that give a chronic view of the situation rather than an immediate and acute one are vital.

Thank you so much.

16 August 2013 10:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Dunstan,

I agree.

An account from what I assume is an honest non-journalist ( son of ++Canterbury ?) shows reality as far more messy than the sort of kindergarden goodies/baddies simplified story that we are served up by our national media.

16 August 2013 10:49  
Blogger John Wrake said...

My thanks, also. It is good to read a report based on knowledge of events, rather than the desire to sensationalise.

We all suffer from news reporting by those seeing the extremes and broadcasting them with no real attempt at achieving balance. It is shoddy journalism.

Another example on BBC's 'Today' programme this morning about Balcombe. Interview with a protester, countered by a bystander with a different view (to give balance!), followed by the Government Minister spelling out official views in favour of fracking, but no reasoned counter to his words.

My reference is not to the subject matter as such, but to the shoddy journalism displayed by the national broadcaster.

Treatment of news items across the world follows the same pattern. As has been said "A lie crosses the world while truth is still getting its boots on."

John Wrake

16 August 2013 11:03  
Blogger David B said...

Good comments from John David and Dunstan, too.

David

16 August 2013 11:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The answer to understanding lies in the makeup of the north African. Hair trigger mania is an innate trait. That makes it a racial matter. Democracy then cannot succeed, as democracy implies a respect for your opponent. Democracy implies that if your opponent wins, you put up with that and make no attempt to kill him. Does anyone think the Brotherhood of Islam would accept that ?

Some countries were just made for strong arm dictators...

16 August 2013 12:04  
Blogger bluedog said...

OIG @ 12.04 says, 'Some countries were just made for strong arm dictators...'

It may be more accurate to say that Egypt is a country where the peoples' chosen vehicle of democracy is not approved by a number of important other countries. The West, including Israel, doesn't like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab tyrannies who finance Egypt are terrified of the Muslim Brotherhood, ditto the Egyptian officer corps who own the guns. So after a brief period of maladministration, further marred by burning churches and police stations, it seems that Egyptian democracy has used up its political capital and the consensus view is, enough!

This communicant was secretly hoping that there was enough Greek DNA (Alexandria?) left in the Egyptian population for democracy to gain a foothold.

16 August 2013 13:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Excellent post - thank you.

These divisions are fuelled by ignorance of the other – one Muslim friend thought Christians worship three gods

Isn't that what the Qur'an more or less says (or is taken to say):

And when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'"

No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah!

So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a 'Trinity'—stop, that is better for you—God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust.

16 August 2013 13:43  
Blogger Martin said...

OoIG

There is only one human race, descended from Noah.

16 August 2013 14:19  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

one Muslim friend thought Christians worship three gods

He thought it because Islam teaches it. The greatest evil in Islam is shirk, associating partners with Allah. In worshipping the Trinity, Christians commit that greatest sin and directly insult Allah himself.

16 August 2013 14:41  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

OIG,

The problem is that the democracy would have been short lived and the MB wanted to recreate Egypt into an absolute Islamic state (ironic that seems to be happening in Libya, Tunisia and with the rebels in Syria).

It is quite simply that democracy/parliamentary government or liberal democracy is a western idea, from western history, philosophy and whilst other nations have adopted this into their own culture to a degree, usually where western influences have been the largest; Japan & India spring to mind and Israel is of course heavily influenced by western European and British common law.

But what is clear is that Parliaments/democracy/liberal democracy (unless a fig leaf, token or highly subscribed version) is incompatible with Islam, as can be seem from the various regimes in the middle east and just about any form of Islamic government on this plant.

I would concede that there are those who think wealth can produce a democracy, or is a requirement, but look at oil cash cow of Saudi and the Gulf. They are swimming in cash there, but the citizens are still restless and there is little democracy either. By contrast Israel started out as an third world state, which built herself up, by colossal efforts and India is still relatively poor, but manages (just about) a two party system, without military coups.

Now if we accept that democracy isn't a universal concept which can apply to all (clearly it doesn't because most of the world is distinctly not democratic in the way we understand it), this leads to the question of why bother with these countries?

Yes there is humanitarian concern, but as we've seem intervention (Libya) backfires. So the key issue for the west is to make sure, in the event of this going to full civil war, there is a naval taskforce to keep the Suez canal open.

The issue is what western nations are going to let these Christian refugees if it gets to point of a bosnia/rewanda type blood bath? No, I didn't think that there would be much takers, but wouldn't 9,000,000 copts and a few million other Christians from the middle east, it at least strengthen the 'Christianity' of Europe?.

Finally, for Israel, it would be better for the military to be in control (and having to focus on running a country of 100 million people) than some MB come Islamic Republic, who would doubtless focus on Israel, zionist bashing, trouble making with Gaza and Iran....

16 August 2013 16:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We’ve all been brainwashed for decades by our liberal media telling us that democracy is not just one form of governance, it is the only ACCEPTABLE one, from an armchair middle class view of the world on television. Absolute rot !

The only acceptable form is the one that works. In Egypt that is clearly a strong man ruling by decree. Without it, the Copts are finished. The very idea of Mohammed canvassing out there with a rosette pinned to his chest is high up on the most ridiculous concepts this man has ever considered. What would be the voting cry ? “Vote for Morsi and he’ll make Egypt Islamic filthy in a few short years”. “We’ll let you convert the Copts or kill them”.

So what’s worse. Genocide or muslims shedding their own blood. The second of course, because it’s the Islamic extremists who are being taken out by the steel bullet. The more the merrier. One would say that the average Egyptian doesn’t care who is in charge, so long as he can live in peace and raise a family. He’s like us then. He want’s firm government, and doesn’t care if the top man was put there by an election, or muscled his way in.

Thus, Egyptian democracy is a dead duck.

Martin. You may believe that you are descended from the proprietors of a floating menagerie, but don’t you feel rather stupid at times when discussing our origins in grown up company ?



16 August 2013 17:11  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

I'm amused to read that Mr Welby thinks he has muslim friends.

16 August 2013 17:33  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

We are hearing much about the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood was fairly and democratically elected and I thought they must have had some sort of manifesto. They did; and chose the formal communication of their founder written in the 1920s and reproduced it in 2007( below) with the source at the end.


We should be aware of what the MB stands for as no doubt they will have supporters embedded throughout the West. To say that Islam is a Religion of Peace a lie; if this is 21stC Islam we should be very concerned – no surprise they were banned under Nasser.

And in the words of the Almighty:

‘Fighting is prescribed for you, though it be detestable to you. But it may be that you detest something which is good for you, and it may be that you love something which is bad for you.’
(Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 216)

And have you ever seen a military proclamation in any other sacred book whether recited in prayer, through dhikr(remembrance), public worship and private communion with Allah, like the proclamation which begins with an abrupt command in the words of the Almighty:
‘So let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the next!’
(Surat-an-Nisaa’ (4), ayah 74)

Islam and the Armed Forces
.
Similarly, upcoming nations require strength, and need to implant the military spirit into their people, especially in these times when peace can only be guaranteed by preparing for war, and the slogan of its people is:

‘Strength is the surest way to guarantee the enforcement of justice.’
Islam never overlooked this factor, but in reality made it a stringent duty, and in no way differentiated between it and prayer or fasting. There is no regime In the entire world, which has concerned itself with this factor, (neither in old nor in modern times) to the extent that Islam has in the Qur"an, and in the Traditions and life of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). This is presented in clear and exemplary fashion in the words of the Almighty:

‘And prepare against them such force and troops of horses as you can, by which to frighten the enemies of Allah and your enemies.’
(Surat-al-Anfaal (8), ayah 60)
And in the words of the Almighty:

‘Fighting is prescribed for you, though it be detestable to you. But it may be that you detest something which is good for you, and it may be that you love something which is bad for you.
(Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 216)
And have you ever seen a military proclamation in any other sacred book whether recited in prayer, through dhikr(remembrance), public worship and private communion with Allah, like the proclamation which begins with an abrupt command in the words of the Almighty:

‘So let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the next!
(Surat-an-Nisaa’ (4), ayah 74)

Following, are the principal goals of reform founded on the spirit of genuine Islam:

Political, judicial and administrative goals

(1) An end to party rivalry, and directing the political forces of the nation into a unified front.
(2) Amending the law, such that it conforms to all branches of Islamic legislation.
(3) Reinforcing the armed forces, and increasing the number of youth groups; igniting in them the spirit of Islamic jihad...


much more.

http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=802&ref=search.php

16 August 2013 17:42  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG,

Here's another one for you:

Democracy:

An institution in which the whole is equal to the scum of its parts.

16 August 2013 18:20  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Western countries traversed much cultural terrain before they even began to move towards democracy, as now defined, one vote per adult. We experienced the Renaissance, the Reformation, the counter Reformation, the Enlightenment, the industrial and agricultural revolutions plus so much more, and then, but slowly, the adult male franchise was enlarged, and it grew and grew and finally women were included in two stages, ending in 1929, I recall. We slowly gained respect for differences, religious ones especially. It all takes a lot of time.

OK in France they went about things rather more drastically , but look at the bloodshed and bitterness that caused. And those French originating Humanist ideas are still causing serious mischief via the EU , as it seeks to superimpose them onto the locally derived, more culturally appropriate laws of individual countries.

A slower, more organic form of social and legal evolution, appropriate for that culture, is the only safe, enduring way for a society to progress. It can not be imposed from outside. The naivety of these arrogant, foolish I would say, western "leaders" who think that our sort of model of governance and tolerance, can be simply grafted onto utterly alien cultures never ceases to amaze me.

16 August 2013 18:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brilliant IanCad !

16 August 2013 18:33  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG,

The author was one Keith Preston; one of several nuggets I picked up from the Collins Gem Dictionary of Quotations, a pleasant companion on an otherwise tedious Norwegian cruise.
Experience leaves me fully persuaded that if a man is to truly relax his wife must travel on her own.

16 August 2013 19:14  
Blogger IanCad said...

Peter Welby,

A sensitive, perceptive and well-written post.
Thanks.

"So pray for the Christians in Egypt, certainly: they need it. But pray for all of Egypt too."

The Sabbath is coming on. We will indeed pray for them.

16 August 2013 19:40  
Blogger Peter D said...

"But in almost every protest that I witnessed, there was a curious group that didn't seem to fit into the police or the protestors. Armed thugs attacking either side, and providing both with an excuse to say the other attacked first."

Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists inciting violence, perchance?

Mike Jagger, 'Sympathy for the Devil', anyone?

"Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game"

16 August 2013 22:23  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

Inspector General, Sir:

We’ve all been brainwashed for decades by our liberal media telling us that democracy is not just one form of governance, it is the only ACCEPTABLE one, from an armchair middle class view of the world on television. Absolute rot !

As a fully paid-up member of the armchair middle class, that is certainly my view. Which is why I think, if there's one thing even worse than than the Moslem Brothers, it's General Sisi who is now, it seems, the self-appointed all-powerful Hosni Mubarak II.

16 August 2013 22:27  
Blogger Nick said...

Many Thanks Mr Welby

Hearing a first-hand account takes me closer to the reality of the situation than the processed news we get through the media.

I am not surprised that the situation is much more complex than it is sometime portrayed to be. It does also seem that the West has a fundamental misunderstanding of Middle Eastern culture and mindset. The West made a similar mistake when it deposed Saddam Hussein, believing that once the brutal dictator was gone, peace and democracy would flourish.

Instead, without the restraint of state repression, the factions were free to fight each other at will. State violence turned to street violence. It is sometimes hard to see which of the two is preferable.

I am still astonished at how Western poiticians think they have the answer to Middle Eastern problems. Democracy and power-sharing are not easy ideas for people used to oppression. Offer them democracy and it is likely that someone will abuse it. Some will also look at what Western democracy has given us and decide they have no desire for that kind man-worshipping hedonism.

16 August 2013 22:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Brian Gould. The rather good news is that we can do business with General Sisi. Obviously a disciplined soldier first and a muslim second. His first and greatest attribute being a man of order as you might expect, and thus viewing disorder with contempt. Sorry old chap, but this only goes to re-enforce one’s theory that these hot headed religious zealots need to be kept under control by the bullet, or flamethrower - one’s particular weapon of choice when it comes to excitable and murderous adherents of the religion of peace...

16 August 2013 23:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

"We’ve all been brainwashed for decades by our liberal media telling us that democracy is not just one form of governance, it is the only acceptable one, from an armchair middle class view of the world on television. Absolute rot !"

A Catholic opinion - finally!

There is no one superior, one size fits all, political system that is universally suitable.

A particular leader has to conduct himself for the greater good of a nation, and rule on behalf of all its members. "Order" has to be achieved by appropriate means on behalf of all the peoples of a commonwealth.

Remember, Hitler, Stalin and Mao all sought "order" to achieve certain ends.

17 August 2013 00:14  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

Inspector General, Sir:

The rather good news is that we can do business with General Sisi.

For the time being, yes, no doubt. But I’m afraid it may not last. Please bear in mind that, for years on end, Hosni Mubarak’s “security” services tried very hard—with no armchair middle class prejudices against arbitrary imprisonment, death squads, and torture—to crush the Moslem Brotherhood. Last year’s election result proved that they failed. It was the first time the MB had been allowed to contest an election and it romped home, with a far bigger share of the vote than any other party. Now that the MB has enjoyed a whole year in power, acquiring experience in managing government affairs, it must be in better shape now than ever before to prepare for a return to power, by whatever means it can lay its hands on.

17 August 2013 00:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Brian Gould. One of the aspects of Islam is how remarkably insular it is. There is actually no world wide plan of domination. It’s whatever happens on a day to day in a locality. This is one of Islam’s weaknesses. We can work on that. So don’t be surprised if General Sisi is feted in the West for ‘rescuing’ Egypt this time next year. All he has to do is to equip his civil area troops with plastic bullets. No more killings, and then he gets invited to summits. They say its called real politic, you know...


17 August 2013 00:44  
Blogger Peter D said...

Brain G

How would you deal with people who are violent persecutors of Christians both when in power or out of power?

When violent fanatics refuse to talk the tank, the machine gun and the pistol is all that is left.

Do not allow yourself to believe the real persecutor is the innocent lamb slaughtered by the evil soldier.

Dealing with fanaticism means blood will be shed. One side and one side only will win in this struggle and will crush the other.

17 August 2013 01:03  
Blogger Gnostic said...

That is probably the most believable report I've read on this matter. Thanks you.

17 August 2013 06:51  
Blogger Peter D said...

To appease or to confront evil?

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only bad and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
(Manuel II Palaiologos, 1391)

Quoted by Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensburg lecture, 12 September
2006. He was urging the use of reason as the foundation for dialogue between faith groups and illustrating a certain lack of reason in Islam.

Google the various reactions from Muslims, and from world and religious leaders (including Pope Francis) - very interesting.

17 August 2013 12:58  
Blogger Mark said...

"Morsi promised at the start that he would be the President of all Egyptians; he clearly meant it in the Mubarakite sense, that he would govern all Egyptians, but would govern for the benefit of his allies only."

Sounds like an American President I know.

17 August 2013 15:12  
Blogger LEN said...

Islam and 'democracy' are seemingly incompatible.

After 6,000 years of misrule by man who has tried every sort of `ism and has failed and is still failing we are witnessing the final 'winding up' of the attempt by man to form an alternative to the Rule and Reign of Christ.

17 August 2013 17:42  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Indeed, quite amusing, Peter D. My favourite one, by Ahmad Khatami, "one of Iran's most influential clerics" according to Wiki is his suggestion that the Pope "fall on his knees in front of a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam."

Good point; nothing sells Islam as well as being on one's knees before a mullah holding a sword.

18 August 2013 22:52  

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