The blood is still flowing in Egypt
A friend posts a link to a story and comments: "Another tragedy: 15 martyrs in Sinai. Only the poor pay the price." Another friend posts a link saying there were only six martyrs, and asks people to stop spreading rumours. While the two are engaged in a heated exchange, a third posts a new link confirming the death toll has risen to 21, only for a fourth to step in cursing everyone without exception because the official toll is now 28 martyrs and 26 injured.
Before the blood dries, every player in the orchestra of media hype will play his part in the symphony of allegiance to the country's leadership, and the destruction of its opposition. Naturally, there will be space for one-upmanship, for one broadcaster to sorrowfully cry and demand immediate executions without trial, and for another who talked endlessly about political accountability during the term of Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi, to now demand the prosecution of those who mention political accountability.
|When all those in studios tire of stoking the flames of incitement, the phone lines will finally open for the seething masses to express their hysteria.|
Then there is the strategic expert who only two days ago announced that the Egyptian army had crushed terrorism, and is tonight banging on the studio desk calling for villagers in the Sinai to be displaced so the army can bomb the area to smithereens. As he does, the show’s head of production glances worriedly at the desk's glass inlay, deciding to deduct its cost from the guest's honorarium if he breaks it.
There is also the state security officer who is constantly ready to seize the opportunity to incite against every rebel that has unsettled his department over the past few years, holding them responsible for the failures of his own superiors.
When all those in studios tire of stoking the flames of incitement in every direction, the phone lines will finally open for the seething masses to express their hysteria, and demand that designated public enemies are burned at the stake so Egypt can regain its normality.
Away from the fire, bullets and anger, Egypt's saviour-leader President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets his courageous aides in the Republican Palace. They repeat what they say after every failure: "We shall avenge. We shall strike with an iron fist. We will show no mercy. Egypt will not bow."
All this while searching for a quick - even fictitious - victory to calm the masses, as the military aides are sure no brave politician or daring broadcaster will demand their trial or resignation.
There are phrases Egyptians no longer hear, and will not hear again. Phrases such as "political accountability".
No one will mention the news reported by pro-government papers two days ago that the head of the army received the first lady on a visit to the Suez Canal. No one will ask what business the army has taking part in such a social visit.
Furthermore, no one will dare to demand Sisi reveals the names of the people responsible for the first massacre of soldiers in the Sinai in August 2012, the names Morsi was repeatedly accused of hiding. No one will demand the prosecution of the people who promised Sinai would be cleansed within two weeks, or who brought the army into disrepute with their Aids-curing kebab skewers, their dreams of building a million homes, and their fantasies of destroying the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
No one will even demand the trial of a useless scapegoat such as Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. Everyone here knows if this were to happen, Adly Mansour, the former acting president, and Sisi himself would also have to be tried.
|On social hatred networks, the vacuous wars will persist.|
On social hatred networks, the vacuous wars will persist. Muslim Brotherhood supporters will suddenly remember the importance of political accountability and prosecuting failures, after talking about second chances and solidarity with the country's leadership in the aftermath of the August 2012 attack in the Sinai. Others will explode with anger, declaring politics is dead and calling for force to do the talking, as if we have done anything except kill politics over the past year and a half.
In such an environment you will be branded a supporter of terrorism if you talk about the dangers of mindless repression blocking the way of peaceful change, as if one is unable to condemn terrorism and those who drive its growth and support it at the same time.
When the pictures of the coffins and parents of the martyrs circulate, media generals will use the images to intensify a war that only creates more grieving mothers. Even though the media circus is finally over, grieving mothers will be left to mourn their sons on their own; the sons they lost to criminality and failure.
God have mercy upon us.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.