by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 7, Muharram, 1441)
In a glass cage in the Cairo Museum lies the mummified body of the Pharaoh, believed to be Ramses II. His body is preserved as a lesson to humanity for rebelling against the power and authority of Allah (swt). The Pharaoh was arrogant and oppressive, and he killed innocent people.
When Bani Isra’il led by Prophet Musa (a) managed to escape from Egypt and crossed the sea, Pharaoh and his army pursued them. As they were crossing the sea, it closed in on them. Naturally they all drowned. As Pharaoh saw his imminent death, he cried out to Allah (swt) saying he was now committed to His existence and wished to surrender to Him. The divine response was that it is too late but that his body would be preserved for posterity to take heed (10:91).
Lest people think that the era of the pharaohs is over, they had better think again. Further, that even though the pharaoh’s body is there for all to see, few people take heed, especially those in Egypt itself. Like sexually transmitted disease, it seems the pharaonic mentality is also passed on to every succeeding ruler. This mentality of oppressing, torturing, and killing innocent people is still very much alive and pervades most strata of society especially the ruling clique in Egypt.
Egypt has had a long line of pharaohs even if they now don the military uniform. They are no less oppressive, perhaps a great deal more than the pharaohs of old. Take the case of the latest pharaoh in power, General ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi. This baby-faced brute in uniform grabbed power in a coup after wading through a river of blood of thousands of innocent people including women and children who were gunned down in cold blood in August 2013. Yet he is welcomed and feted in Western capitals because Egypt is needed to keep committed Muslims in check to protect the illegal Zionist entity in Colonized Palestine.
For comparison, imagine the reaction of the global elite if leading financial institutions were to announce that they planned to hold a conference on market economies in North Korea. Yet the UN did something similar. It announced that in September it would hold a human rights conference on torture in Egypt. Many human rights organizations were appalled and drew the UN’s attention to this absurdity. The UN Human Rights Council realized its folly and cancelled the event.
While it is a welcome development that the UN has postponed a conference in Egypt, the question that should be asked is: why would the UN even consider holding such an event in a country where the regime routinely tortures prisoners? Such events are meant to create a veneer of legitimacy for the dictatorship in Egypt. Is the UN really unaware that the military regime of ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi clings to power primarily on the basis of torturing opponents?
The above reality should prompt people to reflect on how Western regimes routinely complain about the influx of refugees yet it is often the same secular regimes that provide a lifeline to brutal regimes from which people flee to the West.
According to the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK, 762 detainees have died from lack of urgently needed medicines, poor conditions in prisons, and torture. According to Human Rights Watch, there were 1,530 cases of forced disappearances from July 2013 to August 2018. Many human rights organizations say that there are about 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. Oppressive regimes often dispute such numbers, but al-Sisi’s regime makes the outlandish claim that there are no political prisoners in Egypt!
While prison conditions in Arabian countries are appalling, Egypt is in a category all its own. Not only are the physical conditions extremely poor, prisoners are routinely tortured and even subjected to sexual abuse. This is meant to humiliate them in a society where people place a great premium on modesty and honor.
The horrific conditions mentioned above are not the only reason why Egypt is a regional powder keg waiting to explode. The financial plight of the country is equally dismal despite billions of dollars pumped into its economy since the 2013 military coup. In June 2019, Foreign Policy magazine highlighted that Egypt’s economy is collapsing. The Sisi regime is crushing the country under heavy public debt while military spending continues to skyrocket. According to Transparency International, the military controls close to 60% of the Egyptian economy.
The elementary data given above is clear indication that the Sisi regime is a pariah in the polity of nations. Yet its leadership is given legitimacy by Western powers. For example, the EU has numerous projects in Egypt in order to prevent the Sisi regime from collapsing altogether, so that Egypt does not become another major source of refugees flooding into Europe.
The EU’s approach to contain the collapse of Egypt is a band-aid solution. In a country where the leadership openly treats the public treasury as a private bank account and where any dissent is suppressed with extreme brutality, no vocational education projects or NGO capacity building are going to avert the inevitable: a popular uprising with all its attendant negative consequences.
Regimes like the one in Egypt should be left for its people to deal with. It should not be propped up. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen, and the primary reason is that the Sisi regime is the first line of defense for the Zionist monstrosity of Israel.
The security of Israel often takes precedence over common sense and the national interest of many Western secular states. NATO powers and Israel realize that if a people’s government is established in Egypt, it will support Palestinian independence and ease the siege of Gaza. This would be a strategic threat to Israel. Thus, the Zionist lobby outside makes sure that the Sisi regime is given enough support from abroad in order to maintain Israel’s colonial bantustanization of Palestine. The NATO powers’ support for the autocratic system in Egypt cannot be fully understood without the Zionist-Palestinian conflict.
Any assistance given to the regime in Egypt today will merely contribute to future destabilization. Due to the sabotaged failure of the Arab Spring, it will be wrong to assume that the Egyptian people will continue to accept humiliation. Sooner or later the lava of resentment will erupt and Egypt will become a big source of problem for the region and Europe.
The EU should realize that a band-aid solution to stalling Egypt from exploding is a temporary measure that will stop working at some point. A destabilized Egypt will also increase political turmoil in Europe through feeding the narrative peddled by the regressive right-wing forces and exert enormous pressure on the EU’s already fragile economy.
Today’s Egypt is a sign that the Arab Spring will sooner or later be repeated. Detractors of this position will be quick to point at insecurity and economic hardships created after the 2011 events. There is no denial that post-2011 events caused a great deal of misfortune, but it made ordinary people realize that tyrants are not invincible, and that people don’t have to remain silent in the face of abuse. This will prove a huge asset for future changes that are bound to occur.