Following the protests and coup of last summer, many of Egypt’s leading literary figures defected to the ranks of the army. As soldiers raised their guns against protesters in the streets, Leftist and liberal intellectuals cheered them on from the sidelines, explaining why the new massacres of street protesters were so different from earlier ones and why this particular bloodshed was so necessary. Consider one public statement, signed by more than 150 prominent authors and publishers, issued on 5 August 2013:
We, the signers of this statement, assert that the richness of Egypt as a country is in its diversity and tolerance of difference. We declare that the Muslim Brotherhood is an unpatriotic organization. Since its dubious founding in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to sow division in the ranks of the nation. Back then, it opposed Egyptian nationalists in their struggle against the British Occupation and the Palace and, as in 1946, stood side by side with the British against the nationalists. Until the present day, the leadership of the Muslim Brothers has yet to issue an apology for the assassinations its members committed during and after the 1940s. Since the protests of 30 June that have returned the 25 January Revolution to its proper course, we have followed the Muslim Brotherhood’s blatant calls for aggression against the Egyptian state, national institutions and innocent citizens. In recent days, this incitement has led to illegal acts of violence and killings. We, the undersigned make an urgent plea for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a terrorist organization because those who incite violence and murder deserve prosecution for their crimes.
Among the signers were prominent literary figures of different generations, all known for their active support of the 25 January Revolution, including: Bahaa Taher, Sonallah Ibrahim, Miral al-Tahawi, Hamdy El Gazzar, Mohamed Hashem, and Yasser Abel Latif. In the context of lead-up to the Rabaa massacres, it is difficult to read the document as anything but a permission slip to commit atrocities against Islamists. (Read More)