by Vladimir Gladkov
Libya, whose NATO-backed rebel army has left a trail of violent chaos across the nation, has become a perfect example of a modern revolution movement. While the American students occupying Wall Street name the Middle East revolutions as the main influence of their protest movement, the Sunday tragedy in Cairo finally proved that the Arab world revolutionaries had overturned one violent regime to pave the way for another.
The recent Cairo massacre ruined the last illusions about the so called “Arab Spring” – a series of revolutionary actions, which occurred in the Arab world during the Spring of 2011. While the West was praising the civil uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Bahrain as the triumph of democracy, the unjustified killing of Christian protesters by Cairo military police vividly demonstrated the true results of the Arab Spring.
But, what is even worse, the new regimes are incomparably more tolerant to Islamist groups than the old dictatorships. Now the West must face the fact that it not just fell victim to a self-created illusion, but also played a major role, supporting the rebels, as in Libya. The questionable revolutionary romance once again made the world ignore the lessons of history.
As The Guardian reports, the demonstration organized by Coptic Christians against the attack on a church in southern Egypt was met by gunfire, opened by Cairo’s military police. At least 24 people were killed and more than 200 injured. The bloody incident became the worst explosion of violence since the 18-day February uprising.
Interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has already tried to ease the inner tensions by taking such a predictable move as blaming the violence on the hypothetical enemies of the revolution.
“What is taking place are not clashes between Muslims and Christians but attempts to provoke chaos and dissent,” stated Sharaf. “The only beneficiary of these events and acts of violence are the enemies of the January revolution and the enemies of the Egyptian people, both Muslim and Christian.”
Such rhetoric could hardly be associated with any positive changes. The attempt to find “a hidden hand” behind the obvious crimes of the authorities is nothing else but a binding attribute of a dictatorship. And, since mentioning a mysterious “hidden hand” Egypt’s government can’t mean anybody else but Israel and the USA, the story remains the same, if not worse.
The attitude towards minorities is a perfect indicator of the social and political climate, especially in a religiously dominated Arab world. Coptic Christians make up about 10% of the Egyptian population and many fear that the new regime, more lenient to the ultra-conservative Islamists, may ignore the problems of the minority group. But the Cairo massacre has outdone the worst fears.
“We were marching peacefully,” said one of the protesters, “When we got to the state television building, the army started firing live ammunition.”
“Thugs attacked us and a military vehicle jumped over a sidewalk and ran over at least 10 people,” said another protester.
Westerners have been praising the role of the social networks in the so-called triumph of Arab democracy. Now the Internet is full of such revelations as this Twitter post:
“Let there be no doubt, today’s killings are committed by SCAF [the ruling military council]. They are the killers.”
The situation in Egypt, playing the leading role in the Middle East, is significant for the whole region. At the same time the other participants of the revolution game don’t fall behind the leader. Libya, whose NATO-backed rebel army has left a trail of violent chaos across the nation, has become a perfect example of a modern revolution movement. While the American students occupying Wall Street name the Middle East revolutions as the main influence of their protest movement, the Sunday tragedy in Cairo finally proved that the Arab world revolutionaries had overturned one violent regime to pave the way for another. And the tolerance of this regime towards radical Islamists remains a problem which the West will have to face really soon.