The world has stood by to witness the increasing horrors of the destruction of democracy in Egypt with the brutal murder of hundreds of grass root supporters of Mohamed Morsi, just over a year after he became the country’s first freely elected President. While the US and EU dithered where to cut off aid to Egypt’s military coup leaders, Foreign Secretary, William Hague, callously insisted that Britain would not take sides whilst recognising the instigators of the military coup as the legitimate rulers of Egypt.
In 2011, people around the globe watched in awe as masses protested peacefully day and night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square until the overthrow of Mubarak’s dictatorial regime. The country was set on course for a floundering democracy with the reluctant acceptance of General Hussein Tantawi, the top military man of the time.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party won the subsequent election with 47 per cent of the parliamentary seats, however, the military and secular parties reluctantly accepted defeat.
Egypt may have been fairly united in overthrowing Mubarak but the uprising never went as far as clearing out the old guard who sought to retain their economic privileges and control of state assets. After losing the elections, liberal secularists and middle-classes played a dangerous game in paving the way for July’s military coup to oust Morsi by artificially holding back fuel to create shortages and dissatisfaction with Brotherhood rule.
As the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood intensified, the west remained largely silent and this silence has allowed the military to storm mosques and instigate massacres, – led by Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The mass killings were even too much for the interim Vice-President Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned from the military ruler’s interim Government and fled to Austria with his family.
Tragically Egypt is heading into a potential civil war as recent parallels are being drawn with the relatively recent military intervention in Algeria after the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won the first stage of national legislative elections held in1991. In contrast, the Islamic Revolution in Iran succeeded in 1979 when the army stopped opening fire on demonstrators and laid down their arms to join the people.
Despite the enormity of the massacres in Egypt, Hague refused to condemn its military leaders, instead expressed concern about the “turbulence”, which he said could continue for years or even decades. The situation was “very bleak” but would not “pick and choose” which side to support in the conflict, he stressed during an interview with BBC Radio Four on August 20. Equally non-committal, Obama was convening a meeting of his National Security Council and Cabinet-level officials but no major announcements about US aid were expected afterwards, according to his spokesman.
The Arab Spring was seen ushering in a new dawn of constitutional rule and pluralistic politics, as well as a new hope of ending decades of military repression. The hope could have been kept alive if the uprising had been supported by the West and if the elected-Ggovernment had its full respect. Instead the West has helped with its burial by refusing to stand up against the military coup. Despicably, it has also failed the Egyptian people by not even being prepared to support their most basic rights, preferring to allow the bloodbath to continue.