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Egyptians Have Misconceptions, Too


Americans may misunderstand how Egyptians see the struggle between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, but according to Mahmoud Salem, an Egyptian blogger who came to worldwide prominence after the initial Arab Spring uprisings, the misunderstandings run deep in both directions. He offers corrections to what he says are Egyptians’ top-three misconceptions:

  1. The US is not against June 30 (the army’s collusion with liberals to depose of Morsi).
  2. There is no Giant Global Conspiracy against Egypt.
  3. The international media isn’t in the Muslim Brotherhood’s pocket.

He further observes that the army and its supporters seem to think that the Muslim Brotherhood can be effectively removed from Egypt’s public life through violence and intimidation alone. He wants people to start thinking realistically about what this actually means:

If people tell you the strategy is to eradicate them, please remind them that…the MB are…80,000 people. Not only will it take a genocide to kill them all, you will also have to kill their friends and relatives, which is a whole lot of killing, and that is if we discount that there is the internet, where ideas can live forever. So, while its prudent to face those who use violence against you with violence, it is imperative not to help them recruit or win supporters.

There are reports that dozens of Muslim Brotherhood captives were killed by government forces as they tried to escape over the weekend, and others claim that more than two dozen police officers were killed in Sinai today. The state of play in Egypt remains volatile. As the maelstrom spins on, it is well worth your time to take a step back to consider a smart Egyptian perspective.

[Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi gather in Cairo’s Abbassiya neighbourhood on August 16, 2013. Photo courtesy Getty Images.]

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  • johngbarker

    Do you mean that “there is no global conspiracy against Egypt” is a misconception?

  • lukelea

    The Muslim Brotherhood has 80,000 members? I assumed it was much larger.

    • ljgude

      Yeah I had assumed it was much larger too lukelea. The free for all in Syria has already killed about 100,000 according to reports. According to Iraq Body Count about 125.000 Iraqis were killed during US involvement in Iraq. To the extent that all three are civil wars, albeit with clear differences, the kind of death toll they are likely to achieve may be similar in the end. None of them are finished. I’m thinking of the 30 Years War which made this kind of sectarian war in Europe unfashionable. It ended in 1648 and killed between 3 and 11 million according to Wikipedia. After the treaty of Westphalia in 1688 the west largely stopped making mass killing over religious differences such a priority as the ME does today. We may be about a decade into such a period in the Middle East. Famine was a major killer in the 30 Years War and both Egypt and Syria are agriculturally in serious trouble. Modern medicines will probably keep the pestilence down, and it is more difficult to starve large numbers of people in todays world of grain surpluses, airplanes and do gooders. So the arc of history, as our president likes to call it, may follow quite a different path. Killing the MB off is a small task in this environment compared to, say, eliminating the 5 to 15 million Copts in Egypt – from wikipedia again.

  • wigwag

    Whatever Mr. Salem may believe, much of the international media and a substantial portion of the American media is in the Muslim Brotherhood’s pocket.

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