Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Massacre at Cairo Reminds Me A Bit of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919

The British seemed to have no conception of what they had done that April day in Amritsar, Punjab, when some 1,500 of their Indian subjects were killed or wounded in a massacre that shocked the conscience of the world and galvanized the Indian peoples against the British Raj.

Instead, it didn't seem to the British they'd done anything wrong at all; the Wogs were told that public assembly was forbidden. They knew they were breaking the direct order of their British overlords. What did they think would happen to them, hm? Besides, there were reports that some of the insurrectionists were armed and prepared to do battle. Can't have that.

So. They were shot down in their multitudes, nasty bit of work, but it had to be done. Otherwise the Wogs might forget their place and get above themselves, you see?

So it seems to be in Egypt as the military scrambles to justify its massacre of pro-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo as something that simply had to be done. There have been reports and videos made available that seem to show individuals in or adjacent to the crowd firing on security forces, or at least firing weapons, as it is not entirely clear who they are firing at or when, exactly, the videos were acquired. However, how this justifies the killing of more than 70 demonstrators, and the injuring of many hundreds, even up to 1,000,  including shooting many of them in the back, remains something of a mystery.

That the Egyptian military doesn't see anything wrong with it, because after all, they claim they were fired upon and under the circumstances they had no choice but to fire mercilessly into the crowd. No choice at all. There have been reports, after all, of one or two soldiers killed and some few wounded in the melee. Can't have that. There's been a "coup" (that's-not-a-coup) and Morsi has been deposed. His partisans are free to go home and sit quietly until the security forces come to round them up. This is how a peaceful political transition works in the post modern world. Time to get with the program.

Whereas the Amritsar Massacre galvanized and solidified opposition to the British Raj in India, it is widely speculated that the Massacre at Cairo will trigger all out civil war in Egypt. While the British motivation was simply to intimidate and terrify the Natives into submission and compliance, there are many advocates of the Neo-Liberal program who are eager for civil war in Egypt, though from what I've been able to glean, the Egyptian People are not and will do everything they can to avoid it.

Civil war -- in Egypt or anywhere else -- is a neo-liberal profit center on its own account, and a civil war that consumes an adversary of Israel is a bonus. Oh, yes, it's all but foregone that Israel has been busy meddling in Egypt just as it clearly has been meddling in nearby Syria's civil war.  Such things are seen as part and parcel of the Israeli national interest.

Speaking of "interest," it's been interesting, no, it's been fascinating, to see how media is literally tying itself into knots reporting on this incident without actually calling it what it is. For a time, the Guardian was even running a headline that referred to the unpleasantness as an "alleged shooting." By the time they acknowledged that the "alleged" perhaps did take place after all, they had shifted to calling it a "massacre" in scare quotes, much as a good deal of the American media calls the military overthrow of the elected government of Egypt a "coup." In quotes. It's the old "Some people say" gambit. And it looks really stupid and really ugly, but there you are. Or rather here we are, since none of us can really escape the nonsense or the ugly. It permeates everything.

It can't be a coup, you see, as opposed to a "coup," because if it is a coup then the United States is legally obligated to cut off funding to the Egyptian military which precipitated the "coup" and thus deny it the financial wherewithal to complete its mission. Good heavens! Can't have that! Round and round it goes.

We are supposed to work up some kind of Two-Minute-Hate against the Muslim Brotherhood, but it's not really working out too well. One of the excuses for hating them was supposed to be that they were sending fighters to Syria to join the rebels against the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War. That excuse fell to pieces, though, in the face of American government's announcement of support of the same rebels. Oh. That. Well. Who's to say who's right? Hm?

Then there was the aborted attempt to make Morsi into the latest New Hitler by claiming he was "consolidating power" and attempting to institute an "Islamic" regime thereby. That is what is said to have precipitated the round of Tahrir Square demonstrations that led to the military overthrow -- accurately called a coup -- of the elected government of Egypt, the abrogation of the constitution, and the replacement of the Morsi government with lackeys of fascism, imperialism and neo-liberalism.

Essentially, the chief technocrats and operators of the Mubarak regime have been brought back and reinstalled in positions of power. Oddly enough, as much as many of them disliked the course Morsi was on, reviving the Old Pharaoh's regime is not quite what the People wanted.

So far as I can tell, the elected government of Egypt got into trouble when it disrespected the financiers and the financial interests that wished to make Egypt into another profitable colony. They were basically told to pound Giza sand, and so they set out to make life as miserable for the Egyptian people as possible by cutting off sources of financing for much of anything the Egyptian government might want to do on behalf of the People.

There was no cut off of funding for the military of course. And when Morsi arrogantly set out to cleanse the military of corrupt officers and to reform its operations, the military dug in its heels and said "No you won't!"

This stand off led to public demonstrations on behalf of the military -- which controls most of what is left of the Egyptian economy and thus is a primary source of jobs and income for millions of Egyptians -- which grew as more and more economically distressed Egyptians joined in protest against the economic squeeze middle and upper class Egyptians have been under thanks to the anti-neo-liberal policies of the Morsi government.

This is how I understand the situation, but as an outside observer, I may well have it wrong. At any rate, the coup was almost inevitable once the crowds in Tahrir grew large enough, and the intransigence of Morsi and his government became clear.

Now it may well be a matter of a protracted civil war.

It would be, after all, almost another 30 years of struggle after the Amritsar Massacre before the British were finally expelled from the Indian subcontinent. And even then, Amritsar would be the scene of numerous disturbances, culminating in an Indian Army military operation under Indira Gandhi at the Golden Temple itself in 1984 which led to her assassination some four months later. Oh. Well.

When will they ever learn...

Not to forget, Egypt was under British rule from 1882 until 1952. The British influence on the Egyptian military is strong as it is in many other outposts of the former British Empire. I seriously doubt the Egyptian military sees anything wrong with what they did when they massacred pro-Morsi demonstrators any more than the British saw anything wrong with what they did at Amritsar.

This is testimony -- which I believe is authentic -- posted at the Guardian this morning:

On saturday at around 6.30pm nine F16 zoomed over rabiya. I was there, i guess it was their warning to us before the attack.

When i think that i could probably have been there because I was walking with the protestors as they went from rabiya throug taran street towards the republican guards. I wanted to join them but I had my neice with me and she had grown sleepy, it was around 9.30pm.

Men their wives and their kids went. The Egyptian media which excells in its lies asks how babies would be around at dawn, the answer is that that is what rabiya is made of, its a little city with babies and children running around waving the Egyptian flag. The protest is a peaceful one, there has never been talk of violence, they actually sell t shirts in rabiya with the words legitimacy, no to violence.

A second year med student came out and spoke about how they arrested him and prevented the ambulance he was in to reach the field hospital.

The manager of the field hospital Dr. Hisham Ibrahim says that they were in the second unit of the fajr prayer, it was during the prayer that they were attacked and that his hospital received 400+cases in the first three hours. So far 70 are dead and over 1500 injured amongst whom there were 6 women dead and four children according to the medical syndicate. The youngest is 6 months old.

The injured according to a lawyer were being prevented from taking a copy of their medical report and to leave the hospital had to sign a paper that the armed forces had nothing to do with it. The scenario similar to the one of the day of the camel.

It has gone beyond Morsi now, if muslim soldiers can shoot tear gas then bullets at people during fajr prayer then how can they ever be trusted again?

However some would not follow the orders since bullets were found unshot emptied on the ground.
I do not understand bullets but what bullet cracks a mans head open? The pictures haunt me, what soldier would shoot unarmed civilians in their backs during prayers?

So Baradei, is this the democracy you have been tweeting about for a year? The word of power and God help the dissenter.

Its gone beyong Morsi now, the tamarud and police and army have turned every Free Egyptian into a Morsi, we are all Dr. Morsi, he said that all he wanted was that the people wiuld have the will and freedom to rule themselves, I know that we do.

Of course it's the InterTubes so you never really know, but damn... powerful stuff.

Picking them off like flies:

Emad-Eldin Elsayed put this video up on the YouTubes yesterday. Egyptian Army sniper picks off members of crowd from nearby rooftop while colleague appears to be using long-lens camera to photograph the action, or perhaps to target selectees:

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