Sunday, August 25, 2013

Egypt, Opinions, and Cautious Optimism

Mainstream news from Egypt is like most old-school journalism: death; bloodshed; more death; "the center cannot hold;" and all that.

Now and then a journalist decides that talking to folks who aren't trying to topple a regime, or struggling to hold power, might be a good idea. In this case, I think the results are encouraging:
"Muslim Brotherhood's bid to scapegoat Christians failing, say Egyptians"
Lisa Daftari, (August 25, 2013)

"As their nation descends into violent chaos, Egyptians are increasingly blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, despite attempts by the Islamist group to scapegoat Christians and the military, according to several sources who spoke to from Cairo.

" 'The Muslim Brotherhood has lost all sympathy with their points due to their violence,' said a Long Island, N.Y., Egyptian-American, who is in a Cairo suburb for a family wedding.

"The man, a Coptic Christian who asked that his name not be used until he and his family are safely back in the U.S., told he arrived in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis last weekend, just days after Muslim Brotherhood supporters began clashing violently with security forces. Since then, nightly curfews, angry mobs and closed roads that cut off supplies to restaurants and groceries have made his homeland unrecognizable...."

One Man's Opinion

I could say that this Egyptian-American doesn't count, because he doesn't live in Egypt. Besides, he's a Christian: so I could pick from a broad range of stereotypes.

More to the point, that's just one man's opinion.

I don't blame him for keeping his head down until he was out of Egypt. There's quite a bit of trouble in that country, ever since Egypt's military decided that Egypt didn't need a rogue president. Folks who like the way President Morsi was 'protecting' Egypt from those who disagreed with Morsi's brand of Islamist rule were understandably upset, and by now the body count is over 1,000.

One Woman's Opinion

I do not think that the trouble with Egypt is that they've got Muslims there. I've run into too many folks who follow Islam and think terrorism is a bad idea:
"...A Muslim woman named Nina told most citizens - Christian and Muslim - are solidly behind the military, which has been criticized by the west for its decisive crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

" 'I am Muslim and I am against terrorism and I support the revolution [which ousted Morsi] and I support all the decisions of the Egyptian army forces,' she said. 'We love Egypt so much and we hope the foreign countries stop misunderstanding about us and the situation now in Egypt.'..."
(Lisa Daftari,
Well, that's just one woman's opinion.

Let's see what one of those 'religious' people say:

Another Man's Opinion

"...Even at mosques, the tide seems to be turning against the Muslim Brotherhood, according to one man who spoke from Cairo.

" 'They gather around mosques, from five to 100 of them, to show they are important and the goal is to go and cut off the roads and rally to get more supporters,' he said.

" 'Sometimes during Friday prayers, the sheikh wants to push people to support the Muslim Brotherhood, but modern Muslims are dominant and not deceived anymore with fake words that defending the Muslim Brotherhood is defending Islam,' he said...."
Some Muslims probably still keep themselves isolated from the rest of the world. I think a few folks from any large selection of humanity are trying very hard to stay ignorant. Many of us, though, seem to be willing to learn what's going on outside our neighborhood.

Yet Another Man's Opinion

Finally, Osama el-Quossi, a "former jihadist and Salafist cleric," said that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to blame Egypt's Christians for the current trouble. True, Egypt's Christian minority didn't support Morsi: but quite a few Muslims weren't behind him, either. 'Blame the Christians' doesn't seem to be working:
"...'The Brotherhood lost everything, politically and economically,' Osama el-Quossi told MCN. 'They lost the citizens' sympathy, so they used religion to gain support of ordinary people. '"
(Lisa Daftari,

Living in a Big World

Lisa Daftari probably could have found four other folks in Egypt who would obligingly chant "death to the great Satan America," or whatever slogan is in fashion this year. Although I'm fairly sure that she decided to focus on one among many attitudes held by Egyptians, I strongly suspect that she's reporting what many folks feel.

I think many, probably most, folks don't like being shot at or blown up: preferring to raise their families, go to work, and get on with their lives.

Egypt has around 200,000 Internet hosts, 2,000,000 Internet users, and upwards of 83,000,000 cell phones. Since there are about 85,290,000 Egyptians: folks living there are rather well-connected to the rest of the world.

My guess is that many Egyptians, and Americans, and folks around the world, know too much to believe the old fears about 'foreign threats.'

I'm quite certain that the next few decades, and probably centuries, will be difficult. But I'm also cautiously hopeful that the emerging global civilization will be an improvement over the mess we've had so far.

Related posts:


Brigid said...

Two different spellings: "President Morsi was 'protecting' Egypt from those who disagreed with Morse's brand"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian H. Gill said...

Oops. Found & fixed. Thanks!

I'd make a wisecrack about telegraphic something - but this isn't the blog for it.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.