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The Whole Truth

This article by Zied Boumaiza on the Nawaat Tunisia website is a shade more pessimistic than I am, but it comes close to capturing my feelings. The original is in French, so I’ve taken the liberty of translating the whole thing for my English-only readers.

— • —

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It can’t stray from its path, nor change its essence according to context, affinity, or mood. There’s only one justice, too, for everyone and from every angle. It can’t keep quiet in the depths of a noble soul without risk of suffocation.

So let’s tell it like it is, despite the pain of defending today what we’ve always fought. It’s torture, isn’t it, to take the side of yesterday’s oppressor. What to do if today he’s the oppressed? Power changes sides, but principles remain unchangeable.

A coup d’état, a putsch, a usurpation, a betrayal. That’s what it is. Without any euphemism, let’s not try to cover up what just happened in Egypt with pretty words.

Military men who depose a president elected through universal suffrage, who put him in prison and all the leaders of his party with him — a party, let us note in passing, that swept more than 60% of the seats in democratic elections — who suspend a constitution ratified by popular referendum with more than 67% of the vote, or in other words, a plebescite.

The Egyptian “people” have clearly filled the streets and squares of Egypt with a dramatic surge unique in History to demand the fall of the regime, but is that enough to force out a regime installed by the will of the people?

The will of the people is measured in number of votes, not in square meters nor in decibels. More than 12 million voted for Shafik last time, enough to fill Tahrir Square five times, yet he wasn’t the winner. Isn’t that democracy? Do we need to reread our classics?

    “Election: an operation by which free citizens choose their masters.”

So this people had the chance three times over to hand the Muslim Brothers a stinging defeat. Three attempts to reject political Islam, three bullets to shoot down that mediocrity, and instead, this great people propelled the Brotherhood to the throne of Egypt three times in a row. So there’s no surprise that the Brothers would think they had a blank check. And even then, not a television station was censured, not a word in a newspaper was crossed out by those in power, despite an out-of-control press. For good or ill, they respected the freedom of the press a thousand times better than their successors. That’s a fact.

So this great people has to own up to its choices — and by the way, there are millions who still do own up to them, and who today feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back. Those people don’t resemble me. I believe they’ve been duped, blinded, and are completely wrong, but I understand their rage perfectly.

The rest of you, progressives, democrats, and activists for the rule of law, isn’t it shameful, this complicit silence or this unseemly gloating? Isn’t it a betrayal of the values you’ve defended your whole lives? So shake off your discomfort and tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

As far as Egypt is concerned, that country I love so much — it will never again raise its head. The democratic process has stalled out, injustice is accomplished, and trust is forever shaken. There’s no way to turn back. The anger is churning and will keep churning, and the resentment will always be there. The fury has begun, and God alone knows how many corpses it will take before it’s over.