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Revolution: Game Over

At least 120 are dead in Cairo in a pre-dawn massacre.

    “The massacre took place in the small hours of Saturday morning, at a sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya, east Cairo, where tens of thousands of pro-Morsi supporters have camped since Morsi was deposed on 3 July.
    “Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said the shooting started shortly before pre-dawn morning prayers on the fringes of a round-the-clock vigil being staged by backers of Morsi, who was toppled by the army more than three weeks ago.
    “‘They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill,’ Haddad said, adding that the death toll might be much higher. …
    “The deaths come just two weeks after military and police officers massacred 51 Morsi supporters at a nearby protest in east Cairo.
    “They also happened less than 24 hours after hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters gathered in Egyptian streets to give General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the army chief who ousted Morsi, their assent to crack down on what he had on Wednesday called ‘terrorism’.
    “Sceptics say this is a euphemism for a violent campaign on largely peaceful Morsi supporters….”

Mohamed ElBaradei, how does it feel now to be seated in this government? Here’s what you said yesterday, before the killings:

    “It is time that we end this miserable state of polarisation using rational means. We have to be tolerant so that we can build Egypt.
    “Non-violence, rule of law…and reconciliation based on inclusiveness are key principles to adhere to during this difficult time.”

So will you resign in protest today? Call for an aggressive investigation? Or will we hear more mealy-mouthed words?

The tragedy of Egypt is that both “sides” in this struggle, the military and the Brotherhood, seem to be treating it as a zero-sum game, meaning there is no room for those who feel caught in the middle and can’t bring themselves to identify with either (authoritarian) camp. By rights, this should include nearly all the revolutionary forces who brought down the Mubarak regime in the first place.

I’ve never been to Egypt, but I do try to evaluate the news out of Egypt as if I were an Egyptian citizen, faced with the choices they are faced with, and I’ll say this: throughout the whole post-revolutionary process until now, with all its ups and downs, I’ve never once felt the urge to boycott an election or a referendum. However flawed the choices may have been, it always felt better to validate the concept of citizen participation. But if there were elections under this new regime in a few weeks or months, even if there were candidates who matched my political views exactly, it would be nearly impossible to persuade me to go to the polls, because I would feel like I was validating the very massacres we’ve just seen. Cold-blooded, premeditated, state-sponsored killing. In my eyes, the process is irrevocably tainted in a way that it hasn’t been until now, even at its worst moments.

The Egyptian revolution is over, it seems, and it failed. I hope I’m wrong.

UPDATE: Abdel-Rahman Daour, a spokesman for the pro-Morsi sit-in:

    “No one’s going anywhere. We either have freedom or we die. We’re not going to live in a country without freedom.”

Islam Taher, a pro-Morsi protester whose childhood friend was killed:

    “If this was animals being killed, people would care. But because it’s us, they don’t.”


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