The military’s reign of terror in Cairo

August 15, 2013

Nearly 300 people were reported dead by the end of Wednesday, and the toll was sure to mount higher in Egypt after the military and police carried out an assault on protest camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, sparking further deadly clashes in Cairo and around the country. The interim government headed by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi declared a state of emergency for the next month, putting the dictatorial powers once wielded by Hosni Mubarak in the hands of the military, led by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

Brotherhood members had maintained a sit-in outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo since Mohamed Morsi was removed as president by the military on July 3. Morsi's downfall came a few days after massive demonstrations across Egypt brought millions into the streets to protest Morsi on the one-year anniversary of his taking office as president. This day of action was the culmination of the Tamarod (Rebellion) petition campaign calling on Morsi to resign--a stark symbol of the Brotherhood's loss of support and legitimacy.

But in the six weeks since Morsi was toppled, the military has become increasingly bold in moving against the Brotherhood, including two previous deadly attacks in which dozens were killed. Wednesday's assault was aimed at clearing two protest camps in Cairo once and for all--with the use of utmost brutality. According to a doctor interviewed by CNN International, soldiers raided field hospitals where dead and dying demonstrators had been taken, and forced medical personnel to leave at gunpoint, leaving the victims behind.

Protests by Egyptians who opposed the Morsi government and also oppose the military's crackdown have been small, but the shock and outrage at the latest massacre is growing. Late on Wednesday, Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the National Salvation Front formed to challenge Morsi and the Brotherhood, had resigned from the position of interim vice president.

The Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt issued a statement responding to the military's massacres and calling on revolutionaries to stand against the rule of the army and defend the aims of the Egyptian Revolution.

Down with military rule! Down with el-Sisi, leader of the counter-revolution!

The bloody dispersal of the sit-ins in al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya is nothing but a massacre, prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.

The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime, which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of June 30.

Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Morsi to power.

But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers' strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors, largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi's government. It has adopted a road map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian Revolution, which are for freedom, dignity and social justice.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood face a military attack in Cairo
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood face a military attack in Cairo

This is the context for the brutal massacre that the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.

However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak's state and el-Sisi are complicit. They have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches.

We stand firmly against el-Sisi's massacres and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today's massacre is the first step on the road toward counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt's Christians and against the sectarian campaign, which only serves the interests of el-Sisi and his bloody project.

Many of those who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in el-Sisi's government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands.

We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood--those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Morsi's regime and those who fall now confronting el-Sisi and his dogs.

Down with military rule! No to the return of the old regime! 
No to the return of the Brotherhood!
 All power and wealth to the people!

Revolutionary Socialists
August 14, 2013

This translation first appeared in Socialist Worker (Britain).

Further Reading

From the archives