Thursday, September 26, 2013

Donkey's ass offends Egyptian military

There hasn’t been much media coverage of Egypt since the military imposed martial law, including a 7 pm curfew (just relaxed to 9 pm). There have been scattered & sketchy reports of continuing but waning protests by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) & of severe repression against the MB, including prosecutions & incarcerations. The MB protests are the only reported incidents of resistance to military rule which doesn’t mean there is no other political opposition. Media also think it important to note nightclub habitués are squawking about the loss of party time. Many media sources claim the military is riding high in public approval--as if millions of Egyptians suddenly went stupid & forgot 60 years of military tyranny. That would be wishful thinking. Some media even claim there is a “long-standing taboo” in Egypt against criticizing the military. So taboo is the new euphemism for terror!? (When you interpret the news you have to become practiced in the art of euphemism.)

A recent frequently reported incident in southern Egypt must have tickled the media’s funny bone but it is far from amusing on closer inspection. Omar Abul-Magd, a farmer in Qena province was arrested last Saturday for naming his donkey after General el-Sissi & riding the donkey through town in an army cap. The military didn’t take kindly to the rear end of the donkey coming out the better in comparison to the general. Abul-Magd’s political sarcasm may get him a lengthy stay in the Egyptian gulag--& that is no laughing matter.

On the same day in Cairo, eight people were arrested for spraying graffiti against el-Sissi & earlier in the week a military court sentenced five “pro-Morsi protestors” to prison for chanting against the army through loud speakers. The court said the defendants were spreading hate speech & false rumors. We are told three of the defendants were tried in absentia. What does that mean? Are they on the run, in hiding, already stuck in the Egyptian gulag & not allowed to defend themselves?

It is now abundantly clear, including to millions of Egyptians, that the military state of emergency was only clearing ground with repression of the MB & that its real intent was to turn back the clock on the Egyptian revolution. The Egyptian people have shown the world remarkable toughness & savvy in the past few years; if the Egyptian military weren’t still afraid of that there would be no martial law.

(Photo by AFP)

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