We are all in this together- By Dina Lotfy
Ten years after Islamic extremists killed 3,000 people and brought the World Trade Centers to the ground in 2001, an initiative was brought forward by the Muslim community to build a mosque at Ground Zero in an attempt to rebuild the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans in what some view as a message of peace and that all Americans stand together as one, regardless of religion.
Similarly, on June 30, 2013 Egyptians from all walks of life cheered “Army and People are one”, putting behind the terrorism that the Army had inflicted on the population just one year ago during the Jan 25th protests in Tahrir Sq. While Egyptians still remember the Army’s horrific passive neutrality while people were being killed in vicious street battles with the Police, calls for retribution for the Army’s crimes against humanity were stifled by cheers that the Army had ousted Mohammed Morsi and squashed the looming threat of Sharia law in Egypt.
While I believe deposing Morsi was an act that will hopefully lead to an economic and socially better and more liberal Egypt, I refuse to call June 30 Egypt’s “Independence Day”. When secular, pro-Army Egyptians call June 30 our Independence Day, we exclude a quarter of our population. An entire social and economic strata of our society that believe in Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideals and philosophy. By marginalizing Muslim Brotherhood members and call them invaders and non-Egyptian, we cut a deep tear into our social fabric, which we should be working on healing rather than persistently destroying by pushing Islamists further underground.
If after the Military’s virginity tests, passiveness during camel attack, trials against activists and civilians, murders of Christians at Maspero, their silence during the shooting at Mohamed Mahmoud, their stripping of women on the streets and the bodies they threw in the garbage, if after all this we can welcome the Military into our hearts and say ‘not all uniforms are bad’, then by the same logic we are supposed to say ‘not all members of MB are bad’.
Watching the massive backlash and rising hatred for anyone who believes in treating Islamists ‘fairly’ and speaking out against arbitrarily arresting Muslim Brotherhood members, my only conclusion is that we as a people under the Army’s lead are intolerant and we don’t practice what we preach.
If liberal Egyptians truly believe in and want a democratic Egypt, with freedom of expression and human rights beliefs are at its core, we cannot turn around, during our moment of victory and strength, and alienate, stigmatize and persecute millions of Egyptians that are protesting an override of the democratic process and that “Islam is the Answer”, no matter how much we may personally disagree with the views. Being democratic means accepting and including different perspectives and beliefs and allowing everyone the right to a voice and say in the future of their country. After all, by marginalizing the Muslim Brotherhood, we are only doing what the Morsi government did by marginalizing the liberal left. We are all in this together.