Following is the introduction to a forthcoming Socialist Action pamphlet by Jeff Mackler, “Revolution and Counter-revolution in Egypt: Lessons of the Arab Spring.”
Almost three years after the historic Jan. 25, 2011, mobilizations that led to the toppling of the U.S.-backed 30-year dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak, the once overflowing streets leading to Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square are barricaded on orders from the now high-flying new military dictator, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Posturing as the nation’s savior in the tradition of radical nationalist Gamel Abdel Nasser in 1954, General Sisi, (formerly Defense Minister and personal friend of overthrown President Mohammad Morsi) and his bloodlusting cohorts have systematically murdered some 5000 to 6000 Muslim Brotherhood members, according to MB leaders. All but a handful of the top and middle-ranking MB leaders are dead or imprisoned.
The barbed wire enclosed Tahrir Square is jammed with tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other military paraphernalia. This former site and symbol of mass resistance to military dictatorship has been intentionally transformed into the symbol of rule by brute force. It serves as a dire warning to any who would again return to demand bread, justice, and freedom.
No one is excluded from the ongoing broad and deep repression in Egypt today. Defenders of the MB are ostracized, beaten, and imprisoned—if not murdered outright. Simultaneously, almost all secular opponents of Morsi, including many of Egypt’s liberal and intellectual “democrats” and major sections of the purported left, cheer on the military and hail the MB repression. Egyptian society is tragically divided. Hatred and cries for vengeance, if not for the extermination of Islamists ”like rats,” toxically spew from virtually the entire media.