Egypt: Between unity and division

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Is Egypt floating toward oblivion? That is a question we find ourselves raising, and we tend to respond to it with a simple nod or shrug, then utter "the revolution is not over." Some took the easy way of just feeling the country, while others are still clinging to a distant glimmer of hope that the army might not have absolute power after all.

The Egyptian society has been subdividing into different groups for the past 20 years. It was only when the oppression was partially lifted with the ousting of the former president that these divisions came to surface.

The media is continuously playing the intimidation card. It is simply an ancient method to divide society by generating fear and alienation amongst the citizens to conquer whenever they sense societal solidarity beginning to formulate.

The "divide and conquer" methodology was used ages ago to create racial discrimination. According to Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize laureate in creative fiction in an interview on her novel A Mercy, this was the beginning of assigning skin color to slavery.

The fact is the Egyptian military has all the winning cards. Recently, Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, speaker of the People's Assembly of Egypt since January 2012, used a threatening tone to deliver a speech on national television.

In his speech, El-Katatni sided with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces' (SCAF) rejection of Ziad Al-Alemi's apology for his offensive words on Tantawi. Al-Alemi, an independent leftist Member of Parliament (MP), accused Tantawi of being one of the stifling parties in the recent Port Said match massacre. The parliament described Al Alemi's action as "crime, illegal by law." Similarly, SCAF was pleased with the parliament's reaction to Al-Alemi's response.

One wonders what will happen to freedom of expression if the parliament censures its own MPs from criticizing the authority. Al-Alemi is currently refereed to inquiry.