On my way home today an hour before sunset there was an ethereal light. It leaked through trees and between buildings and stopped, suspended. Below it the roads were almost entirely empty except for the permanent queue at the petrol station, kept orderly now by a line of police barricades. At its head was a large group of men on motorbikes and carrying jerkins, holding forth in loud voices about an unknown subject.
Further down the almost empty road was a man walking purposefully with a small child. The man was shouting something unintelligible while holding a picture of Morsy with a big red X through his face and “leave” written above his head. He weaved through parked cars and held the poster up forcefully at shop windows.
In the supermarket three employees were huddled together discussing Morsy’s speech, “he spoke for three hours and didn’t say a single thing I wanted to hear” one said. Outside two middle-aged women in Tamarod t-shirts were hailing a cab.
Even as the violence rages in the Delta there is an unbearable tension in Cairo even though we all know what is coming. These 36 hours or so before the June 30 will be like waiting for a spring to snap. If protesters – or the army – wait that long, that is.
At a party yesterday an activist said that he wouldn’t be taken part in June 30 because it isn’t “his fight” but rather between the Muslim Brotherhood and a group of people a large proportion of which seem to be clamouring for army intervention to remove the MB. (There are of course groups who are anti-MB, anti-army and anti-old regime taking part).
I can’t understand why the MB doesn’t retreat, both politically and on the ground. Five of its members have been killed so far, according to reports. If the leadership doesn’t care enough about its members’ lives surely it realises that prolonged, violent clashes on a mass scale will prompt army intervention, and that this army intervention is part of the Tamarod plan for Morsy’s removal. If they withdraw they leave their opposition to either protest peacefully or attack MB property without the clashes, and without loss of life.
Of course if Morsy had any decency he would have made a significant concession by now. As I described at excruciating length in my last post, I have problems with a fairly elected leader being ousted by the army (even where this is on the back of protests and even where the leader is a jumped-up little buffoon from a sinister gang tearing the country apart with its obdurateness) because it means the end of Egypt’s brief experiment in democracy.
The army is already swooping as the protests grow and all we hear from the MB is the steady sound of a grave being dug. There are several possible outcomes to this mess. Even if Morsy is not sacrificed there is likely to be a major army-imposed cleaning out at lower levels. Whatever the result the MB will undergo a military-led emasculation of some sorts and the bill will be written in civilian blood. Everyone loses.