Feature

Egypt: A cycle of crushing dissent

Egypt is ping-ponging from one authoritarian regime to another.

Diana MoukalledAsharq Al-Awsat (U.K.)

Egypt is ping-ponging from one authoritarian regime to another, said Diana Moukalled. Hosni Mubarak’s regime muzzled democratic protesters and Islamists; the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi repressed secularists and pro-military factions; and now the coup-installed government is again jailing Islamists and pro-democracy groups. This month, a court sentenced 14 girls, some of them minors, to jail merely for carrying signs showing the four-fingered “Rabaa” sign of the Muslim Brotherhood. Alaa Abdel Fattah, an activist who is “known for his credibility and integrity,” was also arrested, simply for blogging calls to protest. Too many Egyptians, “delighted by the alleged salvation from the Muslim Brotherhood,” are willing to ignore this growing pattern of repression. That’s a mistake—and not just because turning the Brotherhood “into a victim grants them another chance at seizing power.” Freedom means the freedom to utter opinions that the government disagrees with, even if most Egyptians disagree with them, too. This is the crucial democratic lesson that Egyptians—and the rest of the Arab world—haven’t learned. “Revolutions have not freed us from the dominating authoritarian mentality.”

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