A massacre in Cairo

(July 8, 2013)

So several dozen pro-Morsi protesters were gunned down in cold blood by the Egyptian army. And the military reacts by shutting down the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters and, I assume, arresting more of its members. It has begun.

And this wasn’t a coup, you all said. This was democracy in action. This was the will of the people. A glorious victory for the universal cause of human rights.

I wonder if your outburst of sympathy and solidarity with the “Egyptian people” on Facebook and across the social media universe might have helped encourage the ridiculous and tragic illusion that EVERYONE wanted Morsi thrown out. Everyone. 

But it wasn’t everyone. It was only half of the Egyptian people. A little reading about Egypt’s recent political history would tell you that the country was split down the middle. But you would not believe any media sources that told you that fact. They were wrong, you all said. Propaganda. Lies. The truth was on Facebook. The Truth is on Twitter. That is where the real voice of the people is. Not with the mainstream media.

But think of this. Only a third of Egyptians speak any English at all. Probably less than a quarter can write it. Therefore, you were not seeing the opinions of 75% of the Egyptian people. You were seeing the opinions of pro-western Egyptians who are not Islamic fundamentalists. In fact, you were reading and forwarding the heartfelt opinions of Egyptians who, unfortunately, might have represented a minority of their countrymen. If an election were held fair and square today, Morsi could very well win again.

Our Facebook world is a nice middle class, English-speaking one steeped in western values. Those are my views as well, I’m not trying to say otherwise. Alas, it does not represent the views of the entire world. I wish you could see that. And the next scenario has Turkey going up in flames, very possibly. You all will express your solidarity with the masses as protests turn into riots turn into instability and the military will step in and depose the democratically elected Islamic government. The military there, just as in Egypt, is dying to do so. They’ve done so before. A little reading up on recent Turkish history will show you this, too. And you’ll cheer again. Because in the battle between western and non-western values, the military can be our best friend.

You know, I so detested the right for what it did to Iraq, and how its self-imposed ignorance of other cultures lead to so much killing. And now my side is showing the same sort of ignorance. Colonialism dies hard. We just can’t seem to get out of our system, us Westerners, the notion that if the rest of the world doesn’t think like us than they damn well better start. So we see mass protests in Cairo, get excited, and cheer crazily when the military moves in and deposes the democratically elected government.

But now you look at pictures of the dead protesters that the military slaughtered, and you can’t figure out what went wrong. It doesn’t make sense. Nice people just don’t do that sort of thing.

And you’ll stop commenting about Egypt, and pretend it’s not there. You already have. For the past few weeks you’ve been cheering like it’s a parade. And for the past couple days it’s been deathly quiet. It’s no fun anymore.

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