On Mon, July 8th : 60 deaths and more than 400 badly injured in the early morning when the army opened fire on pro President Mursi protesters, outside the Presidential guard house club.
There is a big dispute in Egypt now, over whether to criminalize the army behavior or excuse them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to make a judgment myself, but I was at the protest site few hours before the incident and saw no evidence of any weapons or evidence of any plans to use violence from the protesters side.
On Friday, July 5th : luckily I was in the same spot when four protesters were killed and dozens injured, in the middle of the day by the same military forces. I can use that experience to make a judgment on the army solders in dealing with the protesters.
I was among the protesters and saw no evidence of violence or weapons among them. The army started shooting the protesters for only getting close to the barbed wire, killing four and injuring dozens among them. A BBC reporter was injured and made a statement as an eye witness; watch the video below.
BBC Correspondent Jeremy Bowen Shot By Egyptian Army [BBC]
Based on that, I have no problem in judging the army soldiers behavior as criminal, and classifying their act an extreme use of force and shooting of peaceful protesters.
The Army prospective: The protesters shot them first, and their use of fire was a reaction to defend themselves. They have presented many videos showing a couple of protesters firing at them and others throwing rocks, which I don’t deny, but all these videos were taken after the sunrise, while the army shot at people around 4 am before the sunrise. That is proven by many videos and eye witness from the people living in apartment buildings in the area, and means the protesters action was a reaction.
30 protesters killed by the army in October 9th 2011: This incident reminded me of a similar one where the army got involved in October 9th 2011. In that incident 30 protesters mostly Christians, got killed in front the TV building by army troops, and the army blamed a third party. The interesting thing is, I believed and adopted the army version of the story. Now I have to reconsider my view toward this incident.
No tools for true justice in Egypt yet: Since the Egyptian revolution started in January 2011, thousands of people have been murdered and many others injured in public area where lots of eye witnesses, photos and videos, and so far almost nobody has been found guilty or charged, which a sign of big corruption in all level of government including the judicial system. This is a natural outcome if all the prosecutors appointed in the last 15 years were chosen based on their connections and loyalty, and those who don’t have connections, or their connections are not strong enough, have to pay bribes to get qualified. All senior judges who hold important positions were appointed by a corrupt regime, based on their loyalty.
My future view: I see no big hope for Egypt to turn into a democratic country without an end to the corruption here, especially in the judicial system. I don’t have confidence that the military council which is leading the transitional period can put an end to it; on the contrary, I believe they have their own bias.
What does the army want: Egypt’s presidents since the military revolution of 1952 were Mohamed Nageeb, Nasser, Saddat and Mubarak, and all are army generals. All ruled until they died, except for Mubarak who was overturned by a revolution after 30 years of rule. The army worked hard to get another general elected in 2012. When that man lost, they found a good excuse when Egyptians protested against the first truly elected president, to overturn him because he is not from an army background.
The Egyptian army is used to ruling Egypt from 1952 until now, and I don’t think they are ready to give up this position for a civilian leader, even if he came to his position through a democratic process. It has become a habit and culture among the army leaders, who see themselves as the best option available for ruling Egypt.