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Monday, April 30, 2007

Egypt's Coalition of Bullies

Having watched Egyptian bloggers for a while now, they seem to consider most traditional news media as not just biased, but arms of either the International Muslim Brotherhood or the government-dominated rubber-stamping Justice system. The Military has its own influence as well. The assumption of bias holds in most countries, but bloggers in Egypt seem to be looking at the news institutions themselves a perpetrators of deliberate ruse.

Yet, together the three, Government, Brotherhood and Military, with their own news sources seem to form a fairly stable influence infrastructure by Middle Eastern and African Standards. When one gets too powerful, the other two form short term alliances. A similar dynamic occurred in the Soviet Union between the Military, the KGB, and the Kremlin.

The three groups are too focused on each other to spend too much time on other things, except the occasional heated persecution of Coptic Christians. When these groups have nothing else in common, and they become self-destructive, they turn their leaders turn their destructive behavior on Christians. What occurs is a kind of coalition of bullies dynamic since this is the one thing upon which they agree.

In this way, the government demonstrates it has an Islamic heart, and the Brotherhood can show that it has influence in society. This happened in 2005 when the Copts were attacked and murdered for several months at a time when there were some Brotherhood leaders in prison that the government refused to release. After the attacks, tensions eased between the two.

This will only change with prayer, and when the Copts are guaranteed rights. These must include:
  • The right to report incidents, and the right to appeal them.
  • The right to appeal without being accused of embarrasing the government.
  • Non-Egypt based bloggers can pick up the Egyptian Coptic posts and put them on servers elsewhere, moving to insure they protect the identities of those who sent the blogs.

It is not only Coptic loggers who post. They and others are already serving as a way to expose the government, Even though a blogger was recently sentenced to 4 years in prison for insulting Islam and the government. A Brotherhood Blogger has also been put in prison. Those of us in the Blog community have a responsibility to get the word out.

-Shimron Issachar

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