On the anniversary of the Mohammad Mahmoud massacre

On the anniversary of the Mohammad Mahmoud massacre
4 min read
17 Nov, 2014
Three years after the deaths of protesters, a Muslim Brotherhood member has apologised for its passive response to the brutal handling of anti-military demonstrations.
Mohammad Mahmoud Street has become a symbol of defiance in Cairo [Getty]

"We apologise to all of the heroes of Mohammad Mahmoud," read a banner raised by a Muslim Brotherhood member during a protest last week.

This "sorry" might have come years too late - but it's better late than never.

The Brotherhood's unofficial apology for standing idly by while the heroes of the Mohammad Mahmoud Street protest were massacred by army soldiers was a long time coming.

The banner - raised during anti-coup demonstrations on Friday - should, of course, have been raised earlier. However, is also the duty of others to raise other banners apologising for the sin of applauding the extermination of Brotherhood members in various massacres by the army.

The Rabiah al-Adawiyah and al-Nahdah massacres were among the many mass killings of Brotherhood members and supporters that have taken place under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Brutal measures

From the end of November 2011, the Military Council introduced a new way of dealing with the Egyptian revolutionaries - mimicking the manner in which the Syrian and Iraqi regimes put down protests. 

In 2011, a disgraceful situation took place in Tahrir Square, when the hyenas of the army assembled to prey on the January revolutionary movement, and the security state committed the ugliest of crimes against the revolutionaries.

The Brotherhood committed a foolish sin against these young people, by swallowing the bait of the military council - parliamentary elections - and turned a blind eye to their brutal suppression of the protests.   

On that black day, the army began planting mines in the garden of the Egyptian revolution. The mines swelled in number, mushrooming until the moment came for a complete crackdown in the 30 June 2013 coup.  

On that day, I wrote: "They told us: 'You should thank God we did not do to you what Bashar al-Assad's army did in Syria,' and it seems they regretted having said so, and here they are acting as he did, for between the Maarrat al-Numan [in Syria] and the Maarrat al-Tahriri [in Egypt], there are disgraceful similarities."

Syria's Maarrat al-Numan was forced to live up to the meaning of its name - "inflicted suffering" - when Assad's military forces Assad rained down nail bombs on the revolutionaries below.

But the people persevered, living up to the other meaning of maarrat in Arabic. In Tahrir Square, we had our own maarrat, or suffering, when the Egyptian army attacked unarmed revolutionaries using live bullets and a new type of gas canisters. The fig leaf fell away, and no one had the right to deride the Egyptians, saying they did not face the same murderous machine as the son of Hafez al-Assad was using against his people. 

     In Sisi's Egypt, we are repeating the shame of what happened in Syria.

A new Assad

In Sisi's Egypt, we are repeating the shame of what happened in Syria. However, it expanded to include most of the political parties and forces involved in parliament, without any attempt to create a political or moral benchmark.

This might have protected the revolutionaries from the violence against them. Minutes later, an operation began against the revolutionaries, leading to scores of martyrs.   

I still remember the comment deriding the Tahrir Square: "Those thieves are blocking the path to democracy." Some were standing fast, some panicked and knelt down like a tired camel; we had with us in the square, as we struggled with the brutal smells of the poisonous gas canisters, Zakaria Abdelaziz, the former head of the Egyptian Judges' Syndicate, Dr Kamal El-Helbawi, and Saad Hagras. Where are they now?

There was also Mohamed el-Beltagy, and his daughter, the martyr Asma, as well as scores of other noble Egyptian figures.

Before all of them there were the noble youth of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. As I wrote in an article at the time: "I saw them with my very own eyes standing in the front rows of the revolutionaries, as they rebelled against the defeatist leaders, who not only lay on couches, but also disparaged the entire scene through despicable accusations." 

All parties owe their revolution an apology.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.