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‘Massacre in Egypt’

Updated August 22, 2013

THIS is in response to your editorial ‘Long, bloody night — massacre in Egypt’ (Aug 16).

Your take on ugly events unfolding in Egypt reflected thoughts of the readers. At least I can say it for myself.

Democracy-loving people across the world are left emotionally distraught by ordeal of innocent citizens, and their wholesale brutal killings. The protesters were seen on television images offering prayers and reciting the Holy Book.

Deposed President Morsi had ascended high public office through a ballot and not a barrel of a gun. Therefore, trust was built that change can be brought about by soft revolution with the power of vote. This trust has been severely eroded.

The people may now look for alternative options. And radical revolution by power of gun cannot be ruled out.

Egypt is an important Muslim and Arab country, rich in history and resources. The large number of population is though poor, yet common people have amazing political awareness. I recall here my visit to Cairo way back in the late 1970s. I stayed in a hotel situated at the bank of the Nile.

This was an old structure turned into a medium-class hotel. The hotel staff during orientation told me this building once had housed Napoleon Bonaparte.

The next day I took a taxi to see places of interest. The driver appeared a bit talkative, but displayed a good sense of knowledge on current affairs and politics.

There was dust and debris on the roads because of some under-construction flyover. He said Anwar Sadat, who was a close associate of Gamal Abdul Nasir, did not understand that compromising popular interests against economic aid would give us a few flyovers, and good metalled roads, or even there may be little improvement in the quality of life. Thus, dust on the roads would settle, but what will happen to the future political dust and polarisation that will never cease.

At Masjid Imam Hussain, Cairo, I was told that it was the resting-place of 13 Fatimid Caliphs (909-1117). Egypt was conquered by Quaid Jawhar in 969, during the reign of Fatimid dynasty. He founded the new capital of Al Qahira (Cairo). The name was a reference to planet Mars. The Fatimid dynasty was succeeded by Ayyubid Sultanate whose ruler Saladin had defeated crusaders.

Among other reasons, probably the fear of the past glorious history of Egypt is a likely cause of its turmoil. Therefore, imperial powers would never risk shifting the political authority to its rightful owners. The ongoing events in Egypt made me recall my discourse with the Cairo taxi driver who was able to see ahead of time.

This is an irony that in poor countries the people contribute huge sums through taxes to raise security forces to combat outside invaders, but their security forces kill their own people.