Egyptian elite and intellectuals calling for reconciliation and defense of the democratic process in Egypt are being subjected to a fierce, unfair and unjustified campaign of slander and intimidation these days.
This takes place at a time when Egypt is facing tumultuous uncontrolled emotions and feelings, with no way to calm tension except through calls to reconciliation and commitment to the values of democracy and democratic process and tools.
I say this after I read the writings of several journalists who set out to try and stifle those voices and exercise various pressures in order to silence them. Some have gone so far as to ridicule the idea of reconciliation and discredit the talk about democracy and the rule of law, while disproportionately praising ‘Military-dom’, and implying and making-believe that any criticism of the military and its regime is a kind of political profanity and blasphemy which inevitably lead the ‘perpetrator’ to a fateful end.
This is in addition to all forms of intimidation and ridicule – which is utterly absurd, especially from mature writers who have professional status and enjoy high prestige in the media world.
This gets even more shocking as we learn that the pressures and intimidation faced by rational voices in the media do not come exclusively from sensationalists, propagandists and agents provocateurs in the media. Indeed, I heard some of these voices complain of pressures exerted on them from certain commanders of the security apparatus that regained vitality and activity in the wake of recent developments.
The sad thing is that charging the people with feelings of hatred and estrangement, in many cases, makes the worst of them. Now, those wise people are exposed every now and then to a barrage of insults and obscenities on social networking websites that profanes their dignity and honor.
A fellow ‘journalist’ was bashing, vilifying and slandering one of those wise liberals, he wrote: "He filled our heads with nauseating talk about democracy, the rule of law, peaceful transfer of power, and other elite paraphernalia, while insisting, implicitly or explicitly, on standing against military rule, fighting with all his philosophization and pedantry to prevent the army from even approaching the political arena."
No less surprising is the fact that our esteemed colleague denounced that liberal politician’s rejection of the exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood, of the "ruinous discourse of revenge, hatred and spite adopted against them, and of his reservations about shuttering their satellite TV stations".
In conclusion, our colleague said of the Muslim Brotherhood, "We cannot integrate them into any culture or society. Nor should any sane person reach out to them, because they are advocates of subversion and sabotage. They are professionals at conspiracy and betrayal. We do not want them among us. We do not want them to breed, multiply and thrive in our midst like poisonous insects. Their trials must be neither fair nor impartial, because their justice is not like ours, and their Islam is not our Islam", as published in Al-Watan on July 7.
I included the long quote above because it brings together almost all others have been repeating in various articles with headlines like: "Yes to the exclusion of the Muslim Pretenders (referring to the Muslim Brotherhood)", "Fascist traitors must get out of our lives completely", "Say rehabilitation, not national reconciliation"… etc.
Interestingly, one of those antagonists began his satirical verse by saying, "We will not tolerate traitors, murderers or conspirators. But we must open our hearts to all those who differ with us in attitudes and opinions!"
After an enthusiastic colleague wrote an article calling for prosecution of Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi – the renowned Muslim scholar, another colleague of hers added that the death penalty is not enough for Dr. Mohamed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood Chairman!
Meanwhile, another colleague simply used a poem called ‘No reconciliation’ by Amal Dunqul (in which he urged Sadat to make no reconciliation with the Israelis), and considered this appropriate to pre-empt the idea of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The campaign of intimidation and physical exclusion does not stop with that torrent of incitement, insults and obscenities with which Egyptian media overflows. In fact, it goes in parallel with other measures, such as preventing Brotherhood writers and journalists from getting published in national newspapers, closing down some religious TV channels, expanding arbitrary arrests and detentions of Islamist leaders, blacking out news of mass rallies and sit-ins by supporters of Dr. Morsi, and adopting the point of view of the regime and the security apparatus in the way current events are presented, including the dawn massacre outside the Republican Guard compound.
Even more, some of these colleagues called for a boycott of Al-Jazeera TV channel, forcing its crew out from a press conference in which representatives of the ministries of interior and defense talked, just because Al-Jazeera presented the other point of view as well as the ministry of interior’s perspective regarding the ongoing events.
When I searched for a definition that sums up what we are witnessing these days, I could not find any appropriate term but ‘neo-fascism’. The saddest thing about this neo-fascism is not only the fact that it is there at all, but that some hail and welcome it gleefully! Woe to them all! Woe to neo-fascism!