Cairo: Friday, September 13 – Message from the Muslim Brotherhood
No reasonable or fair-minded person will argue that what Egypt’s putschists, in cooperation with police chiefs and criminal thugs, were ugly cold-blooded massacres against their fellow Egyptians who rejected the coup, supported legitimacy and insisted on peaceful expression of their rejection.
The putschists’ mass killings exceeded all expectations. Egyptian history, old and modern, never recorded any incidents in which the power of the Egyptian army was used against its own people with this cruelty, savagery and repulsive cold-blooded vindictiveness that murdered in a few hours more peaceful protesters than Zionist enemies did in several wars, leaving every street in every village and neighborhood throughout Egypt grieving at least one or two martyrs and some injured, detained or hunted protesters.
Moreover, the putschists have unleashed mobs of thugs, outlaws who attacked houses, shops, property and any citizens they think they reject the fascist heinous coup.
All these atrocious practices, unprecedented in Egypt’s history, cast a heavy dark shadow on relations between Egyptians in society at large. More seriously, these may affect the way some youths think, after the shock of witnessing that brutal vindictive spirit they never imagined could be used by Egyptians against Egyptians, whatever the differences of opinion or doctrine, especially after the great Revolution in which the people regained their freedom, and chose for the first time in their history the ruler they want with their own free will, only for the coup commanders and collaborators to overthrow their will, remove their choice and restrict their freedoms.
Our Revolution Is Peaceful:
It, therefore, is necessary to remind free revolutionaries standing steadfast against this brutal traitorous coup of our original principle, the cornerstone upon which our blessed popular revolutionary movement is based to reclaim the January 25 Revolution and challenge the coup: non-violence.
Our revolution, our protests and all our activities are peaceful, and will remain peaceful. For our peacefulness is the secret of our strength. And, indeed, our peacefulness is stronger than the bullets of the treacherous heinous coup.
No matter how hard the putschists try to drag us into a cycle of violence, we will never turn violent, God willing. Our slogan will remain as God says in the Holy Quran (Chapter 5:28-29): "Even if you reach out to slay me, I will not reach out to kill you. For I fear God, the Lord of the worlds * I would rather you bear the sin against me and your own sin. Then, you will be of the companions of Hellfire. That is the recompense of the unjust".
We choose non-violence, not as a tactic or maneuver, but as a fundamental choice based on legitimate jurisprudence, a realistic awareness, and a correct reading of history and the experiences of nations and peoples.
From a legal perspective:
In a Muslim society, blood has a very special sanctity, inviolable whatever one's religion. Individuals, groups or bodies in a Muslim state or community cannot install themselves as judges to issue death sentences against this or that.
Even if a certain individual is known to have personally killed peaceful protesters, no-one is entitled to kill him or her. He or she should be reported to relevant authorities which should carefully investigate the matter, and execute him if he is found guilty.
Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, said: «Your blood and your property are sacred among you as this day in this country in this month. You will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about all you did. Do not revert to being unbelievers after I have gone, striking one another's necks». He also said: «Killing a Muslim is more enormous in God’s sight than the demise of the whole world». Committing such a reprehensible crime would inevitably lead to tremendous sedition, drowning people into a horrendous circle of unlawful killing and revenge. Obviously, all that leads to the unlawful is unlawful itself.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, warned of this, saying: «Just before the Day of Judgment, there will be the commotion». He was asked what he meant by the commotion. He said: «Widespread lying and killing». He was asked: «More than the killing we witness now?» He said: «This is about you killing one another, until a man kills his neighbor, kills his brother, his uncle, his cousin». He was asked: «Will we be still mentally sound?» He said: «No. The minds of people of that time will have faded away».
The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said: «This world will not perish until the day comes when a killer knows not why he killed, nor the murdered why he died...»
Honorable revolutionary brothers and sisters, be like Adam’s better son. Be a slain servant of God, not the slayer. Beware and be fully aware of the trap of violence set by the heinous putschists to drag the country to chaos and destruction, so they must not succeed, God willing.
From a realistic perspective:
Any regime can exercise authority to rule in any real sense with one of two things: either it earns the consent of the people, who would accept it willingly – which is what all free nations seek through free and fair elections in which the people choose their rulers in a democratic way, and which is not true in the case of Egypt’s military-appointed putschist regime. Or by brutally applying pressure, coercion and repression using the armed forces and security-led oppression to subdue the people – which is what Egypt’s putschists are doing in the most brutal and ruthless manner.
However, this is an atrocious, immoral way to rule that lacks legitimacy and makes for a shaky unstable regime. Therefore, this regime tries every trick to spruce up its image, in an attempt to convince soldiers and people on the inside, and to convince states and peoples of the world at large, that it has popular consent and support.
This is quite noticeable in the enormous effort and the endless delegations of putschist military-appointed diplomats sent out to convince the world that what happened was a popular revolution, not a military coup.
In order to justify their brutality and barbaric violence, the putschists seek to portray their opponents as terrorists trying to use violence to express their rejection. Is it at all wise or reasonable to provide them with a justification for their immoral terrorism and violence?
Evidently, dictatorships alone monopolize the real tools of violence, i.e. the security forces and the army, which are armed, trained and ready to act at their command. Since such dictatorships are devoid of any moral or humanitarian values, if any armed operation is carried out by their opponents, they will use it as grounds for using military force – without any constitutional, legal or even moral oversight – to crush those opponents, as their mighty media machine fills the world with propaganda to justify their brutal repression, violence and use of maximum force to coerce people into submission.
Repression is these fascist regimes’ favorite playground. And when a revolutionary movement decides to carry out any armed action to confront these dictatorial regimes’ violence, savagery and mass killings, it would be going to the opponent’s playground, and thus would certainly lose the battle against the savage dictatorship.
One may say: This dictatorship already does so with the nonviolent movement, and fabricates violent incidents and misleads and contaminates public opinion through its media.
This is true. However, the whole world is aware of this regime’s lies and misinformation. It cannot continue to support them. In fact, despite the very huge effort the putschists are making to market their coup, most countries of the world are not persuaded. They can clearly see the peacefulness of the Egyptian Revolution in the face of the putschists’ violence.
Furthermore, the coup commanders and collaborators cannot find any moral justification acceptable to soldiers to convince them to be hostile to their own people. Meanwhile, nonviolence touches some people of conscience inside the putschists’ camp who discover every day the coup leaders’ lies and the revolutionary people’s peacefulness, which weakens their resolve to attack the peaceful protesters, and gradually makes them more aligned to the nonviolent masses.
This is no desire to see a split in the armed forces. That is a dangerous prospect which we do not accept, nor at all wish for our military. It is our duty to keep our armed forces from starting a civil war that drains their resources in street battles in which there would be no winner. Because, then, Egypt would be exposed in a most vulnerable moment to its enemies, who are waiting eagerly for just that moment of weakness to pounce. That would be the greatest loss to the nation and the greatest gift for the enemies. Instead, we have to do our best to prevent the coup leaders from their goal of implicating the army and the people in violent sedition and strife in order to achieve their own narrow and selfish interests in ruling and controlling the destiny of the country as well as its wealth and resources.
Experiences of nations and peoples:
Practical experience of both ancient and modern times show that peaceful resistance to coups and despotism is the most successful, fastest and least costly (in terms of human lives lost), which produces real democratic change. The democratic shift in countries of Eastern Europe, of not so long ago, is not such a far-fetched example for our movement. Indeed, this has been clearly demonstrated by the blessed January 25 (2011) Revolution.
Can nonviolence succeed?
When nations hold onto their rights and principles, and stand steadfast in the face of a coup, they are able to achieve their will. Here, we recall the Chinese “Monkey Master” fable, told by Gene Sharp in his book “From dictatorship to Democracy”. This is a fourteenth Century Chinese parable by Liu-Ji that goes like this:
In the feudal state of Chu, an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service. The people of Chu called him “ju gong” (the monkey master).
Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees.
It was the rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.
One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: “Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?” The others said: “No, they grew naturally”. The small monkey further asked: “Can’t we take the fruits without the old man’s permission?” The others replied: “Yes, we all can”. The small monkey continued: “Then, why should we depend on the old man? Why must we all serve him?”. Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.
On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods, and never returned. The old man finally died of starvation.
Yu-li-zi says, “Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren’t they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddle-headedness. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work”.
This story summarizes the concept, the source and the basis of power. The source of power is authority based on the people’s submission to the dictators. The moment the people are aware that this regime does not represent them and that they do not want it to rule over them, once they decide not to obey, they strip away the dictators’ power and authority. This is the basis for peaceful resistance.
Our duties in the peaceful revolution:
• Be more open to different groups in society, explain our programs to the people more clearly, raise awareness of the peaceful revolution, and not to be drawn to violence.
Spread hope that peacefulness will achieve the goals of the Revolution. Fight all forms of despair that the putschists’ media machine is trying to spread. Highlight successful models, and devise creative new and diverse forms for peaceful resistance.
• Do not disregard or deride any activity or initiative no matter how small, and underscore the success that accumulates with ongoing work and events.
• Reveal to the people the truth about the disastrous state the coup dragged the homeland into and still wants to take us further into – from the collapse of the economy to the devastation of state foundations, which threaten the future of the whole country, since the putschists have no vision at all for proper management of the country, except tightening the security grip and humiliating the people, forcing them into submission by armed force.
• Strive to accommodate all the energies and competencies, practice true partnership in sharing national patriotic work with everyone, and expand the circle of coalition to restore and protect the Revolution and the democratic process.
• Continue the search for all appropriate mechanisms for effective communication with all state institutions.
In conclusion, no right will be lost, if chased persistently. The will of the people to regain their freedom shall be realized, God willing. Then, all Egyptians will rejoice in triumph.
"Those who do wrong will soon come to know where they will end up." (Quran 26:227)
The Muslim Brotherhood
Cairo: September 13, 2013