The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Protests as seen by the FJP's newspaper

In an attempt to report public opinion towards all the protests that took place in the past eight months since Morsi came to power, the Freedom and Justice Party's newspaper, al-Horreya wa al-Adala, published this news article on 15 March in its Youth and Sports section.

Despite the fact that people are clearly divided about everything from Morsi to the weather, MB’s report shows a uncharacteristically unified image of society. From the Ettihidiya clashes and Tahrir sit-ins to Port Said protests and the Ultras’ attacks; the Egyptian people who had one collective view on the matter: Protesters are thugs.

The article, which is merely a collection of tweets and FB status updates by ungoogleable individual(s), begins with this headline: What do you want to be? A thug.

The sub-headline then goes:“It's a great job, gets you fame and money..."And if you get caught, you're an activist!"

Sohila Mahmoud on Facebook: "I don't see any reason to block the roads, why is everyone silent about these continued acts of thuggery against the average Egyptian citizen, who wakes up to make a living, only to go back home empty-handed?"

According to the article, “activists,” on Facebook have unanimously confirmed that these protests Mahmoud is referring to are "crimes" which can only be committed by "thugs."

"This is a crime against society. Thugs who throw rocks at the police, or Molotov cocktails, carry guns or knives should be immediately shot, so that we'd get rid of the National Damnation Front's thugs and the toppled president's as well," hopes Mohamed Abdullah in his FB status.

"What are these demands they are making? Don't they see our economic situations? Can't they feel our foreign enemies just glaring at and stalking us? Or are you the domestic enemies, as we have describe you since all the evidence is against you. Have mercy on your country, it's not just for you, but for all the Muslims and Christians inside of it. So we have the right to fear for it and hold you accountable for any mistake you make that harms Egypt for it is really the Mother of the World," said Hamid Rashid, another representative sample from the heart of Cairo.

Further down the FJP reporter's newsfeed, a status, by an Abu Osama Shehab, said: "This is a crime by all standards committed by failed politicians to burn Egypt and bring down the president, but they will fail, God willing."

"The goal of these acts is to destroy the country's economy and waste state prestige. It's about pushing certain groups to destroy the police, and force owners to sell their properties - to completely destroy tourism - and get in the way of the country's interest. And to make matters worse, the Public Prosecution's pushing the citizen's right to arrest into effect, will be abused, which will push the country towards civil war," Abdo Mosad said.

A thug, not a revolutionary.

Others like Ibrahim Abu Attia found the labels the "feloul media" gave these vandals weird.

"Are those who block the roads, burned, vandalize, steal and call for chaos and strikes called protesters? All of these people are nothing but enemies of the revolution, outlaws. Are those who burn the Football Association called protesters? Are those who burn the Police Club called protesters? Those serve no one but the supporters of the counter-revolution,” he said.

Then another member of Egypt's homogeneous society, Mostafa Shokry, tweeted: "They're just some thugs, and the media and the parties call them protesters, they have no goal but chaos."

Followed by a Hany Zahdy: "When you hear the media call a thug a protester, know straight away that it is funding thuggery or financially benefiting from it."

"It's a crime, of course. What's the rest of the people's fault? What's the patient who's going to the doctor for treatment's fault, the patient who could die on the way there because thugs blocks the roads. What about tired people who are going home from work, people who want to go home early to rest, shave and go to their second job to provide for themselves and their families? What's their fault?"  wondered Ahmed Kamal.

"Blocking the road was never a protest tactic in any time or in any place. I think the person blocking the road knows that that's barbaric, even if his demands are legitimate, because he's blocking the average citizen's way, who may have demands that are more important and more pressing than his own, but is behaving and expressing himself respectfully and peacefully. I think Egyptians have a background they can't forget about stating their demands, which they learned in the revolution's days," said Ahmed Mahmoud, the only person in the article so far to have used the words "I think" when expressing personal views.

"This is a barbaric and thuggish way, it is a blatant violation of the citizen's freedom. This is a way only someone who wants to distort the country's reputation and image in front of the world to force the president to take his orders, which are impossible to establish. From this point forth, there will be bloodshed and intentional vandalism," warned Medhat abu Talab.

For those who haven't yet understood what thuggery is, who is doing/funding/covering it and why, an “Egyptian mother” reminded the FJP that "thuggery is the work of gangs."

"This is the counter-revolution lead by the feloul and the Damnation Front, which is given media coverage by the lying media, which is owned by the feloul," she reasoned.

"These thugs are very well financed  and they along with the street children are working very well and making a lot of money. They are protected by the NSF lawyers who wait by police departments to bail them out and defend them day after day," revealed a Nasser Ahmed, who didn’t need to provide any evidence to support his claim, since no one wanted to refute them.