But most importantly, the deaths are going to galvanize the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters. Rather than help calm the situation, the incident will almost certainly result in many thousands of Egyptians challenging the military’s authority.
Moran, Rick. “At least 43 dead as Egyptian army fires at protestors.” American Thinker, July 8, 2013.
But the military said it was forced to fire when an “armed terrorist group” tried to raid the headquarters. An Interior Ministry statement said two security force members — a lieutenant and a recruit — were shot and killed.
Penhaul, Karl and Ed Payne. “Dozens killed as Egyptian military clashes with pro-Morsy protesters.” CNN, July 8, 2013.
While Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood seeks to restrict the conversation, perhaps to the point where the only voices it hears are the echoes of its own, and the military with its provisional governments seeks to expand the same, so that but a few and manageable voices may come from many, the fight on the street will start to draw in greater energies.
For one thing, we media focus on it.
I could be writing about Egyptian basic services, tourism, history, and food, but benign and charming as those may be, they’re not quite as stimulating: with conflict, we don’t want to see its development, but we do want to watch.
The other question is how to let something go.
A slight is a slight, and one can shrug that off; a light injury may increase the insight but also provide for bragging rights — ask the 1960s kids around here about that; but a death in combat, Republican Guard vs. Pro-Morsi Protesters, may not be seen that way.
“Before they had used any kind of teargas they resorted to live fire.”
Palmer, Alun. “BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen shot in Egypt as demonstrations end in bloodshed.” Mirror News, July 5, 2013.
Three days ago, BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen seems to have caught a few pellets of “bird shot” as a crowd got rowdy toward the end of a day of demonstrating.
Where were those Republican Guard tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and water canons and such so familiar to other policing forces and spoilers and rioters worldwide?
The answer is that through all the Mubarak years involving the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, the state appears not to have prepared for violent dissent on its streets by the constituents it claimed to represent.
“If a given state lacks the means, the doctrines, and the training for homeland defence and internal security missions, that government is more likely to use lethal means that are disproportionate,” said Steven Adragna of US defence consultancy Arcanum.
AFP. “Experts urge Arab nations to train forces in crowd control.” February 22, 2013.
“A group of soldiers are preparing for their deployment to Egypt with riot training on post.”
KCEN. “Riot Control Training.” Video included. June 20, 2013.
Glad we go that cleared up.
Actually, we didn’t clear up anything: how was it possible that so common a policing concern as “riot control” should not have been of concern in this middle east state?
The attenuation of violence or control of a “violence spectrum” may become of interest when a state balances its want of defense against the well being of its internal challengets, i.e., when it doesn’t want to kill those expressing their opposition but rather prefers to stall them in their tracks and channel the same for arrest on the spot or dispersal altogether.
Crowd and riot control would seem arts, specialties, perhaps, within the “art of war”, which in the Islamic Small Wars becomes also the art of managing, for the most part, popular protests and myriad bands of deadly fighters.
This next comes from the earlier anti-Morsi rally days (remember those?):
Near daily, the demonstrations have turned into clashes with police, resulting in the killing of around 70 protesters. Each death has increased public anger against the security forces.
Some protests have turned into stone-throwing attacks on security agency buildings, and many protesters accuse Morsi of giving a green light to police to use excessive force. Their outrage has been further stoked by reports of torture and abduction of some activists by security agents.
AP. “Frustrated Egyptian police protest riot-control duties.” Azstarnet, March 9, 2013.
Of course, those 70 deaths were attributed to Morsi-backed police!
The devil’s probably grinning.
For sure, I am.
If “deadly force” — a catch-all term for a suite of military technology and lethal methods — is what one has at hand, “dead” are what will be found “down range”.
With riot controlling technologies widely distributed elsewhere around the world, the absence of the same on the roiled Egyptian street may point to a distinct lack of concern for others.
Where was the love when precinct quartermasters were drawing up budgets and wish lists to protect their troops and their public and control the level of violence that might take place — and now has — on the streets around them?
When a phalanx of Ohio National Guardsmen marched shoulder to shoulder up Blanket Hill 40 years ago to break up an antiwar rally at Kent State University, they carried basic battlefield gear and a military mindset.
Their World War II-era M1 rifles were tipped with bayonets and loaded with .30-caliber bullets that could fly nearly two miles.
Mangels, John. “Police crowd-control tactics have changed dramatically since Kent State protests.” The Plain Dealer / Cleveland.com, May 2, 2010.
Compassion leads to “Kevlar vests and plastic shield . . . bean bags and canisters of stinging pepper gas.”
In those attempting an assault on an Egyptian Republican Guard property and those repelling the same with “live fire”, this concern for others — whatever mix of affection, compassion, empathy, and imagination might comprise and express that virtue — would seem to have been missing, and “barbarism”, which is always a conclusion, obscures the story of the evolution or stalling within the language culture and behavior leading up to it.
Hauslohner, Abigail and Michael Birnbaum. “Egyptian troops open fire on protesters, killing at least 40; negotiations stalled.” The Washington Post, July 8, 2013.
Perry, Tom and Alexander Dzjadosz. “At least 51 killed in Egypt, Islamists call for uprising.” Reuters, July 8, 2013.