Human Rights Watch Calls for Something in Egypt
It's not quite clear exactly what Human Rights Watch wants to happen in Egypt. You see, they are really having trouble telling us what the problem is. And if you can't identify the problem, you can hardly suggest the right solution. Even worse, you might just be asking exactly the wrong people to fix it.
Human Rights Watch's latest call to action is entitled: Egypt: End Mubarak-Era Impunity for Sectarian Violence.
Sectarian violence, you say? Are religious maniacs from multiple religions committing equally vicious and equally frequent religiously-motivated atrocities on each other? Let's read further and find out!
Ah, four paragraphs down, it becomes clear: we're talking about attacks on Egypt's Christians! Aha! And we see that the perpetrators are... arsonists, looters and assailants.
Um, OK. We figured that.
But if it's sectarian violence, what religion are the perpetrators?
Finally, eight paragraphs into this high-pitch condemnation, we figure out what's going on:
In a study issued in April 2010, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), an Egyptian human rights group, documented over 50 cases of sectarian Muslim-Christian violence over a two-year period, mostly cases in which Muslims attacked Christians for practicing religious rites or punished them collectively for a real or imagined offense involving a Muslim woman or a perceived insult to Islam.
Well, that is a serious problem. But it's also indicative of a weird obsfuctation on the part of Human Rights Watch.
First of all, Mubarak, for all his faults as a corrupt and brutal dictator, was the one keeping the lid on the bubbling cauldron of Islamist supremacism that came off during the so-called Arab Spring. Sure, Egypt's religious minorities suffered greatly under his reign, but the worst outbreaks have really come since the revolutionary phase that brought about his downfall.
Yes, the security forces have colluded with the perpetrators, making the obscene calculation that targeting Christians would put them in good stead with the rampaging Islamist mobs -- but the main force behind the attacks on Christians are Egyptian civilians -- people who share citizenship with their victims but largely regard those they are persecuting as sub-human devil worshippers.
The Muslim Brotherhood and their newly elected President can hardly be relied upon to clamp down on violence that they have been inciting and carrying out in the first place.
When Mohamed Morsi says "the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal," it's clear that the last thing on his -- or his followers' minds are letting up pressure on Egypt's "Infidels". If anything, the obvious strategy is to make life even more unbearable for the kafirs, so that the Christians will either convert to Islam or flee to a country that isn't run by the political wing of Al Qaeda. It's obvious because it has been carried out in country after country where Islam dominates. Hell, it's obvious because this was the strategy when the jihadist conquerors first came to (then-Christian) Egypt around 639 AD.
Human Rights Watch's latest effort is like asking an armed robber in the process of carrying out a brutal home invasion to do what he can to fight crime... because the cops don't come around in this neighborhood. Good luck with that.
Indeed, can you imagine a police emergency broadcast about a rampaging killer in your city -- where the cops don't bother to identify the perpetrator (in the most ambivalent manner possible) until at least five minutes into the warning? Again, that's what HRW has done here.
Certainly, it is commendable of HRW to call attention to the plight of Egypt's Christians. If only they could do so in a manner that doesn't obsfucate or provide undue deference to the thugs who now own Egypt's politics.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist