Friday, August 16, 2013

When thousands are killed, silence and ambivalence is not an option

Demonstrations are not an unusual thing in a democratic society. They take place regularly in western democracies. Even in Malaysia where many are not completely satisfied with the democratic process, we have demonstrations.  The last big one was BERSIH 2.0. The number of people killed? Zero. Only one person died and that was reportedly due to a heart attack.  Not a single gun-shot was fired.
However, in Cairo a few days ago, thousands died and the majority were due to gunshots. From the bullets recovered at the scene of the carnage, heavy machine guns were used by the Egyptian military to kill its fellow citizens. In other words, the Egyptian military treated the demonstrations sites which were full with women, children and the elderly as war zones. They went in with heavy weapons with the intention to kill.
Prior to this incident, many liberal groups and individuals in Egypt and elsewhere decried the lack of inclusiveness on the part of the Morsi government in administering Egypt. They complained that Morsi did not understand the real meaning of democracy and did not tolerate dissenting opinions.
However, Morsi did not kill a single person during his short tenure as leader of Egypt. Some critics of his were indeed charged in court. But that was totally within the ambit of the democratic process. If the authorities feel that a person has committed an unlawful action against the president, such as spreading false and malicious information, then it is the right of the leader to charge him in court. The court will then decide whether the person charged is guilty or not. But you don’t use heavy machine guns to shoot to kill people who oppose you.
What has taken place in Egypt is mass killings of citizens by the military and supported by the unelected leaders of the country. It was undoubtedly a crime against humanity. The perpetrators deserve to be arrested and charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
What is happening in Egypt will expose the true colours of governments, groups and individuals everywhere. If they are true to their words in claiming themselves to be upholders of freedom, justice and democracy, they will describe the current unelected leaders of Egypt for what they really are - a bunch of bloodthirsty killers and criminals who not only need to be deposed but also deserve to be arrested and punished for their inhuman actions.
The Muslim Brotherhood members have reiterated their stance. They will never retreat from their struggle to uphold freedom and democracy and to oppose any form of military coup. They will never retreat from their efforts to rid their country of illegitimate leaders and replace them with legitimate and democratically elected leaders. This being the case, we can expect more killings of the innocents in the coming days.

True supporters of freedom and democracy will know which side deserves their unequivocal support. The ones who are not true to their words will either remain silent or ambivalent.  And silence in the face of genocide and the massacre of innocents may well signal complicity.

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