As we tried to tell you. “The terrifying truth behind the so-called Arab Spring,” by John R. Bradley for the Daily Mail, December 20 (thanks to Thomas Pellow):
Stripped above the waist “” save for her bright blue bra “” the protester lies in a street just off Cairo’s Tahrir Square, seconds before a soldier stamps on her naked torso.
She has been dragged around by her arms and beaten by frenzied soldiers wielding metal batons, but still they won’t let her escape to safety.
This brutal scene from Egypt has sent new shockwaves around the West in the past three days, as the military regime has become ever more brutal towards pro-democracy protesters. Ten people have been killed and more than 400 wounded.
For just as much of the uplifting narrative about the Arab Spring was based on wishful thinking in the West, so the protests in Tahrir Square are being hopelessly misinterpreted. […]
And this process has been helped by the deeply conservative attitudes of most of Egypt’s population. The widespread response to the picture is not anger at the soldiers” actions, but puzzlement as to why the woman’s family let her join the protest.
There has been little condemnation from the Islamist political parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
That is because the Islamists, no allies of the pro-democracy movement, are playing the long game. Ultimately, what they aim to construct is a Muslim state run according to strict, fundamentalist Sharia law. And they are well on their way to that goal.
In the first round of the recent Parliamentary elections last month, they emerged as the dominant force.
In the second round, currently underway, it looks as though the Muslim Brotherhood, and the even more extreme Salafi Muslim parties, will again win around 70″‰”‰per cent of the vote “” compared with just over 10 per cent for the parties set up by revolutionaries.
As they march along this road towards a Muslim theocracy, the Islamists are happy for the time being to let the military establishment remain in charge.
Rule by the generals, which has effectively been the method of governance in Egypt since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s coup in 1952, allows the Islamists to avoid the blame for unresolvable economic and social problems.
More importantly, where the Islamists really want to concentrate their energies is in the imposition of their cultural fascism.
Anyone who wishes to understand where Egypt is heading should take a look at the coastal city of Alexandria. For a century this was an open, thriving cosmopolitan port “” almost European in its atmosphere of laid-back tolerance.
But, in the early Eighties, the Islamists made it their base and, ever since, freedom has been in retreat. These days Alexandria resembles nothing so much as totalitarian Saudi Arabia. And be in no doubt, what has happened in Alexandria over the past three decades will be repeated throughout Egypt “” only in a much shorter timescale, since the Islamists now have a political mandate.
Last week, they announced they want to ban mixed-bathing, bikinis on the beach, and the consumption of alcohol in popular Red Sea resorts like Sharm El-Sheikh. The same strictures might soon appear across swathes of North Africa.
Already Tunisia and Morocco, both historically renowned for their openness, are becoming dramatically more repressive as the Islamists take control.[…]
Egypt remains in an economic mess, with tax revenues plummeting, debts rising, growth non-existent and crime rates rocketing.
Thanks to the events of the past year, tourism “” once the mainstay of the economy “” has almost collapsed, with the number of tourists to cities like Luxor and Aswan down by 90 per cent.
Images of semi-stripped women being dragged through the streets by police will hardly help to restore confidence among potential Western holidaymakers.
And although the Egyptian masses crave stability and peace for now, when they can no longer afford basic foodstuffs, when power cuts become a daily occurrence, then they might yet be forced to take to the streets again.
If they do, the military establishment will become the focus of their fury.
And the Islamists, with all their cunning, will exploit the moment to gain supreme power, siding with the people against the army. In the process, the liberals “” who helped to spark the January revolution “” will truly be crushed into oblivion.