Egypt's New Anti-Muslim-Brotherhood Militia
Egypt's Black Bloc grew out of their struggle for liberation from an authoritarian system, only after non-violent civil efforts had failed. Ironically, the U.S. Black Bloc and Egypt's Black Bloc are on opposite sides of the political struggle – one, in the U.S., a friend to the Muslim Brotherhood and doubtless trying to gain prestige through their nominal association with international fighters; the other, in Egypt, an enemy to the Brotherhood, and fighting for democracy and legitimate government.
Clad in black, faceless in black ski masks, the nameless Black Bloc soldiers lock arms to create a human shield in defense of pro-freedom protesters -- the Black Bloc's number-one priority -- in the streets and squares of Egypt. Expert in martial arts and ostensibly military-trained, Black Bloc warriors only recently surfaced in Egypt to safeguard fellow freedom-fighters from their arch-enemies, the foes of democracy: President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas militia.
Originating out of a plan to protect women protesters from sexual assault, this huge band of men and women numbering in the thousands (the exact number is not known) form a dedicated and determined corps of combatants divided into local groups of 30-50 individuals in Egypt's communities. Self-described as "anti-Muslim-Brotherhood," and generated out of disgust toward years of police and military brutality, the Black Bloc is, for modern Egypt, a completely new phenomenon.
As participants in this well-organized system for safety and preservation, the secret members of the "elite" Black Bloc guard first appeared in the streets of Cairo this January, when revolutionaries commemorated their two-year anniversary with protests in Tahrir Square. Now everywhere the Egyptian opposition stages protests, the rank-and-file Black Bloc, whose leaders remain unknown to them, dutifully move in to police the area on behalf of fellow protesters.
Deemed "terrorists" and "outlaws" by the Morsi regime, the shadowy Zorro-like heroes refer to their network as the "United Ghosts Revolution" and represent a just cause in the ongoing rebellion against Egypt's Islamist government. The Black Bloc mission is to ensure that no more assaults, kidnappings, and torture occur from Morsi's security forces [the Muslim Brotherhood militia] and so-called law enforcement, and that a "camel gazwa," [invading crowds on galloping camels] as in the early days of the revolt, never takes place again. Many Black Bloc members carry firearms, most likely acquired through the illegal networks smuggling weapons from Libya and Gaza.
If the best defense is a good offense, the forceful Black Bloc has aggressively expanded its scope beyond the scene of gathered protesters and their protection. With a physical presence in more than eight cities across Egypt, the anonymous soldiers have claimed responsibility for ransacking at least eight separate Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party offices.
At first, the shrouded Black Bloc raised the fears; the public saw them as terrorists. This wrong impression, however, was soon dispelled as their image as guardians took shape. Appearing first in the social media, the Black Bloc now has the moral support of more than 57,000 Facebook members for the purpose of countering Islamic supremacy and brutality.
Their core concern is to facilitate the pursuit of Western-style democracy. Its members claim no affiliation with existing political parties, as the group states that it "aims only to stand against the Muslim Brotherhood and any group exploiting religion to achieve political goals." As pro-democracy secularists using slogans such as, "Our mess prevents chaos" and, "We are confusion that prevents confusion," their challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood has prompted a new crackdown by President Morsi and his Prime Minister, Hasham Kandil. The state now targets opposition protesters who wear black, tracking those who do and conducting investigations. By mid-February, Morsi began arresting members of Black Bloc and its sympathizers.
Running under the banner of "Allah, Country, Revolution," the "outlaws" have been accused by Islamists of having Israeli backing and connections to Western funding. Further, rumors charge them with burning the rear building of the scientific complex in Cairo, and of involvement in attacks upon city infrastructure, including damaging government buildings, paralyzing traffic, and obstructing subway transportation. The Black Bloc flatly denies participation in these crimes and blames the Muslim Brotherhood for tarnishing their image and credibility.
The group does fully admit, however, to targeting Brotherhood locations in the following Cairo incidents: burning the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Sixth October area, storming the media offices of "Brothers Online," torching the Freedom and Justice Party newspaper headquarters and targeting more than one Moomen [Believer] Brotherhood-owned restaurant.
In keeping with their mission statement, Egypt's Black Bloc members claim they have nothing against state institutions per se, "but against control by a particular system, the supremacy of a certain group." They further contend that "the best thing is to hit the existing system and its economy by sabotaging the system's institutions and not ones belonging to the public." Despite this, a U.S. "Black Bloc" attempts to connect its mission against America and governmental power structures to the cause of Egypt's Black Bloc.
Egypt's Black Bloc grew out of the chaos of President Morsi's actions, which necessitated a course correction – such as the use of security, weaponry and attacks -- for freedom-fighters in their struggle for liberation from an authoritarian system. Although tactics similar to the U.S. Black Bloc anarchists are used, Egypt's fighters do not seek anarchism. Furthermore, the Shariah religious state is contrary to the western democratic state, and the roles of their respective revolts find their meaning and identity by way of the system they fight, not the tactics and strategies they use.
U.S. Black Bloc vandalism is class-warfare, a staple of the progressive political agenda of some in America who opportunistically seem to have intertwined themselves with Muslim Brotherhood goals. While actions by the U.S. Black Bloc ultimately favor the short-term goals of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's Black Bloc interrupts the Muslim Brotherhood's power structure with material and moral losses. Ironically, the U.S. Black Bloc and Egypt's Black Bloc are on opposite sides of the political struggle – the one in the U.S. a friend to the Muslim Brotherhood; the other, in Egypt, an enemy to the Brotherhood.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Black Bloc has appealed to Egypt's Black Bloc in a Feb 9th open letter to initiate intercontinental dialogue. The naive U.S. Black Bloc views tactics and strategies on YouTube and mistakes them for "consensus" – then seeks the thrill of joining hands with Egyptians, and using these tactics as a more "generalized revolt." They are hardly, as the letter suggests, fighting the same "stable power structure." Egypt's revolt reached the point of violence only after non-violent civil efforts failed and were no longer an option for achieving democracy.
The U.S. Black Bloc members, in advancing their "project of revolt," are doubtless trying to gain prestige through their nominal association with international fighters, and probably see their dream being "enacted spontaneously" in a full-fledged, high-stakes revolt on the brink of civil war in Egypt. The Egyptian freedom-fighters, on the contrary, aim unequivocally for democracy and legitimate government. "We want to take the struggle out of the hands of political parties entirely," states the U.S. Black Bloc; but Egypt's Black Bloc struggles with the hope of the rise of new political leadership and a real democratic party.
The U.S. Black Bloc, according to its letter to Egypt, wishes to have the Muslim Brotherhood in governments around the world, to "clarify" the global power structure and then assert Black Bloc tactics uniformly worldwide to defeat the state. Egypt's revolutionaries, fighting for freedom within the heart of political Islam, would not take any chance with such a sinister plan.
Ashraf Ramelah is on the Advisory Board of SION (Stop Islamization of Nations) and president of Voice of the Copts, a human rights organization. In 2010, VOTC sued the Mubarak regime, which refused to change the religious ID card of a Muslim convert to Christianity.
Reader comments on this item
|Behavioral Defects Generated By Protected Class Laws Exemplified [532 words]||Walter Brown||May 9, 2013 08:32|
|↔ Confusion about protected class [195 words]||Tad Cook||May 10, 2013 07:44|
|A distinction with a large difference [39 words]||Sak||May 8, 2013 10:13|
|Not a CIA operation, then? [28 words]||Cremaster||May 7, 2013 19:19|
|Question [26 words]||Glen R. Cook||May 6, 2013 09:05|
|Congratulations and thanks [77 words]||David||May 6, 2013 05:35|
Comment on this item
by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.