The collective named Operation Egypt (aka OpEgypt) always says it is guided by a set of principles. Were all of these principles adhered to during the few months following July 3rd, 2013 (i.e., the second coup by SCAF since 2011)? Apparently no, as this article is going to show. We have decided that it is about time for us to criticize our own crew’s performance in order to learn from our mistakes.
This self-review article is very important to us. It gives our crew more power, helps us avoid repetition of past mistakes, and encourages other groups and individuals to take similar steps. The latter is a bit unlikely for those who make a living out of “activism” though. Such step for them is probably never going to happen, unless someone does it for them.
We have issued our first post-July3 declaration of self-audit, on the 24th of July, as crew members became increasingly aware of OpEgypt’s overall non-adherence to its own principles, especially after July 3rd, 2013. Several similar self-audits have taken place before with varying magnitudes. That 24th of July one however passed largely not understood by some of the followers, but there it is for reference. So, to be clear, the current latest self-review by our crew is not the first one, and is certainly not the last.
What exactly went wrong with OpEgypt?
We spoke about some kind of deviation in the third post-July3 press release, without any further details. In this article, we elaborate a little bit by dividing our post-July3 deviations into two categories; position deviation, and behavior deviation. This article gives dozens of examples on these deviations and will act as a reference for ourselves before it can be a reference for other groups.
OpEgypt’s position and behavior since the beginning of the June 30 events have witnessed several mistakes. As we have illustrated earlier, different possible positions can be seen on what’s going on in Egypt (P.S.: OpEgypt has transited from I to H through F). So, we can’t deny taking part of the July 3rd coup (the second coup) and the regime orchestrated demonstrations leading to it in June 30th. Therefore, there’s no use in trying to wash our hands form what is going on in Egypt right now. However, everyone has a responsibility to carry, and that includes those who led Egypt into this way from the beginning of February 11th 2011 (the first coup). No single party or group is responsible alone for what happened. All groups will not like to agree on this, while some will try to downplay the role of their party compared to others. However, that’s not our business.
Some might argue that the (so called) most organized should carry the most of the responsibility, while others would respond that the fake democratic opposition are the number one to blame. If Tamarud were the useful idiot used by SCAF to fill the squares with anti-revolution folks (in addition to misled pro-revolution ones) in June 30th 2013, then those who have actively helped SCAF clear the squares from pro-revolution peeps in February 11th 2011 must have been the masters of idiocy. Especially when it’s not their first time to do it, as we may have learnt from the 1952 coup. Fairly dividing responsibility and throwing blame is not the goal of this article. All we are saying is that no one is “not responsible”.
No “coupist” is better than the other. We all took part in this, no matter how some parties or groups would like to blame it all on the other side for a political gain. Those in the palace before June 30 thought they are so smart that they even supported the military deployment, thinking it’s there for their protection. We won’t even try to ask anyone for a self-review. All we can do is start with ourselves.
The first coup (February 11th, 2011) was a ‘necessary preparation’ for the second (July 3rd, 2013). The regime (SCAF) was going to stick all the post 2011 trouble to the most organized group anyway (guess who), but for that to happen that group had to be killed politically first, and the masses divided. So that’s what the period between coup 1 and coup 2 was all about. The regime is not too smart though, and it can be defeated for sure, but it’s us (all the groups) who are apparently so stupid.
What we did and what we didn’t do?
In the points below, let us take a look on what was a behavioral mistake, what was a position mistake, and what was not a mistake at all. Let us take a look on what we did and what we didn’t do.
OpEgypt did not condone the killing of innocents by the regime or by anyone. Yes, OpEgypt did have a lot of terrible mistakes by crew members in 2013’s summer as will be presented below. However, despite of this, no one ever justified the killing of innocent people. In several publications, OpEgypt was clear about condemning all killing, no matter what. Also repeatedly stating that the killing of innocents cannot be justified, advising everyone to visit other outlets to get the full picture, and also asking for the people to post what they got.
OpEgypt was having almost all its resources focused in only one direction, which may have been a necessary decision at first, but one of the side effects was that it has gradually turned the collective’s engine into almost a state propaganda machine in many instances as will be shown shortly. Unfortunately, most people like to be fed the information with a silver spoon and our strategy of asking the public to bring the balance to our biased coverage was a big failure too.
Repeating false regime narrative, unverified content, and advertising for June 30:
OpEgypt did advertise for June30 protests against Morsi. However this kind of behavior really faints when compared to other types that we present in this section. Since July 3rd, OpEgypt has been critical of the media while in fact it was doing a terrible job itself in multiple occasions. Drifting repeatedly into repeating the false regime narrative. Not only that, but also publishing unverified content, and advertising for the July 3rd coup (the second coup).
One pattern of mistakes is stressing on isolated stories featuring unknowns and trying to stick it to the MB group or supporters of Morsi in blanket references. Such as here; Who does this man represent but himself? Who did really print this flyer? Spreading wrong conclusion without evidence, despite of claiming to investigate and verify everything. Repeating the MOI stories, here and here. Repeating SCAF’s meaningless stories, such as a report on grad missiles heading to Cairo! Really? Grad, and not Katyusha?! It can’t be used in such environment. And more of this regime narrative has appeared on OpEgypt in what appeared like a pattern, as in here, here and here.
OpEgypt has Even went on to spreading a false context such as this one, where the protesters would have used another route of many if their plan was reaching Tahrir as OpEgypt claimed. Repeating the regime’s fantasies about the numbers of protesters, which were taken from the regime’s mouth and spread by the MSM. In addition to repeating the narrative of the regime controlled media without a real investigation. What used to be praised in 2011 as a revolutionary act, was strangely later condemned. Other actions are not really verified and could be done by police agent provocateurs or false flag black operations. So it’s a shame trying to stick it to one side while claiming accuracy.
Present and adopt third narratives to the story:
Stressing on the fact that Egypt’s military regime is a US funded state within a state. Trying to raise awareness about other categories of dissent in Egypt that go missing from the MSM narrative, as well as some facts about the military industrial complex. Feature balanced opinions on the alleged MB violence, and adopting a non standard perspectives about what’s going on. Other efforts including attempts to challenge the MSM false labels. Despite of supporting June30 in multiple publications, and despite of the various mistakes, yet OpEgypt has adopted a non-standard position regarding the situation in Egypt, especially after the unprecedented massacre by the regime in Rabaa square.
Challenge false narrative by anti-coup and other made up reports:
No one likes to be exposed. One doesn’t claim peacefulness in English speaking media and then publish a list of unverified allegedly murderer cops names on an official local Arabic speaking website inciting the ordinary people and those wronged by the police and have not seen justice yet, to harm them, without proof, or celebrate the riots especially when the page is run by people on the run in Turkey, London and elsewhere, and so fear no consequences for their wrong actions.
Here’s another example for the unacceptable rhetoric by some high level anti-coup folks, which cannot be justified or condoned as it has grave consequences. Will they ever apologize? Similarly shooting at the police from within a peaceful demonstration is nothing but a provocation of a massacre. Even if we assume that the militant was not affiliated to the group, how come didn’t his action provoke the hundreds of protesters surrounding him to take action against him? Why was this scenario seem to have been repeated..? Some questions require answers.
If Robert Fisk is telling the truth, long before the terrible Rabaa square massacre, then why was this detail not considered until it became too late? Why weren’t the innocent people warned? Not to mention, why did the police kill all these innocents? There’s no excuse. Anti-coup have been suffering from a lot of issues related to news fabrication.
That doesn’t mean the incidents reported didn’t happen, or that people didn’t die, yet using fake evidence to prove it is self-harming to say the least. Similarly when you use a wrong photo to say the police is brutal, the brutal police should send you a thanks letter for the free service! It’s even more harming to claim peacefulness while every now and then, from your luxurious hotel, inciting ordinary people to go die for you, and then deleting your inciting quickly.
Other exposed anti-coup mistakes include, sectarian language, denied torture, denied presence of any sort of weapons, overly exaggerated reporting, out of context reporting, condoning or denying any attacks on journalists, impersonating military officers, not explaining this, or this, or saying what you won’t dare to do. Our crew did focus on exposing such mistakes and more to people who can’t read Arabic.
Challenge other false narrative by some anti-coup:
Those who are against the MB policies, or even against the so called Islamists in general are of a variety of kinds. They have different reasons. No one can deny that some percentage of them are Islamophobic, however the story by some of a war on Islam by Egypt’s tyrant regime is only a recruitment tool. It distracts from the real problem. When did the Muslim Brotherhood apply religion anyway? SCAF uses religion more than they did. It’s all about power and money.
It all started as the regime versus the people united, however opportunists and fake democrats have ruined it for years, if not decades, to come. The so called democratic Islamists and the tyrant regime are two faces for the same coin. The regime brutality didn’t return after the July 3rd coup, simply because it hasn’t been anywhere since the end of January 2011, and obviously before that.
Challenge misconceptions about the nature of dissent:
This image helps a lot in explaining the situation in Egypt between February 11th 2011 (the first coup) and July 3rd 2013 (the second coup). The green background has the MB logo in the middle and the word constitution all around it. In the foreground is the “bearded” military regime, wearing Uncle Sam’s boots, crushing dissent, strangling workers, pressing the poor, chaining media, repressing expression, manipulating justice, controlling economy, arresting and torturing opponents. However, before the February 2011 military coup was not much different from after the July 3rd one, where the image is the same, except with no beard and a little different background image.
In the media you never hear about the third current or the third square, not to mention the difference between them! The fight in Egypt is neither pro-Morsi vs pro-military, nor pro-secular vs pro-Islamic reference, as the media presents. Away from the MSM labels, supporting Morsi or SCAF doesn’t imply much about how religious a person is. For many, Morsi and SCAF are the same regime freak no matter how much the face changes.
Challenge false narrative by pro-coup and the regime:
Pro-coup activists too are consistently trying to twist the image of their opponents, often in a dirty way by Photoshopping media to defame and waste the rights of peaceful protestors. Even by calling for the “extermination” of a whole sector of the Egyptian society. Accusing anyone who tries to speak against the militaristic single narrative situation, in Egypt, especially in the media, or anyone who protests, of being a member of supporter of the MB, which is the organization that they are trying hard to stick the terrorism label to it with no evidence. Terrorists are those who kill innocents en mass and never face justice. The MB didn’t do that, or at least, there’s no evidence that has been presented so far but merely political rubbish. Their logic is highly flawed and you realize that whenever you try to argue with a pro-coup individual.
OpEgypt has been a supporter of June 30, and did occasionally get involved in the false narrative business, and this has been gradually corrected after long crew discussions. From early on, we have repeatedly recommended several other English speaking anti-coup outlets that have been actively focusing on reporting regime violations and crimes. The promised investigations over the mass murders that took place by the police after July 3rd were a big lie. They ended up blaming it on the protestors. So why would the regime lie if its side is clean?
Challenge media misreporting and stress on ignored stories of the time:
Misreporting varies from repeating a false narrative to fabricating, trimming, or twisting by stressing on misleading keywords. The whole story of an old regime fighting against the new regime is not true. It’s always the same regime, that is manipulating the opportunists who chose to cooperate with it against the winds of change. But MSM folks are too lazy to learn about similar points. It’s not about democracy. They are even too lazy to do a little more effort to realize their on screen mistakes. However, on screen mistakes are nothing compared to trimming stories and selective reporting of incidents.
Some people deliberately take stories out of its context in order to get a few more retweets as a reward. Or perhaps hide in a nice cafe a few blocks away from the developing situation and start tweeting incorrect info. The bias in the MSM can not be explained when it comes to exposing repression. Based on what do they define repression?
However can these mistakes be compared to the current MSM mistakes on what’s going on in Egypt? That double standard when they call the thugs attack anti-SCAF protesters, they are called “residents”, while any anti-SCAF protesters are called MB, who are called “terrorists” while terrorists are called “police”.
The collective of OpEgypt has no political drive. It does not fit under any political label and it cannot. We support whoever sides with the people regardless of political reference. OpEgypt suffered from serious issues after June 30. Namely; position confusion, deviations from standing with the oppressed principles, and deviations from the accuracy principles. Some of the issues aren’t worth a dedicated article to be addressed in, while others were just too wrong to be ignored. Gladly OpEgypt is not an individual. It is a dynamic collective, guided by a set of principles. Self-correction is one capability we are proud of. Our crew is ready to receive the readers’ feedback on this article as it will be all taken seriously.