Operation Egypt’s recent self-review article sought to encourage other groups and individuals to take similar steps, however there are some to whom activism are just words. We will not be silent to those who hide behind empty words and hypocrisy. All of us contributed to the state Egypt has reached today, but some are still hiding behind their duplicity and need others to do it for them.
The current situation in Egypt attracts the attention of many analysts and commentators, each with their own motivation. The complexities of the region demands a lot of sincere and honest efforts to better understand it and to be able to portray it correctly and adequately to the world. Operation Egypt decided to take a closer look at these efforts in an attempt to aid those looking for credible sources.
Where to start? There is no specific order to our series – and anyone might find themselves under scrutiny. Who reports with integrity – and who has an agenda to push? Operation Egypt tackles its first, Eric Trager.
A brief introduction on Eric: He is that notorious sex symbol, one who doesn’t shy away from his chauvinist side. Having worked extensively in his university life to make his and that of other pro-Israel voices heard as a student in Harvard, graduating from (and featured by) the Bronfman Youth Fellowship in Israel (BYFI) – a program founded by billionaire zionist Edgar Bronfman.
As secretary of Harvard Students for Israel (HSI), Eric found it incumbent upon himself to eradicate anti-semitism – if he could find any. Working undercover, using false aliases and hoping to uncover students who may be critical of Israel’s transgression, an act he describes as monitoring anti-semitism.
Hailed by The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) as an expert on Egypt, and privy to secret information on the MB (including the structure found on their website).
Despite posing as an expert and democracy advocate, he pushes for the idea that Mubarak’s generals are a good choice. And so they are – for Israel’s interests. Any other leader for Egypt is passed as a bad idea and for emphasis, blatant lies were told in his JSpace interview. No wonder Mubarak loving cronies endorse him.
Eric Trager has for years supported the right to freedom and democracy, on his own terms of course!
On the 6th of October, tens of protesters were brutally killed by the military as they sought to stifle all dissent and disperse protests. A figure from the Freedom and Justice Party tweets:
But who defines freedom? Let’s ask Eric.
It would seem that Eric forgot in January 2011 people took to the streets for their popular revolution – but did he believe the protests then a suicide mission too?
But it’s only freedom when Eric is in Tahrir.
In August 2011, Eric writes about the protests that rocked the country throughout SCAF’s tenure, and being a champion of democracy and the right of expression, it would seem that he believed then in the right of protesting and was able to justify their continuous presence.
“Given these realities, the only way for the protesters to stay relevant in the post-Mubarak era was to continue holding massive demonstrations.” — Eric Trager, August 5, 2011.
Strangely, it would appear that anti-coup protesters don’t share the same rights and instead, those taking to the streets are merely going there “to die” – being relevant isn’t for them.
Eric fully understood that in the climate Egypt was in (during Morsi’s time), there were legitimate concerns faced by the protesters, and that the violence being witnessed daily on the streets of Egypt is merely a reflection of the public’s frustration.
“Although the demonstrators are motivated by various grievances, the breakdown of order in cities across the country indicates a general failure of governance that threatens indefinite instability — a situation that would make Egypt an uncertain U.S. partner.” — Eric Trager, January 29, 2013.
Says Eric in January 2013. He adds:
“The extent of the violence reflects the public’s frustration with mounting economic woes and Cairo’s failure to meet many of the revolution’s demands, …”
“Specifically, Washington should tell Morsi that he cannot realistically prevent violent, destabilizing protests without a serious policy for resuscitating the failing economy, attracting investments, and spurring job creation.”
Obviously, any protester violence being witnessed now is not reflective of the the public’s frustration with mounting economic woes, and it would be seen that the current economic climate today isn’t enough of a reason for Washington to tell Al-Sisi that he cannot realistically prevent violent destabilizing protests.
As Eric states, it is only natural to assume that the breakdown of order in cities across the country is clearly indicative of the governance’s failure, and far be it from his tweets and articles to point otherwise.
“To promote these violent efforts, Muslim Brothers appeal to their supporters through social media, establishing violent Facebook groups that have attracted thousands of ‘likes’.” — Eric Trager, March 19, 2014.
Says the post-Morsi Eric. He also adds:
“Yet amidst a crackdown that has killed over 1,000 Morsi supporters, Muslim Brothers aren’t turning the other cheek. Armed with improvised weapons such as flaming aerosol cans and Molotov cocktails, they are directing a campaign of lower-profile violence against various governmental and civilian targets, aiming to stir chaos and thereby weaken the post-Morsi regime.”
The consistency in his principles don’t stop there however, having recently written an article whitewashing the crackdown against protesters that have not stopped since July the 3rd. Yet it would seem that anger is only reserved to some, not others.
The Maspero march in October 2011 protesing against the military, after the demolition of a church, sparked significant outrage across Egypt as tens of protesters, mostly Copts were killed and protesters trampled upon. Eric writes, in understandable outrage:
“The October 9 march reportedly drew some 10,000 demonstrators and featured anti-SCAF chants. On reaching downtown, marchers were pelted with rocks hurled by SCAF-associated thugs, and — on approaching Maspero — attacked with clubs. For the uniformed authorities’ part, they at first responded to the procession by firing into the air, but soon afterward this restraint was punctured by two armored personnel carriers barreling into the marchers, with soldiers atop each vehicle firing into the crowds, a maneuver that accounted for most of the day’s casualties. As word of the attack spread across social networks, youth activists rushed to the scene to protect the Coptic demonstrators.” — Eric Trager, October 11, 2011.
To better understand the work of Eric, and how exactly he reaches his conflicting opinions above, you need to take a closer look at how he conducts his studies and the scientific methods he calls upon to base his assumptions on when analyzing the current political climate of Egypt and commenting.
Hard to prove things in Egypt. Or is it?
Of course the fact that the tweet in question was merely reporting violent acts not claiming responsibility is besides the point. After all, you can’t really “prove” anything in Egypt.
Eric only ever uses the most scientific methods to base his assumptions on, and repeating reports is sad and not befitting to a man of Eric’s caliber, who only ever uses authentic scientific analysis.
He wouldn’t do that.
Observing the current state of affairs is no easy job, and at times Eric must advise Washington as he sees fit. He writes on Morsi, not known for his inclusive behavior, advising:
“It should also tell him that continuing his practice of noninclusive rule and power consolidation will leave the masses feeling disenfranchised, making more — and more violent — episodes likely.” — Eric Trager, January 29, 2013.
Making more – and more – violent episodes likely.
Yet upon Ibrahim Munir, a senior MB leader, issuing the same analysis, a different interpretation seems fitting.
There are a few constants in Eric’s principles.
For one defending the violations committed by the Israeli army, “If you don’t believe Israel has a legitimate right to use its army amidst this clear threat, then you oppose its secure existence, and that’s anti-Semitic” it hardly seems surprising for him to share who the first people on the planet to put the word violence in the Oxford dictionary.
It would seem that Eric did not learn from his undergraduate days, whether by posing as an anti-semitic Fabian Cooper, or by passing himself as a German-Irish Unitarian Vegetarian in Lebanon to now interviewing people on the ground under a fake alias. All these incidents make you think Eric Try-Harder.