Exchanging Minds For Boots In Egypt: Is It Some Sort Of Mass Delirium?
14 February 2014
By Diana Moukalled
What on earth is it that compels some people to gather
together their children—the eldest of whom is probably
no older than eight years old—and make them stand in
line while literally holding a military boot over
their tiny heads?
They then tell the little ones to smile for the
photographer as they pose next to images of Field
Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, dubbed the "Lion of
Egypt." These sorry photographs are then published
around the world.
Why do these images have to appear?
Has the military boot become such an icon of the era
that it should be placed over the heads of our
children? In the past we have seen people wearing it
around their waists or their necks, sometimes kissing
it and holding it close to their hearts. Now it can be
seen above the heads of children, themselves barely
bigger than the boots themselves.
What is happening in Egypt? Is it some sort of mass
Yes, there are security fears in Egypt and these are
real, grave and dangerous, but the people who are
reportedly targeting Egypt cannot be identified. Yet
politicians, activists and the media—possibly the
worst and most ignorant in Egypt's history—are
manipulating these fears in the most casual way. Have
you heard the absurd statements being issued by
certain figures across all TV channels, whether
pro-government or private?
In Egypt some people are trying to increase, not calm,
"No impartiality and no objectivity" is the empty
slogan that has made it easy to create suspicions and
spread lies and delusion. We have seen commentators
and politicians on television spouting the vilest
phrases and describing the most absurd scenarios, all
in agreement that there is a major global conspiracy
against Egypt and that the only way of dealing with
this and getting rid of its Muslim Brotherhood
adherents is the military boot. And it has become
natural for both politicians and journalists to
condemn and destroy these alleged "conspirators."
We are witnessing the easy peddling of the idea that
there is no room for criticism of all this, and that
the "danger" facing the country justifies this
illogical stance. This is an Egypt where we see 20 Al-Jazeera
journalists—including Westerners—thrown in jail under
the pretext of being part of a conspiracy nobody
understands. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism,
we are seeing the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as
liberal activists, leftists, academics and
journalists, thrown in jail in their droves.
Earlier this week, the news reported that a man had
filed a complaint against his own wife, accusing her
of dealing with the outlawed Brotherhood. The evidence
presented by the husband? A picture of his wife in
London smiling while making the infamous pro-Mohamed
Mursi Rabaa hand gesture.
Most independent Western and international media talk
about the oppression that is taking place in Egypt.
Newspapers such as The New York Times have written
articles and op-eds about the "Egyptian Catastrophe"
in an attempt to explain and analyze the reality of
what is happening in the country. All the while, these
same articles are dismissed as being part of the
conspiracy against Egypt. How is this possible?
Journalists and columnists are publishing articles
that justify what is taking place today on a daily
basis. They ridicule those of us who live outside
Egypt and who watch in shock and despair at the events
unfolding there, as if we do not understand anything
and need explanations to justify what the military
institution is doing.
Egypt is living through a difficult and oppressive
era, but nothing justifies erasing our children's
minds and replacing them with military boots with only
one role: to stamp on their dreams and rights.
Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected
TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her
phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked
Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas
and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and
satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a
veteran war correspondent, having covered both the
wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the
Isreali "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern
Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained world wide
recognition and was named one of the most influential
women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine