Murder of Tunisia’s Chokri Belaid puts Egypt on alert

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An Egyptian television channel began its newscast with the following: “Mohammed ElBaradei murdered in mysterious circumstances…this piece of news which we now expect in the future days..” This hypothetical news piece was broadcast hours after the funeral of Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid, whose murder outraged the Tunisian public opinion and pursuant to the Egyptian one, in the Tunisian capital.

Despite the extent of their inspiration by the Tunisian revolution, the Egyptians’ extent of worries are as equal when it comes to fears of the Tunisian revolution’s slip since it represents a warning of what awaits them.

Media in Tunisia and Egypt were on high alert waiting for new victims. Being prepared begins from now by preparing resumes and means of coverage for those who may be harmed by fatwas of murder, reprimand, accusations of infidelity, spying and tampering with security. Despite the technical mystery for the perpetrator of the assassination, these murder stories have become classic…The scenario is not out of the ordinary. There are many similar situations in the 80’s and 90’s of the past century.

Although the murder of Belaid was the direct and barefaced form of assassinations, Egypt has within the past weeks also witnessed silent assassinations of people not famous like Belaid. There were silent assassinations of active youths efficient in opposing the Brotherhood rule especially via social networking pages.

Today, fatwas of takfir which famous authors and intellectuals paid with their lives for has returned. The fatwas of murder today are not limitedly made in front of a small crowd in a mosque. Those making death calls may be participating in a televised dialogue meeting. They may be making these via a recorded message on YouTube…Political Islam no longer skulks, and it is no longer mysterious. Through its several faces, it has become flagrant and inciting even to murder.

One more time, the murderer is not known on the technical level but launching campaigns of takfir grant legitimacy to murder. What orators of takfir and prompt to decapitate is a real test we are all taking. So do we have to transform into a violent community or hold on to the principle of discussion and peaceful struggle more than ever?

We are once again in front of declared murder stories. Amid the spread of communication means, we can find a YouTube video prompting to kill Belaid or a YouTube video of an Egyptian sheikh who puts down the names of opposition figures on enforceable murder lists. Whether he was the murderer himself or someone acted on his behalf, inciting here has the task of killing. Unfortunately for the murderers, they are incapable of getting the meaning of modern life. Belaid’s assassination for example revived a Tunisian tendency opposing political Islam and the practices of sheikhs. The peak of this revival was the massive protest represented in the funeral of the one betrayed.

A similar thing is happening in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood and their Salafi partners cannot be exonerated from the victim’s death as there is a video tape showing one of their sheikhs inciting to the murder of a certain victim. They are the hypothetical murderers in case they are not the real ones, and this has a price in politics.


This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Feb. 11,2013

Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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