The West will never understand this crisis

Our immense “despair for the loss of human lives” in the midst of the slaughter that sparked off in the past few hours in Egypt, is rather obvious. Therefore, Lady Catherine Ashton, high representative for Foreign Policy and Security of the European Union — expressed it naturally. Equally obvious was the fact that Ashton “urges all those involved to abstain from violence and respect the principles of peaceful protests and non-violence”. Accustomed to the demonstrations in Downing Street, William Hague expresses the same feelings as all the others, worrying and asking that everyone be calm. Underlying this thought is the idea that the parties involved could find an agreement… that the compromise, as is used here, could save lives. In the meantime, the death toll is rising, the hatred advances hand in hand with the violence between the army of Abdel Fattah al Sisi and the Muslim Brotherhood of Morsi.
The type of declarations that are made, as so well said by the scholar Harold Rhode on Gatestone, are totally meaningless and, what is worse, they weaken our influence. It s foolish to attempt to induce to calmness by talking about something totally extraneous to the culture of a world that knows no compromise and the partial surrender, but only victory or defeat. It is absurd that we keep on making this mistake after our words in the wind have removed from Europe and the USA all credibility since the “Arab Spring”: we saw signs of democratization and we rejoiced. In reality, they won wherever there were ultra-religious forces and anti-freedom regimes were imposed. It is quite difficult — after Egypt, on the one hand (the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to the Salaphites) took 75% of the votes and a president (Morsi) 41% — not to denounce an attack against democracy in a military coup. However, it is also true that the purpose of those forces was to form a regime that was non-democratic and Islamist. Removing the Brotherhood from power then means that the lay forces won? Not at all. They represent a small part of the anti-Morsi masses and it would be absurd to ignore the following two facts: that Egypt is a country that loves Islam and probably those that are on the field against Morsi think that, with honest and competent leaders, “Islam is the answer.” The social and political force of the lay people isn’t enough. Secondly, Egypt is a nation dominated by the army, which fears it, hates it and loves it. It is accustomed with its coup d’etat. Egypt knows that since the Nasserian coup in ’52, the driving force has been the army, with Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. General Mohammed Tantawi, who stepped aside at the age of 76, governed more than Mubarak; the army governs the economy, jobs, opinion and it is the tenth largest in the world for its number of men. Tantawi imprisoned about 10,000 Brothers ten years before the advent of Morsi.
We must understand that Islam, due to its culture and honor, does not seek compromises. Hamas and Fatah will hate each other forever; Erdogan and its opposition will never reach an agreement. Assad and the rebels have chosen massacres; Saddam Hussein let himself get killed rather than reach a compromise. We must, if we want to make a point, speak out and establish conditional politics having the courage to choose those who create less damage. In this case, it is most likely the army.

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Giornale daily; English translation copyrighted by The Gatestone Institute.

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.