Egypt's press blames Islamists for violence
- 15 August 2013
- From the section Middle East
Egypt's press was unanimous in holding the Muslim Brotherhood organisation responsible for the bloodshed during the security forces' operation against protest camps backing ousted Islamist president Muhammad Morsi. Elsewhere in the Arab World, newspapers were far more critical of the authorities for the deaths of hundreds of people.
The Brotherhood's own daily, Freedom and Justice, was not published the day after the violence, though its website continued to update and made no mention of the print version being banned.
Official and state-sponsored papers' front pages were splashed with images of violence and destruction, including smoke billowing from the raided camp sites.
Egyptian press condemns Brotherhood
Government-owned daily Al-Ahram wrote in bold red print: "The sit-in dispersed, the Brotherhood ignited the situation". The main headline of state-sponsored Rose al-Yusuf carried a single word, "Purge", in bold red over an image of smoking debris at one of the protest sites.
State-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar's headline was in bold red as well: "The nightmare of the Brotherhood is gone." Meanwhile, the state-sponsored Al-Jumurriyah continued the bold red theme, saying: "The Brotherhood Plan to burn Egypt".
Other papers, notably privately-owned Al-Yawm al-Sabi carried prominent images of protesters firing guns at security forces and pushing an armoured police car off an overpass.
In Al-Misri Al-Yawm (Egypt Today), columnist Amr Shubaki condemned Western media for supposedly downplaying the Brotherhood's own role in the violence, saying: "The collaboration of media and several Western politicians in the violence of the Brotherhood is shocking. It is a major sin to overlook the images of people covering their faces and attacking people and police, and speak only about dispersing a peaceful sit-in."
In Al-Akhbar, Muhammad Hasan al-Banna said the violence foretells the end of the Muslim Brotherhood: "Now the story of the Muslim Brotherhood has to end just as it was established, in blood. Unfortunately, the story has created generations of vampires and used Palestinian and Syrian mercenaries in addition to others. The Brotherhood has proven it does not love Egypt or the Egyptian people."
Mixed reaction in Arab world
Around the Arab World, papers lamented the events, but were divided as to who was responsible.
Two dailies in Qatar were unequivocal in blaming the Egyptian authorities for the violence. In an editorial in Al-Watan newspaper aimed at the commander in chief of the Egyptian armed forces, Samir al-Barguthi said: "General Abd-al-Fattah al-Sisi, every drop of innocent Egyptian blood that flows as a result of the bullets of your troops will be a curse that will chase you until the end of time".
An editorial in Qatari Al-Rayah newspaper also condemned the Egyptian government's "massacre" of "defenceless civilians".
In contrast, writing in Saudi Arabia's Al-Jazirah publication, Jasir abd-al-Aziz al-Jasir said the Egyptian authorities' "patience ultimately ran out" and they showed "much restraint in delaying the operation to clear the al-Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya Squares, but the protesters and the Brotherhood pushed their defiance against the new powers too far".
Elsewhere, an editorial in Moroccan Hespress lamented the violence, with graphic descriptions of the bloodshed: "The square turned yesterday into what resembled an open grave, where nothing could be smelled except death, the smell of which entered every corner of the place".