Egypt: Extreme Polarization and Genocidal Politics

24 Aug

Extreme Polarization and Genocidal Politics

In these morbid days, there are some home truths that are worth reflecting upon.

What Happened After Tahrir Square?

In retrospect, ‘the January 25th Revolution’ in Egypt is ‘a revolution’ that never was, which has now been superseded by ‘a counter-revolution’ that was never possible. Why? The dislodging of a Mubarak dynasty in 2011 did not even achieve ‘regime change’ much less initiate a transformative political process. There was no revolution to counter. Even more modest hopes for political reform and humane governance were doomed from the start, or at the latest, when Ahmet Shafik, the overtly fulool candidate of the discredited Mubarak regime polled almost 50% of the vote in the presidential election runoff against Mohamed Morsi in June 2012.

What then was Tahrir Square? Part project (getting rid of Mubarak and sons), part fantasy (hoping that the carnivalistic unity of the moment would evolve into a process of democratic state-building), part delusional experiment (believing that the established order of Mubarak elites and their secular opponents would be willing to rebuild a more legitimate political and economic order even if it meant that they would be transferring significant power and status to the Muslim Brotherhood). The 2011 turn to ‘democracy’ in Egypt always contained a partially hidden condition: the Muslim Brotherhood was welcome to participate in an electoral process so long as its support was not so great as to give it a majoritarian mandate. The liberal secularists and left groups who were at the core of the anti-Mubarak uprising anticipated that MB would win support at the 25-30% level in the forthcoming Egyptian national elections for parliament and the presidency. It was assumed that this would confine the MB to a minority role, although possibly forming the strongest single legislative bloc. This was also understood to mean that the next president of Egypt would not be directly associated with the Brothers or be seen as a representative of political Islam, but would be drawn from the ranks of liberal seculars (that is, anti-Mubarak, but also opposed to Islamic influence in governing circles). From this perspective in the Spring of 2011 it was widely expected that Amr Moussa, former Foreign Minister in Mubarak’s government and later Secretary General of the Arab League, would be elected president by a strong majority, an anticipation supported by leading public opinion polls. Moussa was both part of the Egyptian establishment with national name recognition and yet had established his anti-Mubarak claims to legitimacy in the period of upheaval.

Essentially, the fly in this Egyptian democratic ointment was the unsuspected grassroots popularity and strength of Islam, and specifically, the Muslim Brotherhood, winning control in a sequence of five elections during 2011-12, three for the parliament, two for the presidency. Whether reasonably or not, this revelation of Islamic democratic strength was the death knell of democracy in Egypt. It frightened the anti-seculars into a de facto alliance with the fulool, sealing the fate of the Morsi government. And since the legitimating procedures of the elections had repudiated the old Murbarak order, even in its post-Mubarak liberal, reconstituted self, the anti-MB opposition had to find an alternative strategy. They did: generate crises of governability and legitimacy via a massive populist mobilization, that is, insist on the democracy of the street taking precedence over the democracy of the ballot box.

The armed forces were ‘the joker’ in this political deck. The military leadership seemed at first to go along with the Tahrir Square flow, but also to play its cards in a contradictory way as to have the flexibility to control the transition to whatever would come next in Egypt, always claiming the mantle of being the guarantor of order, and the indispensable alternative to chaos. Sometimes it was perceived as having made a backroom deal with the MB, and was viewed with suspicion by the anti-Morsi forces. It should be recalled that Maj. General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, besides being the head of the armed forces, served as the Minister of Defense in the Morsi cabinet up until the day of the coup. As the anti-Morsi momentum gathered steam, the military took over the movement, either enacting its preferred scenario all along or changing horses in the middle of the race so as to be riding on the winner. In June 2012 the military could credibly claim a popular mandate to restore order and economic stability. The bloody destruction of the MB as a rival source of economic and political power implemented the mandate more harshly than anticipated.

Think of it, the group that had prevailed in a series of free elections throughout the nation in 2011-12 was scapegoated overnight into a band of ‘terrorists’ that must be crushed for the sake of Egyptian peace and security. When the word ‘terrorist’ is deployed to designate the enemies of the state, it signals that the rule of the gun will replace the rule of law. It paves the way to the adoption of exterminist and genocidal tactics by the state, and what has followed should have not have occasioned surprise, however shocking. In General el-Ssi’s carefully chosen words: “..citizens invited the armed forces to deal with terrorism, which was a message to the world and the foreign media, who denied millions of Egyptians their free will and their true desire to change..” Decoded, the general is saying the anti-Morsi ‘democratic’ masses called not only for a new leadership in Egypt but for the destruction of the MB, now recast as ‘terrorists.’

Obviously, there is no place for such terrorists in the new order of post-Morsi Egupt. In the period following the fall of Mubarak, it should be recalled that the MB was widely regarded as a moderate and nonviolent political movement with its overtly Islamic orientation respectful of political pluralism. In contrast, it is now portrayed by the coup makers and supporters as the embodiment of exclusivist and fundamentalist Islam led by bloodthirsty extremists, a makeover aided and abetted by a staunchly pro-secular and very influential mainstream media, as well as by the maneuvers of the Mubarak deep state that were never dislodged after the fall of the ruler..

ElBaradei’s disappointing participation in the coup and interim government, followed by his courageous resignation, reflects the ambivalence of true liberals, and their confusion: making nice with the military for the sake of regaining political control and economic privilege, yet not wanting too much innocent blood to be spilled in the process. Note that most of the anit-Mubarak ‘liberals’ are opportunistic at the core, and despite all that has happened, still refuse to break with the el-Sisi interim government. They have made their choice in a situation seemingly defined as either ‘us’ than ‘them,’ having learned their lesson that constitutional democracy does not work in their favor. Given this intensification of polarization there seems to be no space left for those few who retain liberal values and reject extremist political tactics even on their side of the divide. ElBaradei is apparently one of those rare principled liberal secularists who has refused to be complicit in crimes against humanity, and for this surge of conscience he has been savagely attacked as ‘a traitor’ for displaying such a change of heart in the public square, implicitly a moral challenge to those of his general background who continue to cling to el-Sisi’s fraying coattails.

Was the Muslim Brotherhood Responsible?

Could the MB have handled things differently, and avoided the July 3rd scenario? Yes, possibly, if they had kept their pledge to participate as a minority force in the new Egyptian political order, taking self-denying precautions not to dominate the parliament and not seek the presidency. In other words, it is likely that if the MB had bided its time, and allowed a liberal secular candidate to take initial control of the government, and in all probability fail, their overall position today might be quite strong. This assessment presupposes that whoever was chosen to be the first post-Mubarak leader would not be able to satisfy the expectations of the Egyptian public with respect to economic recovery and social justice, and would be rejected ‘democratically,’ in all probability by an electoral process. It is doubtful that the severe social justice problems could be addressed without a break with the neoliberal world economic system, and no secularist on the Egyptian horizon was prepared to mount such a challenge. It is quite probable that if such a challenge had been mounted, the army and the MB would have stepped in to abort such moves. It should be remembered that a left criticism of the MB from the outset were its acceptance of the neoliberal consensus.

It was reported (how reliably is unknown) that in February of 2012, that is prior to initial presidential election in May 2012 fielding 13 candidates, Nabil ElAraby, a globally known and respected liberal secularist and at the time Secretary General of the Arab League, had been told that he would have the backing for the presidency of both the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAP) and the MB, if he had agreed to run for the Egyptian presidency. This support would have assured an electoral victory, but ElAraby prudently declined the offer if indeed this story was accurate.

The gross imprudence of the MB failure to keep its pledge of non-competition for the presidency is only now becoming fully apparent. Having waited more than 80 years for a chance to control the destiny of the country, the MB would have been wise to wait a few more to see how things were developing in the country, especially given the societal and bureaucratic forces likely arrayed against them if they took center stage. Of course, such a retrospective appraisal always can be made to sound prescient, and is unlikely to be instructive.

Some have argued that it was the multiple failures of the Morsi leadership that were the proximate cause of the el-Sisi coup. In other words, the fatal mistake of the MB was not their unwillingness to stay in the political background and bide their time, but their inability to follow up on their electoral success when occupying the governmental foreground. This argument reasons, had Morsi been more inclusive, more capable in negotiating international loans and attracting foreign investment, more inspirational in promoting a vision of Egypt’s future, less heavy-handed in dealing with oppositional activists and secularists, more competent in stimulating an economic recovery, more reassuring to the Gulf monarchies, and more patient about promoting an Islamic agenda, things might have turned out differently. True, even an efficient and sensitive Morsi government would likely have lost some of its popularity due to the difficulties any leadership would have faced during this period, but it would not have been overthrown, nor would its political base be criminalized and crushed by a post-coup bloody campaign of merciless state terror.

It is impossible to assess the plausibility of such a counter-factual, but I have my extreme doubts. It is notable that with few exceptions those who claimed to be most outraged by the strong arm tactics and incompetence attributed to the Morsi government have averted their eyes from and even mandated the far bloodier tactics of the el-Sisi regime, shouting such banal slogans as ‘the army and the people are one hand.’

After the Coup: A Genocidal Mentality?

Although much is unknown, the sequence of four massacres when softer alternatives were readily available to restore order, the moves to criminalize the MB
(detaining Morsi, arresting MB leaders, and calling on the public to demonstrate so as to give its authorization for adopting such a strategy of oppression against the Brothers and their supporters), and recourse to the language of ‘terrorism’ to demonize demonstrators peacefully seeking to uphold constitutional rights and demand a return to constitutional government form a toxic pattern. Such behavior confirms the extreme alienation on the part of the coup leaders. In effect, it was more than a coup, less than a counter-revolution (as old governmental order had remained in place forming the Egyptian deep state). If polarization poisoned the well of democratic legitimacy, then its accelerated momentum led to the emergence of a genocidal climate of opinion in Egypt, and the old fulool bureaucracy played its assigned part.

In such an atmosphere it is almost to be expected that many of the coup supporters among the mass of Egyptians find nothing wrong with the tactics of the security forces since July 3rd. They endorse these tactics by an enthusiastic call for el-Sisi to become the next president of the country, and view the followers of the MB as undeserving of being treated as ‘Egyptians,’ belonging outside the pale of humanity deserving no mercy and entitled to no rights. In this murderous atmosphere, anything goes.

I suppose in this evolving Egyptian mêlée we can learn about the way the state-centric world operates by noting which governments are silent, which are approving and supportive, and which ridiculously continue to call on both sides to show ‘maximum restraint.’ We still live in a world where hard power strategic calculations in the inner counsels of government almost always outweigh soft power affirmations associated with democracy, human rights, and nonviolence. It is not a pretty picture, whether one questions the crude pragmatism of such Islamic stalwarts as Saudi Arabia and the Orgnization of the Islamic Conference or the equivocations of such liberal advocates of human rights and democracy as the United States, the European Union, and even the UN Secretary General.

These Egyptian developments also raise awkward questions about whether there exist outer limits to the politics of self-determination, which has authenticated many national movements against European colonialism and oppressive rule. Egypt is in the throes of what might be described as a process of Satanic self-determination, and there is no prospect that humanitarian intervention could restore constitutional normalcy to Egypt even if genuine empathetic motivations were present, which they are not. Which among the governments of the region or the world would have the temerity to seek an application of the norm of
>of the MB? Remember how in 2011 leading NATO countries relied upon R2P at the UN to obscure their primary mission, which was to destroy Qaddafi’s regime in Libya. At this stage, R2P is not an emergent principle of international law, as advocates claim, but an operative principle of geopolitical convenience becomes relevant when it serves the political and economic interests of the West.

The ethos of human solidarity means that none of us dedicated to human rights, to the accountability of leaders for crimes against humanity, and to the quest for humane governance should abandon Egypt in this tragic hour of need. At the same time, we need to admit that there is no politics of human solidarity capable of backing up a protective ethos even in the face of genocidal tremors. Our responsibilities as ‘citizen pilgrims’ extend beyond lamenting the failures of world order to serve the wellbeing of the Egyptian people. At least, we need to raise our voices, engage fully in witnessing, and support whatever soft power initiatives can be mobilized on an emergency basis.

I want to recommend highly, as well, two illuminating articles by my friend Emad Shahin, a faculty member at the highly respect American University in Cairo:

I also recommend highly the series of interpretative articles by Esam Al-Amin on the evolving Egyptian situation that have been published during the last two years, including just prior to and after the coup, in Counterpunch, an excellent progressive online journal.

26 Responses to “Egypt: Extreme Polarization and Genocidal Politics”

  1. Gene Schulman August 24, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    I have already commented to you personally, Richard, after reading this excellent article at ZNET earlier this morning. I would add to your recommended reading list this piece by Eric Walberg, who does place the blame for the mess in Egypt where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the US:

    Best wishes,

    • Albert August 24, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Thank you Gene for your comments here. Of course I read your previous comments, but today I decided to try and find out, who is this Gene Schulman and true to its reputation, Google came through for me and with multiple choices as well.
      I also clicked on the link you gave in your comment and learned, that you also read articles from the same sources I often consult for a broader understanding of world politics, that deviate from the ‘non-content’ MSM fare.
      I found the following link:'sar.html
      and felt, this was you. If it is, thank you for that most informative article.
      My take on the affairs of the ME vis-à-vis the hand of the US is, that the US is ruled by proxy via AIPAC. It seems to me, that Theodor Hertzl started Zionism and his writings were the seeds of today`s Zionism, which is an unequalled financial powerhouse. It seems to have majority control over the world of finance via the banks it controls, which in turn managed to get the right to print virtual money via fractional reserve banking, a privilege that democratically speaking, should only be in public hands. It is the mightiest weapon in their arsenal.
      And as Nathan Mayer Rothschild once said:
      “I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, …The man that controls Britain’s moneysupply controls the British Empire.And I control the money supply.”
      It does not seem too farfetched to assume, that since then, they also managed to take control of the US Federal Reserve. That would certainly explain the subservient attitude of the US government towards visiting Israeli leaders, when they come to the White House, like Netanyahu`s not long ago and sat there lecturing Obama. The same Obama, who ordered some European countries to ground the plane of Evo Morales, the leader of a sovereign country. Also the virtual ownership of the Egyptian military by the US is quite obvious.
      I cannot get myself to believe, that what is happening on the stage of international politics as played by the US today, is representative of the democratic will of the people in the US.
      And what to make of the court order for Hosni Mubarek to be set free? I fear, that there will be a cruel revenge against his enemies, that will cost untold thousands of innocent lives and a blatant violation of human rights in a most barbaric way.

      • Gene Schulman August 24, 2013 at 9:00 am #

        @ Albert,

        Hey, I never thought what I might have to say would warrant a google search! I’m flattered you took the time. And I’m glad you liked that article, which is rather dated by now.

        I appreciate your comments, but would not go quite as far as you do re the Rothschilds, et al. That kind of thinking rather smacks too much of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” sort. And I have been spending years trying to fight such. Things are bad enough these days without dragging such slander into the debates.

        Thanks and best wishes.


  2. Ray Joseph Cormier August 24, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Richard, Once again, your principled commitment to Human Rights for all Peoples shines through in this insightful, intelligent and realistic reading of the Revelation of events in Egypt.

    I changed the Title of my re-posting of your earlier article ‘Polarization Doomed Egyptian Democracy’ August 6. The Title has to conform to the reality more accurately than the original title which seemed too awkward to me.

    August 6, 2013

  3. Kata Fisher August 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    I have looked over this web-site, and it has some unbiased and valid reports. I hope that it is helpful.

    • Ray Joseph Cormier August 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Kata, I’ve re-posted several of Richard’s excellent articles to my Blog. I believe his is a voice that should be heard.

      What the last guest writer wrote dovetails with the information in your link.

      It is written by Jonathan Cook, an Independent Journalist living and reporting from the original Nazareth, not Jewish Upper Nazareth.

      August 18, 2013

      I added ‘Merchants of Death’ to the Title.

      • Kata Fisher August 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

        Beloved Mr. Cormier,

        To watch three girls grow up here in US was so hopeless, and so depressing—not by responsibility, just by the misinformed/deceived/abused environment. (I said in my heart: there is no hope for these people). I was not in a valid knowledge how bad conditions were. There will be point in time that everyone will turn back on issues with Israel state/Israelites in their evil works regardless if here or elsewhere (now that is my hope for people that are especially American).

        That way they can rebuild their own land, and deliver all help to Israelites that they will receive, in a way. (They need all help they can get…who shall help them?) I do hope that American people will be able to brake off “legal rights of demons” that entangled them into the slavery of/with Israel and Great Britain.. Meaning, Great Britain and Israel with their “legal rights of the demons”…then US held by “legal rights of demons”. But which levels of hell/principality are they bonded to as a nation with these “legal rights of demons” when comes to Israel and Great Britain…

        I am Church Charismatic and usually we do not do“old woman babble”, while occasionally we do that, too. It is acceptable, as we are not necessarily called to be ordained in any way (as women). It is not done, for sure it mocks God.

        Until recently, I was all up to issues with counterfeit church, now I have discovered something that is healthier (for me) to go about, and a much more fun :). I was happy that it came to a stop. Not in my will-power, for I kind of was directed here. In addition to that, by that alone my conscience was shielded, in advance on some issues ahead. (I just started realizing this).

        I believe that these instances in reports given by journalists compliment to the reports that are already given by Mr. Richard Falk (our beloved Mr. Falk, as we traditionally hold old people to be wise, unconditionally valid) to be heard and accepted; meaning, obeyed. (Not by some blind obedience, but sincerity as falsehood is coming to the light). Still, there is youth that is clearly on a right path, as well which is encouraging, even to me. What really gets me “fired up” is to see some people with a healthy mind, doing something valid.
        Anyone here can read a sentence in any valid report by which they can be moved beyond all their abilities. We always harvest Spirituals by things that are valid, regardless where the harvest comes from.
        Church Charismatic that is valid usually is moved by Spirit, occasionally is not moved by Spirit…we apply our own will-power. This is also acceptable, as we are a subject to errors and corrections as well.

        I have a wild thought: I am thinking that Great Britain (in contemporary as nation, but not as a whole nation) is in part somewhat with that tribe that Israelites have historically documented fun with…especially in reference to the Quinn Jezebel…and here in US there is somewhat a part of that tribe. Would that be any “legal right of demons” attached to, in any way?
        Is it possible that “man of revolt” already took place? It is a time-pass! Meaning, we already have strong delusions that are of what? (It is not I how will look into the Scripture to validate. How about that?).

        By the gift of God’s Spirit,

      • Richard Falk August 25, 2013 at 12:47 am #

        Kata, I appreciate the dedication and strong emotions that you possess as expressed through your engagement with the the Church Charismatic of which I know little. Let us hope that humane outcomes will flow from many diverse sources to rescue humanity as it moves ever closer to the cliff of species collapse.

      • Kata Fisher August 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

        Beloved Mr. Falk,

        I believe that only International Law can protect human race from mass dangers that are directly connected to disorderly religious practices due to misinterpretation, and due to misapplication/abuse by mishandlings of the Secret texts, but also due to abuse of rituals. Church work is limited, we have no Spiritual, nor legal authority over those who are the lawless, as they only get jugment, and often no correction of/to social order.

        Anything that I write down (in reference to the Scripture) is in full authority of Church Charismatic Catholic that is under prophetic anointing, or anyone else who is under prophetic anointing may also correct any part that which is written down by me. They can also ask for clarification (or fuller interpretation of specific part); it may be just in part a sort reference to a specific part of the writing. This is simply because women have no spiritual authority to take Spiritual authority over the Scripture. Also, this is just a small fraction of things that are applicable to the Church doctrine.

        Nevertheless, the Scripture is interpreted in the exactly same Spirit and gifts that was written. And based on that standard any interpretation of the texts is judged/examined—this way all disagreements and conflicts are excluded, are in a stronghold, and so will not prosper in division and any conflict.

        This is about Church Charismatic (The Church of first generation of Christians). When Paul wrote to the Churches (the Church letters, letters pastoral of Paul—or letters/epistles of other Apostles) these letters were written to Church-Charismatic. Most of the Christianity misapplies the writing of Paul Apostle to them self’s, and to their Church, all together, and with that they end up with different forms of false Christianity. Paul never annuls the Law; yet, Christians will do that, thinking that they are under Grace that comes from Spirit of God. (A false conclusion of theirs when Paul is interpreted in a valid way). Paul Apostle teaches the Law according to the Gospel/ and the Law of the Spirit by which/under Christianity is to be—or is invalid and doomed. If they are not under the Law of the Spirit, they must be under the Law, until the Faith takes place and they are filled by Spirit—or Spirit falls upon them. This is practice of Churches that have a valid Church order and a valid teaching office. There is traditional (under the Law) and non-traditional (under the Spirit) Church order.

        I wrote this over some period of time, different occasions:

        According to the Gospel, disciples were baptized in water (John’s Baptism) and were baptized into repentance. This Baptism takes place by a natural matter (the water)—that what is natural, and has no ability to empower for Great Commission as does the Spirit, but is a symbol of repentance and has taken place for disciples prior to the Baptism of Jesus. The Baptism of Jesus was announced by John the Baptist, and was foretold in the Prophets.

        In Acts 1.8, we read that Apostils receive power when the Spirit comes upon them. This empowerment is given for the purpose of being witnesses to Him, on His behalf and to fulfill the Great Commission. (According to the Gospel, we do understand that ability to fulfill Great commission—to be His witness). The significance of Acts 1:8 is that disciples are promised to be equipped (at ones) for the mission, which Jesus of Nazareth has placed before them. And we read that Apostils are continuously equipped for each situation that they are facing (as we read further in Acts of Apostils), as they fulfill the Grate Commission in Jerusalem (first) and Judea and Samaria and to the end of this earth (which we see it still being accomplished to this day).

        Even today the prophecy foretold in the Prophets is being fulfilled; it is a continuously fulfillment of the call to Great Commission, by His disciples, trough His Spirit.

        According to the Scripture, we know that on the Day of the Pentecost, (the beginning of the Church age) there was an outpour of the Spirit of God which followed by the sign of known tongues, which could be interpreted.

        According to the Scripture, we know that at the beginning there was only a manifestation of One Spirit among the Jews and Gentiles, and it was first manifested as a sign in a form of a known language and that the experience of the Spirit was one and orderly as the Church Practice. However, the angelic tongues (or heavenly languages) are not reported in the Scripture until we read Apostil Paul correcting some forms of disorderly church practices. Now in the Church of Corinth, the Church Order was violated and there was a manifestation of a counterfeit spirit, so Apostil Paul writes to correct that.

        Because the exercise of Spiritual gifts (speaking in tongues) in Church as corporate Body requires immediate interpretation, an “unknown language” cannot be interpreted in the Church by a natural means. For this reason, a divine ability to interpret an “unknown language” must exist in order to have effect within the Church, for a specific purpose. It depends if these tongues which are unknown to the natural mind and/or angelic (heavenly) are subject to be interpreted by the Spirit of God, or not. When it comes to the exercise of spiritual gifts, the Spirit of God is totally in charge of that through the Church (on an individual or corporate level). Likewise, the decrement of these gifts is in entrusted to the Church (as corporate Body), under a submission to the Spirit of God. So the decrement of the Spirit (manifested in the Church) must take place. However, interfering with worship (speaking in tongues) is not allowed, according to Apostil Paul. This worship is in the form of “heart and mind submission” and it cannot be interfered with and be judged. Yet, when a disorderly conduct (works) takes place within the member of the Body a judgment within the Church takes place in the form of “handing over to the devil for destruction of the flesh.” This Church practice is likewise in full submission to the Spirit and only judgment (toward someone) that the Church is allowed to exercise on behalf of Jesus Christ, by His power. So, all things that are of Spirit (or not) Spirit judges, the Church must keep the Body undefiled.

        The Pentecostal tongues are known languages as they were in beginning of the Church age. According to the Scriptures (as well as my own experience as a Roman-Catholic-Charismatic), I only believe in know languages to be Scriptural. If I would encounter someone that possibly speaks in “angelic tongue” I would advise self examination of heart-faith according to the Scripture. Those who allow the work of Grace will submit this unfortunate situation to God by His promptings (or warnings), and those who do not, will yield the fruit that is not reflecting repentance (as all others within the Church that are not abiding in Christ).

        Some people are just ministered in charismatic ways that are in violation to the Scriptures. That is, they are “baptized by being ordained” by touch/and or laying on the hands prior to decrement of the Spirit/being confirmed as believers in Christ. (Note: This is also misapplication of Church Judgment/Judgment according to the Gospel).

        The Baptism of Jesus of Nazareth is only preformed by the free work of the Spirit, when the Spirit independently falls on believers and unbelievers and all may or may not be baptized. However, a believer is free to receive the ministry of laying of the hands, without a problem at all. Speaking in tongues may take place, and may not. It is sole Spirit work and purpose for the work in the Body of Christ. Therefore, when there is a disorder…This is obviously a serious church crime (when sins are added on to others), yet I believe that they in no way to own those sins. So, if there is an “angelic tongue” I would be careful to judge, although, some may well be demonic utterances (Church of Jesus of Nazareth knows that). Those without a proper knowledge (on their own, without the Church) should by no means place any certain judgment about these things, at all.

        Difficult passages in reference to the work of God’s Spirit in Church age:

        Acts 8:14-17: When the Apostils in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”

        From previous passages (Acts 8. 4—8), we see that Phillip comes to Samaria, and proclaims that the word of God to them and exercises his ministry to Samaritans in the power of the Holy Spirit. The result of ministry is manifested in acceptance of the word, because they heard about his ministry, (most likely previously to his coming to Samaria), so it is possible that the Philip ministry was well known to them, and when he came to minister in the town, he and his message was welcomed as he started to minister in charismatic ways: exorcism took place, and healings, which results in rejoicing. Further in Acts we read about the works of Simon, who practiced witchcraft and demonic activity, and with that astounded the people of Samaria, and he himself became a believer, is baptized and follows Phillip.

        According to the Scripture, we see that the people of Samaria were first brought to the acceptance of the Word of God, Good News, which Philip came to preach. They were brought to repentance and were baptized. This baptism would be “water baptism,” which would definitely take place before baptism of Holy Spirit, gift of the Holy Spirit. Most likely that Spirit of God did not fall on Samaria, because there were into witchcraft and demonic activity when Philip arrived there, and the town was still in process of repentance on those things. In the Book of Acts 2. 38, we read that Peter said to the crowd in Jerusalem, “You must repent…and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This rather referees to an action of every single person, being baptized, before they can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is exactly same order that we see in Samaria. Likewise, that is the order given in the Gospel. Apostils were first baptized in water (Baptism of John/Water baptism in the Name of Lord Jesus) and then they were to wait—they were waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit (Baptism of Jesus). In Acts chapter 8, we read about two completely different baptisms/different named Baptisms. When apostils come to Samaria, there is already repentance, and baptism has taken place…now they are ready to lay hands on people and plant the church in Samaria (see Acts 8:14-17).

        Further, we read that Simeon did not repent (and was asking apostils to give him the Gift of the Spirit) and he was rebuked by Peter, because Peter was quick to do the ministry of “decrement of the spirit” and he did not lay hands on him, but called him to the repentance pointing out the “wrath of God” which is still upon him. Simeon believed, was baptized; however, the repentance has not taken place (he was still in the power of the counterfeit spirit) and he could not receive the gift of the Spirit.

        Acts 10:44-48: While Peter was speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on gentiles too, since they could hear them speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself the said, “could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? He then gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…

        In Acts chapter 10 we read that Peter comes to the house of Cornelius (as we read in the first verse of chapter 10 as was written in the Gospel, this was a Roman centurion, who had faith in Christ). When Peter speaks to him and his household the Spirit of God moves independently and is poured out on all who were present, and they are confirmed as believers, by gifts of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, Peter keeps the Church order and tells them to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, in water baptism. This was exactly the same outpour of the Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost (the Spirit of God fell independently), on Gentiles; however, they already have believed (as Jews who were baptized in Spirit on the Day of Pentecost), did fear God and were doing what was right and acceptable to Him. Because of that, nothing stood in the way of the Spirit, to fall independently and they received the gift of the Spirit, were baptized in Jesus Baptism and then were asked to be also baptized in water (see Acts chapter 2 and 10). In Acts chapter 2, we read about Jews who did not receive gifts of the Spirit, because they still needed to repent and be baptized (in water, most likely), before they can receive the gift of the Spirit (this was also the case in Samaria, but they were in works of witchcraft and demonic activities, while Jews were unrighteous and the one who took part in crucifying Christ).

        Acts 19:1-7: It happened that while Apollo’s was in Corinth, Paul made is way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” they answered, “No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit. He asked, “Then, how were you baptized?”They replied, “With John’s Baptism.” Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who is to come after him—namely Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of Lord Jesus and the moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they begun to speak with tongues and to prophesy. They were about twelve of these men in all.

        In these passages, we read that Paul meets disciples of John who were far from Jerusalem and are still in the message of John the Baptist. When Paul meets them, he obviously is preaching the message of Jesus Christ and is baptizing in the Baptism of Jesus, while they are baptizing in John’s Baptism and not the Gospel. In other part of Acts, specifically, Acts 18.24—28, we learn about Apollos, who is Jew, with sound knowledge of the Scripture, baptized only in John’s Baptism and is preaching accurately about Jesus, and was in the message of the Gospel, without being baptized in Jesus baptism. However, disciples of John had to be brought from John’s message into the message of the Gospel and faith in Christ.

        I believe that in these passages there is a clear reference to the Baptism of John is baptism of repentance and faith in Christ. Nevertheless, that people are to believe in one who is to come after John, to believe in Christ and be baptized in the Name of Jesus, and then they can receive the gift of the Spirit of God.
        Apollo’s could have been baptized in Jesus Baptism; however, trough the baptism in water (John’s Baptism), and accurate knowledge of the Scripture, he was accomplishing the will of God.

  4. Salpy Eskidjian August 25, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Thank you again dearest Professor for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. As always insightful and courageous with a real commitment to human rights principles. Thank you.

    • Richard Falk August 26, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      Thanks always, Salpy, for your generous encouragement. Hopefully,
      you are fine. Warmly from Yalikavak.

  5. Dan Huck August 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Richard –


    I thought you might be interested in this article; it was posted to the Atlantic Council Blog prior to the August 14 clearing of the squares and all the additional deaths which took place.

    Because US media and opinion play such an outsized role in every area of the world, it seems to me our intense emotional response to what most of our media (and most bloggers) are calling a coup, we inadvertently may be contributing to the exacerbation of polarization without a thorough enough consideration on how this plays out with the confronting interests in Egypt.

    Best regards,

    Dan Huck

    • ray032 August 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Dan, following your link, essentially El-Baghdadi is affirming Richard’s assessment of the situation.

      In his previous article Richard poses the legitimate questions,

      Could the MB have handled things differently, and avoided the July 3rd scenario? Yes, possibly,

      Is inclusiveness only expected when the government is in the hands of an elected Muslim-oriented leadership? Is exclusiveness overlooked when the government moves against an alleged Islamist movement? What, we might ask, is the el-Sisi concept of inclusiveness? At present, the only plausible answer is ‘my way or the highway.’

      If a picture is worth 1000 words, the Americans have not been particularly politically astute in guiding Egypt’s infant Democracy based on their own Domestic political experiences.

      • Dan Huck August 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

        Wonderful cartoon, Ray, and part of the point I was driving at is to imagine either of these monster jeeps, labeled US rather than Democrats or GOP, coming up behind a much, much smaller jeep labeled Egypt, and blaring our instructions in an intimidating manner, threatening to withhold aid, and accusing the Egyptians of genocide over what they believed was a necessary public safety move, agreed by the most recent and complete assessment put together by the equivalent of an independent Egyptian Human Rights Commission, and here we are grossly disparaging the 90% or more of the Egyptian population who are not in the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, nor even members, by insinuating they had, in effect, turned into the equivalent of Hitler’s minions.

        Membership of the MB is a serious commitment; members give 10% of their income to the movement and seriously commit a great part of their life’s energies to it. Obviously, only a small fraction of Egyptians are actually members, but, also it is true, so many Egyptians being pious Muslims, and so many Imams supporting their ideas, initially there was much good will towards what the Brotherhood had to say about what they would do if they were given the mandate. Mr. El Shater’s campaign speeches and statements, frankly, expressed the epitome of openness and good things, as did Mr. Morsi’s. If only they acted as they talked.

        Some important US-originated NGO’s gave the MB extra help prior to the election, such as the interesting arrangement Gehad El-Haddad, son of Essam El-Haddad (who was Morsi’s chief advisor for international affairs) had with the Clinton Climate Initiative. He was hired by them in 2006 as their executive director for Egypt, and volunteered nights for the Muslim Brotherhood, being especially impressed with MB Guide Ghairat Al-Shater, who hired El-Haddad in 2011 full time to be a chief campaign advisor to the Brotherhood, and who has been and continues to be their chief PR person. The MB’s preferred nominee for President was Mr. Al-Shater. He was disqualified by the State relative to a previous conviction related to organizing an MB demonstration with masked MB members trying to intimidate a University administration. He was jailed over this incident ((2007) as well as a previous similar episode in (2001). Morsi was second choice of the Brotherhood leadership, but with much internal dissension in the Brotherhood.

        Many people voted for the MB candidate because they felt the other candidate was tied to Mubarek. Most of those voters it appears were unhappy with the performance of Morsi, otherwise millions would not be assumed to demand his overthrow, and only a few hundred thousand or less show up for demonstrations in support of him.

        Morsi’s electoral victories needed to be followed up with inclusiveness, as you and Richard stated. Unfortunately neither Morsi nor the organized MB felt it was necessary, but apparently mistakenly believed the election was a sort of coronation, or legitimization, like a carte blanch to do what they pleased, e.g. giving the executive branch the power to even establish it’s own legislative operation, which they did, extra-constitutionally, etc, etc.

        I’m from New England, and some might say we had our own Taliban equivalent for the first 150 years, so, unlike many Americans these days I can see some plusses in a society, and a democracy, where there is some unity around religious beliefs as long as some believers are not looked upon as more equal than others, or deprived of their basic rights, but this was not the case with the Puritans, nor is it with the MB.

        And as with the Puritan leaders, the MB leaders assumed superiority in the Eye of the Almighty took a righteous and vengeful turn. Hopefully, and it seems evidently so, the ordinary religious Egyptian is no fanatic – Tamarod is ready to establish a political party based on social justice and the other fine things everyone rallied for in 2011, and their base dwarfs, numbers wise, the Brotherhood.

        I’m hopeful. I’d be more hopeful If the world didn’t have to worry about us bombing them, so they could be safer, ostensibly.

  6. monalisa August 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    to Dan Huk:

    thank you for your more detailed and accurate analysis of Egypt’s “behaviour”.

    To my knowledge there are at least three “parts” involved:

    1) the MB – mostly “supported financially” by Saudi Arabia with the intention to mount a more Islamic constitution in Egypt; as you stated correctly and I even think it is lesser than 10 % of the population (until 1995 there were roughly only approx. 5 % MB-members! – Egyptians don’t like them at all speaking of the majority);

    2) the military – supported by USA – this is well known, however, as the majority within the military complex is poor at first I think they really wanted to support the protesters (not the pro-Morsi’s) until they got “orders” from “their heads”;

    3) and finally there is the majority of the Egyptian population wanting to have a secular constitution where the “personal rights” of Moslems as well as Copts are included (like they had before!).

    According to what most Egyptian think the so-called “democratic votes” (in the eyes of the West!) were mostly paid by Saudi Arabia through MB.

    Egyptians are not “fundamentalists” when it comes to their religion and those extremists are usually paid individuals (or ordered by their “heads” in the military complex) for doing evil.


    • Richard Falk August 27, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      My dear monalisa, I really don’t understand your assessment of Egypt. First,
      Saudi Arabia is the biggest supporter of the coup, opposed the overthrow of Mubarak, and has poured money in post-Morsi because of its extreme hostility to the MB; secondly, the many secular Egyptians with whom I spoke during my
      three visits to Cairo in the last three years uniformly conceded 25% of the public to the MB, that is, without even counting the Salafis, and the electoral results demonstrated that MB had been underestimated. In the first runoff election the secular candidate for president, Amr Moussa received only 11% of the vote, which I believed put him in fifth place.

      We have never before been in such sharp disagreement. Please explain. I respect your views and know that you have lived in Egypt.

      warm greetings, Richard

      • Gene Schulman August 27, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        I think it would be worth looking back at the history of the MB and the US role in supporting it against the Nasser regime. During this whole mess, I had been waiting to hear from our friend Tariq Ramadan for his views. As the grandson of one of the founders of the MB, and a professor of philosophy at Oxford, he is one of their leading spokesmen in the West. Interviewed on Swiss TV the other night, he differentiates between the MB and the Salafis who are much more religiously fundamental, whereas the MB is more political. The US has a history of resisting any movement that has nationalist tendencies or contradicts the will of US/Israeli hegemony. Hence, its original support of Hamas vs. Arafat’s PLO.

        I was working in Cairo during the mid 1970s when the MB rose up to overthrow Sadat. They were put down, but it was a scary time in the streets of Cairo with the army swarming the city. Of course, the second time was a success, if one wants to call Sadat’s assassination a success.

      • monalisa August 27, 2013 at 1:23 am #

        Dear Richard,

        at first, when it comes to Egypt and its population to get more to the root is difficult. Therefore any simplification will not depict what is really going on in Egypt. And Egypt is far from having a so-called “polarisation” between two playing forces.

        As I lived in Egypt for a longer time until end of 1995 I personally experienced the fact that after the death of Sadat Egypt was more and more influenced by Saudi Arabia when it comes to the more “newer formulated” (i.e. by Saudi Arabia supported/influenced and not as it was previously especially before the Nasser era) Brotherhood in Egypt.
        It is true that Moussa didn’t receive much support but also true is that Egyptians don’t want to have a religious based constitution.

        You see it is somehow complicated. Moreover, as already stated above, being in the newly formulated IB a membership has to be paid as well as it supports poor people. In Egypt there is no obligation to pay any membership concerning religion (i.e. every support is freely given) quite extreme contrary to Austria.

        I know it sounds all somehow contradict but maybe it will help to read some of the books written by the Egypt-born author Ahdaf Soueif, she has a website. Some of her books are dealing with the IB influence over the years and a true background how it was in Egypt is written in the fiction book “In the eye of the sun”. This background info could help to understand Egyptians more easily.

        According to what I have been told by acquaitances/friends and former relatives last year after the election as well as just one week ago most people there still hold the opinion that votes for Morsi were paid. This goes along with what I have even experienced with lesser educated people in Egypt: their religious belief (for example wether to take a veil or not by women) is regarded as a strict personal decision.

        The majority of Egypts population is Western oriented however, they smell the influence of Saudi Arabia as well as USA – thats the point.

        To be more clear: Saudi Arabia together with USA have a great interest to influence political streams in Egypt – this is without any doubt.
        Egyptians don’t want external influence prevailing – they had enough of British (the French are much liked there), military, as well as above mentioned Saudi Arabia and USA (it goes automatically that Israel is involved by both)..

        The other religious parts are just some sort of “side streams” of religious more or less visible (handy to their “supporters”).

        So you see, to speak of any “polarization” when it comes to Egypt doesn’t give a proper picture.
        It is greatly misleading to see the IB within the Egyptian population rooted – it is not. However, as the population becomes more and more poor people which are easily bribed. Thats for sure.

        I don’t know how to explain it more, and I do hope to have my point of view – based on my life in Egypt – somehow made clear.
        If that’s even possible when it comes to Egypt.
        Maybe it will help to consider that Egypt had so many influences from foreign countries ….
        speaking of past times …

        dear Richard,

        please take much care about yourself,


  7. monalisa August 27, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    Dear Richard,
    please bear in mind that I am aware that the Western MSM is putting IB more and more in the front ….
    this is a pure Western and Saudi Arabia (and Israel) political calculation and extremely misleading ..

    I personally had some severe discussions with relatives and acquaitances here in order to explain that the IB isn’t rooted within the Egyptian population …

    extremely difficult to speak against MSM ….. where at this time daily are some “reports of Egypt” …


    • Richard Falk August 27, 2013 at 3:09 am #

      Thanks, monalisa, for providing patient responses based on your experience. I am still puzzled by the fact that on two issues your explanation so directly contradict my connection with sophisticated Egyptian seculars who are longtime friends, and not MSM: !) the role of Saudi Arabia (and Qatar) was overwhelmingly associated with support of Salafi forces; Nabil ElAraby, now SG of the Arab League, and a friend of mine for many years, was foreign minister just after the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011, and I spoke with him just after his return from a visit to the Gulf; his views confirmed SA opposition to the MB; 2) the weakness of Moussa was not anticipated; even those who were critical or skeptical of him expected him to do well in the elections, and even the most extreme anti-Morsi critics did not contest the integrity of the electoral results in 2011 and 2012. Recall also that the MB initially made a pledge not to seek the presidency, and were widely perceived as not experienced in political maneuvering or governing.

      • monalisa August 27, 2013 at 4:19 am #

        Dear Richard,

        maybe our difference in some (not all) views derive from the point that I had more direct contract with Egyptian people for more than twenty years. Whether they were from the good Middle Class or from lesser educated.

        To point 2) Moussa wasn’t favorised by most Egyptians.
        And this shouldn’t wonder.

        Saudi Arabia’s point of view concerning the MB – I don’t think that is in reality true. It’s just a cover-up.
        Saudi Arabia shaped the new MB after the death of Sadat greatly and put already a lot of money that they get more rooted within the Egyptian society during the eighties of the last century. Under the weakness of Mubarak Egypt became more and more populated and lesser within the economy playground ….

        To point 1) Concerning Salafists: as I said, to my knowledge they are for certain purposes very handy especially for Saudi Arabia.
        However, they will never be rooted in Egypts population this because the average Egyptian distrusts any military complex/military groupings.

        Moreover, regarding USA’s history in other countries during the last century, for example South America, and how it “installed” some “regimes” the military played far too often an important role.
        Just to think about.
        Which could lead to the conclusion (as a non political individual as I am) that Saudi Arabia and USA are following the same “path direction” …

        Take care of yourself,


  8. ray032 August 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Professor, I need your expert opinion. When the US went to the UNSC seeking sanction to invade Iraq, it was denied, but the US invaded anyway. Did this break any International Law?

    We know about Afghanistan and Libya. There was a UH resolution approving military action.

    If the Western powers attack Syria without UNSC approval, will that be a violation of International Law? What section of the UN Charter governs these type of situations?

    In discussion on different sites I have said attacking Syria without a UN mandate would violate International Law.

    I would rather be corrected than continue in ignorance.

    • Kata Fisher August 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      I have a reflection:

      It is best that US, and GB stay out of the region (Middle East)—their corporate military intervention is invalid and quite evil, and out of their appointed areas, all together. It will not be good; they will be in a worse situation—as two lawless nations—and a dead end with the world’s leadership.

      Any type of response is not necessary without approval of UN. I would estimate that any military intervention by US and GB can cause anyone in Syria (or outsiders within the Syria) to fire back on any land other then US and GB. This can bring on false accusations against Syria by other in the region, and a further developing conflict in the areas.

      They should avoid that, as they are in areas where psychologically healthy individuals/leaders are insufficient in areas to make valid decisions in military warfare. This apple’s to US and GB, as well; meaning, in the lawlessness of their minds they should submit to the governing of UN, and a more appropriate timing to the conflict.

      They are at best of figuring out with Syrians and UN the ways to remove substances of harm in the Land (that which is used against population in Syria). Anything else is greater risk to the people of Syria and also the people in the region. It is quite insane, all together—all their planning’s.

      They should apply all means of mediations toward peaceful redirection of the conflict, and avoid any military strikes.

      All these people involved have one spiritual goal in their heart for the region: “destruction of as much of population as possible.” (Leaders of Syria did not start the war-their people did not submit to the rule appointed and went beyond peaceful negotiations). We see the exactly the same situation with US and GB. (Now this is debatable, for sure…regardless this is the truth-spiritual).

      By the Gift of God’s Spirit

      • ray032 August 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

        Kata, thank you for this reply, but I hope Professor Falk, in his expertise as an International Law Scholar will answer soon. I need to know ASAP.

      • Kata Fisher August 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

        Beloved Mr. Cormier,
        You do not have to thank me, I just read that and I was moved that much. My perspective is applicable more too spiritual realities/spiritual dynamics of that specific area. It is very limited; I do not know that much about the whole situation with Syria.


  1. TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Egypt: Extreme Polarization and Genocidal Politics - August 26, 2013

    […] Go to Original – […]

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