Recent court decisions in Egypt beg for pause and reflection. But too often even the suggestion thereof raises tensions and accusations. So much is at stake that the chosen path must continue. All opposed simply stand in the way. Any who question risk wholesale collapse.
And God, this is the attitude on both sides.
The revolutionary April 6 youth movement was dissolved by court order, finding them guilty of espionage and defaming the state. One of the primary forces behind the original revolution, they were briefly lauded before falling again afoul of all subsequent governments. They have been critical of all, and have links with movements abroad. But are these crimes?
683 people have been sentenced to death for rioting and the death of a police officer in Upper Egypt. Six hundred and eighty-three. Among them is the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. But also among them, it is said, are an uninvolved Christian and the already dead. Crimes were committed and many are guilty. But is this justice?
Perhaps the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, God. Egypt asserts an independent judiciary in which interference is impossible. In an earlier mass sentencing of over five hundred, the standard review reduced the death penalty to 37, which still is not final. And April 6 members have been in and out of prison several times over the past three years. Immediate judgment is unwise in law, but this slows the rush of few.
Among them are international analysts and politicians, which are piling criticism upon Egypt. Even among backers of the current order, some are daring to criticize.
For maybe the answer to both questions is ‘no’, God. Or ‘maybe’, or ‘mixed’. Maybe they are guilty, but of other charges entirely. Maybe they are political sentences, maybe it is just incompetence. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
God, help Egypt to know. Demonstrate guilt and innocence transparently. But how long must this prayer be uttered until the lack of transparency becomes damning? Let there be no rush to judgment, but judgment must be issued eventually.
Will a new president, after elections, set the record straight? How long should he have?
Transparency and accountability do not come from structured power, God, but from good men and women who press upon it, and enter in it. Raise up this strength, and aid in the structuring of justice and good governance. Then protect them from falling victim to the same ills.
But today, more Egyptians have simply fallen. Bombs have targeted policemen, and by the end of the day who knows but that some may have died in protest clashes. With blood on the ground, week after week, who can pause and reflect?
Is it a terrorist conspiracy to be routed, God? Is it a vicious coup to be resisted? In reflective pause, allow none to sink into the morass of ‘maybe’. Hold steady in conviction, give wisdom and courage towards action, but humility and openness for continual revision.
May accusations be pure; may tensions be righteous. But whatever chosen path Egyptians adopt, may they also find yours.