Narratives and Counter Narratives

The news has made me tired today. I woke up this morning around 7:30 to the sound of a loud, crackling Arabic news broadcast coming from someone’s radio in the street.  I couldn’t make out words, but the tone was enough to rouse me out of bed. When I got up, I noticed that the security guards next door were all huddled together, discussing what had just happened in hushed tones.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters had been holding a sit-in in front of the Republican Guard building where the deposed President Morsi was being held. Sometime around dawn, not long after dawn prayers, the army opened fire on them, killing at least 51 people and injuring hundreds. It’s the most violent day Egypt has experienced in a year. What is even more depressing is is the vitriolic narratives which both sides employed to alternately justify and condemn this event. The army said in a released statement that they were attacked by terrorists and armed men with molotov cocktails. The Ikhwan have condemned the event as a massacre, and some people began circulating pictures of dead children from the conflict in Syria, saying that the Egyptian army executed them at the protest.

My roommate Katrina resorted to poetry to make sense of this event, which strikes me as a reasonable reaction. A journalist from Mada Masr wrote what I found to be a nuanced and informative take on today’s events and the divisions starting to appear in post Morsi Egypt.

It’s now nearly 11 pm. In response to the killings, the Brotherhood has called for a national uprising, but the group of seven or eight neighborhood kids playing loudly in the street right now don’t seem to know it. Surreal. Things do seem like they’re about to get worse.

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The scene outside of the republican guard building this morning

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