Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

In our opinion: Voice against atrocities

Deseret News editorial

Published: Wed, March 26 10:02 a.m. MDT

 Egypt has been wracked by unrest since the Arab Spring first hit there three years ago. The Obama administration and others must raise a strong voice against atrocities that will only keep the cycle of violence going.

Egypt has been wracked by unrest since the Arab Spring first hit there three years ago. The Obama administration and others must raise a strong voice against atrocities that will only keep the cycle of violence going.

(Amr Nabil, Associated Press)

Egypt has been wracked by unrest since the Arab Spring first hit there three years ago, ousting longtime president Hosni Mubarak. But the mass death sentences handed down on Monday against up to 529 alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood is an unfortunate sign that stability in that important nation remains elusive.

Given Egypt’s long-standing peaceful relations with Israel and as the most populated country in the Middle East, it is a key player in one of the world’s most volatile regions. Its future is of enormous importance to the United States and Israel.

As is true with any nation torn by sectarian violence, many people in Egypt have reasons for wanting revenge. Since Egypt’s second Arab Spring, in which the military ousted democratically elected leader Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood has been accused of instigating widespread violence particularly aimed toward Coptic Christians, whose churches have been torched. In one two-day span following Morsi’s ouster last year, the Assyrian International News Agency reported 82 Christian churches were torched, including some whose construction dated to the fifth century.

Such atrocities demand justice. But what happened in an Egyptian courtroom Monday was not justice. Rather than ending the unrest, it is likely just to foment more of it.

News accounts differ as to whether 528 or 529 people were condemned to death for their support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Also unclear is whether, as some reports claim, the trial was held without allowing the defense to present a case. But the fact that the trial began on Saturday and hundreds of death sentences were handed down on Monday demonstrates that it did not conform to international standards. It would be impossible to conduct a fair trial of such magnitude in so little time.

Relatives of some of the condemned disputed whether they are, in fact, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. One, Essam Ahmed, is alleged by family members to be in a wheelchair and incapable of participating in violence.

Despite the convictions, 16 defendants were reported to have been acquitted, a defense attorney told Reuters. Only 123 of the convicted men are in custody, with many of the rest in hiding.

Observers say it is unlikely all the sentences would be carried out. If they were, it would be the largest mass execution in Egypt’s modern history. But with tensions as they are, and given how the Muslim Brotherhood remains popular with many Egyptians, it is difficult to guess to what lengths the military-led government will go. Hundreds of Brotherhood members already have died in street clashes with government security forces.

Only the rule of law, enforced by a credible police force and an independent judiciary that observes proper courtroom procedure, can restore order to Egypt. People need confidence that the government will protect the welfare and liberties of all its citizens.

The Obama administration, which lagged in its condemnation of the attacks against Christians, must raise a strong voice against atrocities that, regardless of which side is being hurt, will only keep the cycle of violence going.

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1. Esquire
Springville, UT,
March 26, 2014

You found a way to again attack the Obama Administration. Congratualtions. Are you proud of youreselves? While the rights of minorities around the world should be protected if possible and there should be a voice for them, this Administration has done more than any prior Republican Administration, and perhaps more than the Clinton Administration (President Clinton has expressed regret that we didn't intervene in Rhawanda). In the end, the U.S. can't save everyone, deal with every problem, that arises in the world. Where were you, editorial board, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, and a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion was the wiping out of a vibrant Christian community in that country? In the end, your hand-wringing has a partisan tone to it, and it undermines your credibility as you selectively apply your standards.

2. Hutterite
American Fork, UT,
March 26, 2014

Again, the poor victimised christians. You seek a voice against atrocities and ignore North Korea entirely. Sorry; right idea, wrong message.

3. 2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
March 26, 2014

When are people going to learn that you can't say something non-positive about the Obama Administration... without the usual trolls getting after you?

Watch out DMN.... you broke the rules (non-positive story about the Obama Admin).

4. SCfan
clearfield, UT,
March 26, 2014

Esquire
Apparantly your knowledge of history begins in the 1990s. Ronald Reagan liberated millions and millions of people with the policies that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And now, with this weak President, Putin is seeing an opportunity to get some of them back. There must be a book out there called "Democrats Always Good, Republicans Always Bad, No Exceptions". And you must read it weekly.

5. Tyler D
Meridian, ID,
March 26, 2014

@2 bits – “When are people going to learn that you can't say something non-positive about the Obama Administration... without the usual trolls getting after you?”

Perhaps because what is lacking is perspective…

For example, do you think Fox takes a relatively even handed approach when opining on politics, or do you think their tag line - Fair & Balanced - is actually quite ironic (and maybe even *wink, wink* meant to be)?

Despite the fact that he was not my favorite president, I sometimes defended Bush from what I thought were knee jerk and unfair attacks.

Do you honestly believe the right-wing media shows any such deference to our current president?

Can you provide even one example of right-wing commentators here on DN (and we know who they are) ever saying anything positive about this president (which would imply that it is logically possible for one human being – the president - to be 100% wrong all the time)?