CHAOS IN THE STREETS The Muslim Brotherhood has led an outrage campaign against Egyptian security forces, Christians, and anyone supporting Morsi’s ouster. This photo, taken August 18 in the central Egyptian city of Minya, shows a burned car outside a building belonging to a Christian charity, ransacked earlier this month.
Since the demonstrations in Egypt in late June, I have been glued to Facebook. As an immigrant caught between homes, I selfishly hope for an Egypt I might be able to live in again one day, which is a flawed position to start with. The appeal of Facebook is that my friends—who come from different political views—share the news headlines and photos while annotating them with their opinions and experiences. (The news feed also comes entangled with pictures of dinner plates at Tom Douglas restaurants from my Seattle friends, together with posts about avant-garde American poetry and its factional disputes, all of which act as what can be described as postmodern flattening distraction.) Online, occasionally, I find myself playing interpreter between worldviews. When Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, was ousted by the army on July 3, many of my progressive friends, along with Egyptians who were educated in the West, were unable to see anything but a coup—which is not exactly how I saw it. After all, what about the 22 million people in the streets demanding his removal? For many Americans, it's extremely hard to imagine that democracy is anything but election booths. But those 22 million people couldn't wait for another election cycle, and isn't it democratic to honor their will? At the very least, it can't easily be dismissed as nondemocratic.
Then, on August 14, the situation took a turn for the worse: Egyptian security forces dissolved two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins by force, killing hundreds of Morsi supporters. At that moment, I became an interpreter who's no longer sure how to interpret what I'm seeing.