Egypt is one of the most homophobic countries in the world. Egyptians are fond of ascribing to themselves a difficult to quantify trait: religiousity. For many years, one regime after another, has employed the diversionary tactic of raids on Egypt’s gay community for multiple purposes. But the Sisi regime rocked, just last week, by a ‘leak’ scandal of mamoth porportions that saw some of those residing in the upper circles of power caught with their hands in the corruption jar, turned again to the ‘gay card’ to shift attention from its own stupidity and amorality.
While homophobia is certainly not unique to Egypt one poll after another has shown Egypt to be among the harshest critics of homosexual orientation. This is the backdrop to our story.
Multiple ingredients adorn this socio/politically charged plateau: a desperate governement, a security appratus that takes sadistic pleasure in trampeling the rights of Egyptians, and a hungry psuedo journalist, Mona Iraqi, looking to make a splash. The last of these runs a show named Il Mistkhabi ( The Hidden) on a highly pro govt. TV channel Al Qahira Wa Il Nas. The previously unkown ‘journo’ understood, as many purveyors of yellow journalism do, sex sells-especially in sexually respressed socities like Egypt. Presto, she started following a public bath house near Ramses Sq.. Enter exploitative set of machivellian values that govern the state appratus.
Having discovered this ‘den of perversion ‘ Iraqi contacted Egyptian police. The arrest warrants were delayed, someone in MOI, with a highly cynical political sensibility, recognized the political potential of this large arrest. Cameras rolled and out came pictures of dozens of naked men being arrested in the Cairo night.
Win,win,win for all three criminals in this fiasco. The yellow journalist gains 15 minutes of fame while cynically utilizing mainstream predaliction for homophobia. The Police appear to be the protectors of moral virtues. But most importantly, for that macro domestic scene, Sisi and his cohorts emerge as the biggest winners:
1- The religious credentials of the military deep state mushroom, (never mind that this is Islamo-military fascism par excellence)
2-A continuation of the crushing of individual rights by the state, a lowlight of the Sisi regime-even before he came formally to power several months ago.
3-Most significantly, a shifting of focus away from the ‘Leak’ that showed Min. of interior, the public prosecutor,SCAF and Sisi starring in an illegal attempt to secure the case against the former president, Morsi.
The final judge being heaven on all issues is a notion that is foreign to Egyptian society. Indeed, guilty till proven innocent masquarades as justice in Egypt. Sisi understands these dynamics with great efficacy and utilizes hegemony over vast majority of Egyptian media to effectuate not only one man rule but, more crucially, one man moral policing. It is no secret that many police checkpoints, throughout Egypt, systematically search cars for alcohol and dispose of it. We must not forget that the president grew up in a highly conservative religious family, and many intially suspected him of being closeted Muslim brotherhood; some analysts believed thats why he was chosen as Min. of defense by Morsi. No one can be certain what the strong man’s definition is of the word ‘democracy’ that Sisi is fond of throwing around in public forums both domestic and foreign.
But one thing is certain, it is an explosive situation that is developing: Egypt has replaced an Islamist Fascism with its more sinister twin: Islamo-Military fascism.