We finished our last column by asking, “I wonder what Macron, whose democracy is on its deathbed thanks to the protests of the yellow vests, hopes to gain from Sisi who turned a democratic protest into a bloodbath?”
On Monday, Macron arrived in Egypt and met putschist Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who has the blood of at least three thousand people on his hands and is responsible for human rights violations against all his people. According to French media, Macron told Sisi in this meeting that he needs to end human rights violations in Egypt and stated that this is a fundamental principle for stability in the country in order to be able to conduct a real fight against terrorism.
From these statements, you may think that Macron visited Egypt just to utter these words to Sisi in person, in a friendly environment.
However, these are not only cheap statements that actually mean nothing but precautions taken against the reactions that could be sparked by the trade agreements France reached with a leader like Sisi, who is in complete opposition to all modern European values. These are the words that make a fool of the entire world.
Macron, who arrived during these hard times so that he could conclude more than 30 trade agreements worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is also declaring that he undersold all the accumulation of democratic values in France. Not only that, Macron topped his trip with a tweet which was also a great Islamophobic scandal: “Egypt and France were faced with Islamic terrorism. I reminded President Sisi that our commitment to security cannot be considered separately from the issue of human rights. An inclusive society is the best shield from Islamic terrorism.” This tweet crowned all of his previous gaffes.
As you can see, the scandal in this statement is not only confined to its Islamophobic dimensions. No matter how you slice it, this statement is irredeemable. Besides the fact that it revealed his most ignorant, Islamophobic prejudices, it is also exemplary in terms of who said these words and to whom.
First of all, how can Sisi, who normalized the most evil form of terrorism with the coup he orchestrated be suffering from terrorism? Doesn’t the fact that Macron said these words to Sisi, if we do actually believe that he well-intentionally meant all of this, show how detached he is from reality?
A coup is the worst form of terrorism. In the case of this terrorist act, it becomes possible for any other form of terrorism to justify its existence or benefit from this coup and use that advantage for its own strategies. Saying to a coup plotter that he is on the same side against terrorism and showing solidarity with him only means that you are declaring that you are equally responsible for this terrorist act.
Human rights violations that followed the coup in Egypt are no secret: Tens of thousands of political detainees, prison conditions resembling dungeons from the Middle Ages and torture, thousands of people sentenced to death who were not even given the chance to defend themselves, people who were forced to leave their homes, the arrest of anyone who could possibly run against Sisi in the elections for no obvious crime. What kind of advice might Sisi possibly give to Macron that could make him ignore these human rights violations?
Second of all, the term “Islamic terrorism” Macron insistently prefers to use doesn’t mean that there is Islamic terrorism; it just means that he is ignorantly engaging in religious bigotry against Islam.
Thirdly, he probably had the chance to utter these words to someone who is actually responsible for such acts or the perpetrator of terrorism in his country, and most likely that person didn’t say anything in response. Thus, Macron may suffer from pseudo self-confidence since he turned his words into a self-fulfilling prophecy in this way. Because probably he thought for a moment that at the end of the day the person he addressed is the leader of a Muslim country after all.
No one probably expected Sisi to object to Macron’s words since he is also investing in terms like “Islamic terrorism” in order to justify the crimes he committed through his own coup.
Not only because this distorted and immoral statement serves his own ends but also because he is loyally committed to the hierarchy that is already considered natural in his relationship with Macron.
Of course, no one expects a person like Sisi, who considers Israel’s arbitrary operations in his country and against his people, the death of hundreds of innocent citizens as the “fight against terrorism”, as defending Islam and the expression of freedom.
This is neither the first nor the last example of those who become cruel dictators against their own people and humiliate themselves with their inherently colonial character and their abasement against the Europeans.
Again, it is possible to ask whether Macron, who headed to Egypt in an environment where there have been a series of violence against protestors and right violations against those staging democratic protests, gave advice to Sisi about human rights or whether he learned inspirational tactics from him on how to suppress protests and subdue the opposition.
Anyway, we actually know what Macron gained from his visit to Egypt and what Sisi has given to him in return, but we just ask these questions for the sake of making conversation!
By: Yasin Aktay. Published in Yeni SafakTurkish newspaper on 30 Jan. 2019.