Nada Barakat highlights the violence youth are subjected to
This year, on his visit to Egypt, it appears that Cupid left his love arrow in heaven and decided to carry an assault weapon instead, replacing Valentine’s gifts and its spirit with Molotov cocktails and burning tyres surrounding each political scene.
A series of killings of revolutionary youths during demonstrations and reports of those missing in December and January during the country’s political instability and demonstrations triggered vengeance. A total of 100 people have been killed in the last eight months, since President Mohamed Morsi came to power in July 2012, according to a Tahrir newspaper report published this month.
The most targeted age group are youths who remained fighting for justice, freedom and social equality. However, the targeted violence seems to be the price that this generation must pay.
Samir Naim, a professor of sociology at Ain Shams University, says, “there is mystification of reality and a mix of all cards on purpose to blame and use youth as a scapegoat for all political conflict although they are the real owners of this revolution since they were the group on common ground that mobilised the Egyptian public to go out and demand their rights.”
Naim adds, “the youth is the real victim of all the violence espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood who remain in power regardless of the short and long term losses. The Muslim Brothers are anti-Islam, anti-patriotism and anti-women because they always justify the means and fake reality.”
Naim stresses that there should be a distinction between revolutionary youth who are willing to lose their lives for Egypt and other youths driven by those in power blindly to kill and humiliate. He gives as examples women harassment and Hamada Saber who was stripped and dragged on the streets by police in front of Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace last month.
He said bloodshed and humiliation became part of the Egyptian scene because the president and ruling party made the public disrespect the laws, creating a lawless state after several constitutional declarations which gave the president absolute powers and after the Islamist political movement besieged the Supreme Constitutional Court to prevent it from issuing rulings that might not be in the MB’s favour.
Naim blames President Morsi’s silence amid all the instability, saying it conveys his consent of whatever violence is happening on the streets.
From a psychological analytical perspective, Yasmine Al-Nemr, a lecturer of psychology at the British University in Egypt, explains the increasing violence: “Since there are no longer enough restrictions to prevent violent behaviour it is flourishing in the community, matching theories stating that certain behaviours are carried in genes of newborns and if nourished by the environment and other social learning behaviour like imitation, remain part of the character and are usually passed on to other generations.
Al-Nemr provided an example of violence passed to children between ages eight to 10. During the past two years some role playing games involving children, like police vs rebels and the Muslim Brothers vs rebels, or imitating the electoral race that pitted Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsi, have divided children into teams playing against one another.
Therefore, it will be hard to teach the upcoming generations not to use violence or defend themselves and to replace violence with ethical approaches to resolving conflict.
Al-Nemr highlighted that today Egypt is witnessing a huge trend of grouping, since individual opinion is rarely heard or affects anything. So people always seek to be under a group umbrella to gain strength of one voice and be effective. Grouping results in over-confidence which encourages the group’s individuals to be more violent because they know that there is someone backing them up and will provide the required support whenever needed.
On the other hand, grouping is alarming since it encourages groups and weakens individuals, just like the case of the average Egyptian citizen who is apolitical and will end up with no voice in front of the majority who alone decides and always leaves him with limited rights.
Al-Nemr warns of recurrent violence on Egyptian streets which will increase the possibility of the “Palestine Syndrome” which made Palestinian women very hard on themselves. “They express cold reaction towards losing their children to the extent that they would bury one child and the next day become pregnant with another.
The people’s emotional detachment will also increase and individuals will look for their own survival as the conditions for more violence will increase.
Al-Nemr suggests a quick development plan for education and communication to patriotism, freedom, cooperation and respect.
Cairo University sociology professor Mohamed Al-Gohari says that violence is a sort of addiction and that its threshold increases the more violence people witness. “The Egyptian Islamist political movement takes advantage of the slow course of justice and mobilise people towards retaliating for the martyrs’ blood using the wrong explanation of Islamist doctrine,” Al-Gohari said.
Al-Gohari sees that citizens who do not respect the law and are ready to have their demands met by force as the most alarming trend that will spread terrorism and violence which will cost the lives of many more innocent citizens.c