Color Inside the Red Lines - Comparing Egyptian State Repression of Political Activism During the Mubarak Days and the SCAF Days

Tine Lavent
Persbericht

Color Inside the Red Lines - Comparing Egyptian State Repression of Political Activism During the Mubarak Days and the SCAF Days

 

Egypte tijdens de transitieperiode: is na Mubarak kwaad met kwaad vergolden?

Mubarak en de SCAF – twee gelijken uit hetzelfde nest?

Op 11 februari 2011 gaf Hosni Mubarak de scepter, die hij decennialang tiranniek over het Egyptische volk had gezwaaid, noodgedwongen door aan de Opperste Raad van Militaire Strijdkrachten (de SCAF). Als president was hij een dertigtal jaar aan de macht geweest in het land; een periode waarin al snel bleek dat de mond van wie er een andere politieke mening op na hield, kordaat gesnoerd zou worden. In 2011 zorgde de start van de revolutie ervoor dat het autoritaire spel van de ex-president op het eerste zicht leek uitgespeeld. Zou het met de politieke vrijheid van Egyptenaren beter gesteld zijn eens de militaire raad als hoofd van de transitionele regering de fakkel van Mubarak overnam? In hoeverre zou de manier veranderen waarop politieke activisten die de grens van het aanvaardbare zoals bepaald door de regering (de 'rode lijnen' in het Arabisch) overschreden, aangepakt zouden worden? Hanteerde de door de militaire raad geleide regering dezelfde methodes om politiek activisme tijdens de transitieperiode in het land (van 11 februari 2011 tot 30 juni 2012) te onderdrukken als de autoriteiten tijdens Mubaraks regeerperiode (van 14 oktober 1981 tot 11 februari 2011), of werd op andere methodes berust? Na een anderhalf jaar van militair beleid maakte Tine Lavent de balans op.

Middelen van staatsrepressie

Stel. Je bent een politiek activist in Egypte. Je hebt de start van de revolutie met je medeburgers in gang gezet en je hebt meegemaakt hoe Hosni Mubarak ten val is gebracht door de kracht van jouw activisme en dat van miljoenen anderen. De militaire raad neemt de macht over. Wat nu?Tine Lavent had het hierover met een dertigtal Egyptische activisten van verschillende makelij. Met deze persoonlijke gesprekken tijdens haar zes maanden lange veldwerk in Caïro, en rapporten van mensenrechtenorganisaties als vertrekpunt, besloot ze de vergelijking te maken tussen de methodes van staatsrepressie die het Mubarak-regime en de door de SCAF geleide transitieregering respectievelijk hanteerden om politiek activisme de kop in te drukken. Met de hypothese dat de verschillen niet zo groot zouden zijn in het achterhoofd, categoriseerde ze de methodes eerst, om ze daarna naast elkaar te kunnen leggen.

Mubarak zet de toon

De Mubarak-regering maakte niet alleen misbruik van draconische regels en wetten om met politieke activisten af te rekenen, ook was censuur een door de regering geliefd middel om te verhinderen dat politieke activisten hun mening konden verspreiden. NGOs en bewegingen werden verbannen en op verschillende manieren belemmerd om hun werk naar wens uit te voeren. Enkel wat binnen de controle van de regering viel, werd toegestaan. De naam van activisten werd besmeurd door de staatsmedia en ze werden op regelmatige basis gearresteerd, gevangen gehouden en voor het gerecht gebracht. De regering bespioneerde activisten niet alleen, maar intimideerde hen ook fysiek en verbaal. Tijdens protesten werden ze hardhandig aangepakt, soms zelfs in die mate dat vrouwelijke demonstranten seksueel werden lastiggevallen.

Wanneer de SCAF het overneemt

Onder de militaire raad werden veelal dezelfde methodes gehanteerd. In sommige gevallen werd het gebruik van deze methodes tot een uiterste gedreven. Een massale aanval op NGO's werd opgezet, een heuse mediacampagne vond plaats om de reputatie van activisten te besmeuren en protesten werden extreem gewelddadig aangepakt. Een triest hoogtepunt vond plaats toen vrouwelijke demonstranten zogezegd getest werden op hun maagdelijkheid, en aldus werden verkracht door vertegenwoordigers van de regering.

Cruciale informatie

In dit onderzoek komt niet alleen een heldere beschrijving van de evolutie van politiek activisme in Egypte naar voor. Aan de hand van persoonlijke getuigenissen en herinneringen van politieke activisten (van wie de verhalende gesprekken te lezen zijn in deze thesis) worden de verschillende methodes op transparante wijze gecategoriseerd en vergeleken. Vrouwen, mannen, oud, jong, met veel of weinig ervaring als activist, prominente activisten of wie meer achter de schermen werkzaam is. Cartoonisten, mensenrechtenactivisten, leden van sociale bewegingen, NGO's en andere organisaties, muzikanten, toneelspelers, onafhankelijke activisten... Op deze manier staat een aspect van een cruciale periode in de moderne geschiedenis van de Egyptische politiek beschreven in dit onderzoek. Want, om met de woorden van een Egyptische activist af te sluiten: “Het is belangrijk dat wat hier gebeurt, gedocumenteerd wordt. Niet alleen uit ons verleden, maar ook het heden. Zo kunnen toekomstige generaties er iets uit leren”.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Science of Conflict and Development
Publicatiejaar
2013
http://en.twitter.com/TineLavent
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