The recent army massacre of hundreds of protesters at the Muslim Brotherhood encampments in Cairo may be the beginning of a long and brutal conflict in Egypt. This is because it is not just the army against the Brotherhood. It is also because a large segment of the Egyptian people are adamantly against the Brotherhood.
This was made clear to me recently when I had supper with a visiting Egyptian friend. She is a devout Muslim and the supper was after dusk, as it was during Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day. She is also a highly educated medical doctor with many articles published in prestigious journals. I asked her how she felt about the army's removal of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The army did not remove Morsi," she corrected me, "the people removed Morsi." The floodgates were opened, and she bitterly recounted why people like her hated the Muslim Brotherhood. "Morsi and the Brotherhood destroyed the Egyptian economy over the past year," she said. "He shipped our oil to Hamas in Gaza. He planned to turn over the Sinai to the Brotherhood as their separate enclave. He released hundreds of Brotherhood terrorists from prison, and now armed Brotherhood bands patrol our cities as if they were the police to enforce their fundamentalist Islamic laws. They want women like me to wear the veil and they want to take us all back to riding camels. No, the army did not remove Morsi. It was the Egyptian people, who could no longer tolerate the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, who removed Morsi."
As her anger toward the Muslim Brotherhood poured out, I could only listen in silence. But it was clear to me that there was a deep and bitter divide in Egyptian society and that the country was on the verge of civil war.
ERIC LEIF DAVIN