We had a large number of women with us of various ages, which angered the young men who like to engage in confrontation. They addressed themselves to the women, saying: “What brought you here today? The Brotherhood has bad intentions and we don’t want to be preoccupied with you.”

This is from an account of a clash that occurred a month ago between the Muslim Brotherhood and a group of anti-Brotherhood protesters. It was written by the participant Nawara Negm, an Egyptian journalist and activist, and is translated from al-Tahrir courtesy of The Arabist blog.

It’s another piece of evidence—and note, one freely published in Egypt—that the situation remains a very confused one on the streets of Cairo.  A very “fluid” situation, yes, but strangely drawn out, and not one that leads us to expect a decisive victory for either side.

Negm’s account swings wildly between her semi-seriously thinking about the possibility of the MB killing her during this confrontation, and her making the MB seem ridiculous and ineffectual. And the facts compel her to oscillate in this way. Those chivalrous Egyptian “street fighting men” trounce the Brothers, so much so that one of their Christian members had to dramatically put his body between them and the entrance to the mosque the cowardly Brothers fled into!

In any case, if you read her essay, a much more uncertain picture of the Egyptian situation emerges. It is far too early to say the Brotherhood has really got things moving in the direction it wants. It is also appears far too late to hope for much influence from the once-ballyhooed “moderate” elements of the Brotherhood, in view of the ever-clearer thuggish nature of its vast majority, as displayed in the threats issued in the lead-up to a clash like this one.

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Articles by Carl Scott

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