The blood of Hisham Barakat is the responsibility of everyone with no exception, including the Ministry of Interior, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the government. Although it is necessary to hold all parties accountable and to punish the negligent and the careless, we cannot make the incident an excuse to impose more restrictions on the people.
One of the reasons for our relief after the decision to dismiss former minister of interior (Mohamed Ibrahim) was that he used a ‘reactionary policy’ regarding the criminal acts Egypt was witnessing. Ibrahim did not know who was behind these acts, and could not even convince the world that the suspects arrested for an assassination attempt at his expense were the real perpetrators. Accusations of random arrests by the authorities and trying to please the public opinion at the expense of the truth are still prevalent.
I do not believe that the current Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar’s performance is any different to that of Mohamed Ibrahim, who failed to present those who attempted to assassinate him in 2013 to the courts of justice. All of them have the same policy. To make things clear, I am not demanding the dismissal of the minister of interior; I demand that he and his security team be held responsible and that the real criminals be taken to court as soon as possible.
Thus, the issue needs to be looked into, and we must take the lead in fighting moral and material terrorism, which will not only extend to the judiciary, but also to citizens. More dangerous is that these criminals may find an excuse to spread chaos and terrorism, in light of the absence of security from criminals, and total failure of political security.
How can a judge feel safe sitting in court in front of some criminals? How can we protect him if he is to be targeted?
The only reason for targeting the Prosecutor General, may he rest in peace, is to spoil the 30 June anniversary, to terrorise judges and to send a message. This message says that they are very close to the public figures. Everyone is now throwing accusations at each other through the rationale of trying to figure out who would benefit from this.
How could the Prosecutor General’s protection be that naïve? How come the official in charge of the security did not see the weak points in securing the prosecutor’s house and motorcade? Why did the interior minister not supervise security for the Prosecutor General and other public figures himself, having taken office at such tough times? The current minister has worked in the Homeland Security apparatus and had access to all state information.
The responsibility for assassinating the Prosecutor General lies on the shoulders of the police apparatus as a whole, from the interior minister to the private security, including Homeland Security. The crime scene, near the Military Academy, is also important. What if by coincidence the Prosecutor General was passing by at the time that students were coming out of the academy? Can you imagine the disaster? The real question is: how are the areas around the academy secured, as well as the vital facilities?
After the attempted assassination of the interior minister, why did everyone not pay attention to what could happen and step up protection for the persons who may be subjects to these attempts? The deceased, who authorised the breakup of the Rabaa sit-in, which was legally correct, should have been on top of the list of these persons.
The responsibility here is collective; everyone must be held accountable, and the negligent must be punished. The methods of securing those who are prone to assassination should be reconsidered. This incident puts policemen in the heart of the responsibility. It also pulls Egypt thousands of steps back in terms of security, especially because we did not pay attention or raise the degree of preparation after what happened in France, Kuwait, and Tunisia. It is as though they were repeating the words of those who came before them; that Egypt is not Tunisia.
Also, we should not take this incident as an excuse for imposing security restrictions on the street, as there is already more than enough tension and anger in the street. We should not listen to those who demand imposing a state of emergency, as it sends a negative message inside and outside regarding our security conditions. The policy of restraint and realignment should precede all state decisions after the burial of the deceased. Any violent procedure against the street, like imposing the state of emergency and random arrests, will not bring positive results on any level. If that happens we can forget about foreign and local investments, and stop looking for tourism resources or the long-awaited economic recovery that the poor ache for in order to get through the bottleneck of poverty.
The administration should review the plan of securing Egypt and its high profile persons, especially since the opening of the new branch of the Suez Canal is approaching. If an incident similar to that of Monday’s occurred, it would not only destroy the event, but all the state’s economic hopes for this canal. The situation is highly complicated and needs calculated and responsible actions, not a violent reaction. Do not make it worse by taking poor actions or ill-considered decisions, and do not increase the tension on the street, as all parties are bound to pay attention.
Yet, the most important question remains. Why did the Brotherhood not disavow killing Barakat? Why did they not announce that they were not responsible for this vicious crime during the holy month of Ramadan? Why do they allow their electronic militia to spread this amount of gloating and threats?
This silence points the fingers of accusation towards them. If they did not commit this crime, they have to clearly announce their stance and their role in these events. In this case, silence is not golden, silence puts them in a position of accusation. Their strategy might have worked in previous times, but I do not think it will work now. They have their media channels and everyone is waiting for a clear reaction from them, through which they reveal their status from what happened, because the next could be worse.
The state should very quickly track and announce the perpetrators of this incident and those who attempted to assassinate the former minister, Mohamed Ibrahim.
Emad El-Sayed is an Egyptian journalist and the Editor of Daily News Egypt