Egypt’s generals appear to have an awfully short memory. A year after they massacred supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the streets of Cairo, they have some advice for American authorities on how to handle the spiraling unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Egyptian government urges the United States to show "respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion."
A Ferguson police officer’s killing of an unarmed black teenager has sparked days of intensifying violence there, and a heavy-handed police response to ensuing protests has resulted in widespread international outrage. But the comments from the Egyptian government are depressingly hypocritical. A year ago, during the hot months of July and August, the military government in Egypt attempted to clear the streets of Cairo in a bloody crackdown. More than 1,000 people died during the ensuing crackdown, which came to embody the extreme, violent lengths to which the Egyptian military would go to hold on to power and keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of office.
The notion that Egypt’s government would have any constructive advice to offer on humane policing tactics is a dark, cruel joke.
Indeed, events in Ferguson — a police killing with obviously racial overtones followed by an aggressive police response — has provided a fertile opportunity for both America’s enemies and allies to poke Uncle Sam in the eye. Xinhua, the Chinese state outlet, editorialized on the issue, noting that 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. articulated his dream for a more free and equal America, his vision has yet to be realized. Turkish media has compared the unrest in Ferguson to anti-government protests in Taksim Square, in Istanbul. Russian coverage of Ferguson has entertained a gleefully apocalyptic tone. The supreme leader of Iran also got in on the fun.
Racial discrimination’s still a dilemma in US. Still ppl are unsecure for having dark skins.The way police treat them confirms it. #Ferguson
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 15, 2014
Here’s the full Egyptian statement, in a translation provided by Sophia Jones:
"In response to a question by the Middle East News Agency on the escalating protests in the city of Ferguson in the state of Missouri as a result of the killing of the young American Michael Brown by police:
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that we are closely following the escalation of protests and demonstrations in the city of Ferguson and the reactions to them. He pointed out U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statements, which reflect the international community’s stance toward these events, especially what the secretary-general mentioned in regard to restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion and his hope that ongoing investigations shed light on the killing of the American youth and that justice will be enforced, in addition to him urging authorities to deal with the protests according to American and international standards."