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Activists Call For End To Military Aid To Egypt
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 16, 2013 1:52 pm
Posted to: International
Reem Elazazy said her dad went to Egypt to visit relatives and is now trapped inside his family home as people die in the streets—killed by American-made weapons.
Elazazy (pictured), who’s 19, was part of a panel of people who condemned that violence and called for an end to U.S. military aid to Egypt. She spoke at a press conference at the Long Wharf headquarters of the New Haven Register on Friday afternoon.
Speakers responded to the unfolding crisis in Egypt, where hundreds have died in clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. The violence began as a crackdown by the military government that removed Morsi from office last month.
President Barack Obama has responded by suspending joint military exercises with Egypt. But he has not put a stop to U.S. military aid to Egypt, which amounts to about $1.4 billion per year.
That aid supplies the military with the tear gas and bullets that it’s now turning on protesters, said Mongi Dhaouadi (pictured), head of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Dhaouadi said security forces have killed hundreds of people “in cold blood,” and injured thousands more. He called it a “massacre,” a “slaughter,” and “carnage.”
“We condemn these acts in the strongest terms,” he said.
Dhaouadi said he appreciates Obama’s “strong language” against the crackdown. But “we need to move beyond just words,” he said. He called for an end to military aid and said the U.S. government should not recognize the military regime. He said he’s not taking a position of support or opposition to Morsi, only supporting democracy.
Dhaouadi said what’s happening is a “flashback what happened in the [President Hosni] Mubarak era.” He said the military is targeting Egypt’s minority population of Coptic Christians, through coordinated attacks on churches.
“We want to see more, stronger statements and action,” said Mohamed Elsamra (pictured), of the Muslim American Society.
James van Pelt, of Promoting Enduring Peace, said the United States is defending continuing aid to Egypt with the same argument it used when supporting the South African government during apartheid: that it can have more influence if it’s supplying aid. Van Pelt called that argument “morally bankrupt.”
Elazazy said her father took a trip to Egypt for what was supposed to be 10 days. She said he’s now stuck in Alexandria with relatives. He can’t go outside because he has a beard, she said. Anyone with a beard is seen as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as a terrorist, and attacked, she said.
That’s a result of a concerted campaign of misinformation, and a silencing of the local media, she said. That’s the greatest loss, she said, “not the lost souls, but the lost hearts and minds.”
“They’re playing with the fear of the people,” Elazazy said of the military government. “They’re calling it a war on terror.”
The New Haven press conference came ahead of a planned afternoon rally in Hartford, where Dhaouadi planned to meet with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.
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There are two sides to every story including a very complicated one like what is going in Egypt these days. the amount of disinformation and spin from all sides and those from around the world is amazing. I thought it was the Brotherhood that was making life deadly for the Christians. Although a good case is made to stop US aid who is going to stop those who supporting the terrorists that are now headed for Egypt?? US aid has allowed that part of the Middle East to be relatively quiet over the last 30 (?) years to the advantage of the Egyptians, Isrealis and everybody else. Our ability to buy peace has now been compromised but it was probably worth the treasure, but now it is not. But it takes two to tango and the Brotherhood is not innoncent in the current struggle. NHI should tread carefully in reporting this struggle!!!