By Ahmed Elumami
Benghazi, 14, July 2013:
There has been muted, almost uninterested, reaction in Libya to today’s bloody events in Egypt, where the military authorities forcibly cleared two Cairo makeshift camps of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protestors, killing at least 100 people, many but not all of them supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
In Benghazi, local Congresswoman Houda Abdulatif Al-Banani, a member of the Brotherhood-linked Justice and Construction Party, told the Libya Herald that what was is going on in Egypt was a military coup against legitimacy. Morsi had been legitimately elected, she said, and Egyptians had to respect the ballot box. What was happening there now was destabilising the outcome of the Arab Spring.
Benghazi Law student Tarek Al-Safi had a similar sympathies. “I’m not a Muslim Brotherhood member,” he told the Libya Herald, “but I support President Mohamed Morsi because he was elected by the Egyptians through legitimate elections.”
But it was difficult to find many others in the city condemning the crackdown — possibly because the Brotherhood is deeply unpopular in the city. Last month hundreds of Benghazi people demonstrated following the assassination of the lawyer Abdulsalam Al-Musmari, accusing the Muslims Brotherhood of complicity in his death and of destabilizing security in Libya.
“I think what’s happened in Egypt is not a military coup having seen the numbers who came out against Mohamed Morsi ,” said English teacher Lubna Zahri Muntaser. “The Egyptians went out [onto the streets] because they felt the government did not fulfill their revolution.”
“What is happening in Egypt now is the same as what happened in Iraq and Syria, and it is the beginning of the collapse if the situation continues,” another Benghazi local resident told the Libya Herald on condition of anonymity.
On Libya social media sites, the tone was largely anti-Morsi.
So far there has been no response by either Libya’s General National Congress of the government on the situation in Egypt.
Amna Amtair, a member of Congress’ Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Libya Herald that the committee would meet tomorrow, Thursday, to take important measures regarding the Egyptian situation. They would have met today had it not been for the damage done by a renegade group of young Amazigh who tried to trash Congress yesterday when they broke into its premises following a demonstration.
She did not indicate what the measures would be.
“The lack of any official response to events in Egypt is hardly surprising,” one Libyan political analyst said, “given the lack of action at the political crisis in Libya.”