Saturday, August 17, 2013

Challenges to Finding Your Moral Compass

The past few years have been trying from a moral point of view. I find myself having to make moral choices every day about new and strange situations that are not out of a book but before my eyes. It hasn’t only been trying, but also tiring. Every time I need to make up my mind about something I must go through piles of data and try to discover what of it can be treated as real information. Who can I trust? What can I read out of the truth? What can I read out of the lies?

There’s too much to read, too much to look through, too many lies to sift through. In the end facts are not enough. They have to be put together through reason. Reject the impossible, entertain the possible, verify what you can through circles of trust, figure out if they’ve been lied to. Then you have to look through your moral lens and make up your mind and on occasion adjust that lens.

How does one react morally to events around? Over 500 people were killed. The police only claimed 10 machine guns were found. How can this number justify the number of deaths? On the other hand over 40 policemen were killed which makes this a combat not a massacre. At the top level it’s easy. The MB leaders take the most blame for bringing us to this point, whoever is running the state whether military or state security next for ordering the dispersal and police for utter brutality. But that’s not enough, the intricacies are puzzling.

MB leaders have called upon their followers and put them in harm’s way but are their supporters without agency? What kind of parent takes their child to a protest that will be dispersed imminently? What kind of protester continues in an armed protest to act as a human shield? What kind of protester picks up arms to fight using other unarmed protesters as human shields? Those human shields do not shield off anything, both sides want them dead. The MB to raise the death tally to further entrench their position as martyrs after their autocratic rule, the state and security forces with the blessing of the spectators, the Egyptian people.

What moral ground permits supporters of the sit-in to attack churches across Egypt in retaliation to their forced dispersal? 

The entire chain is immoral; followers dying for remote and distanced leaders, Copts dying for remote and isolated followers. It makes no sense. How many lives were lost by this utter irresponsibility and lies?

Some mad men lead the country into a vicious cycle of madness. How does Beltagy feel about his daughter dying? Is it for a just cause? The life of a beautiful young woman cut short with no chance to live out her future and see what she can become. Was it worth it?

Was it really worth it, this thirst for power that only brought about injustice? How about all the lives destroyed of the Brotherhood followers or innocent Copts whose livelihood was targeted. What was it all for?

And how about those officers, tools of the state, some fighting for duty, others killing indiscriminately. What were they thinking when they ended all those lives. That they were worth nothing? What were they thinking when they allowed Copts to be attacked and their churches burned? That they deserve this?

Do they deserve to die? Do they deserve to kill?

But how about everyone else, whose life was destroyed by the MB? All they want is to live without an oppressor, who not only wants to steal their present but also their future and their children’s future. They want an army to protect them from MB, an army to kill them all. Do they realize that this army will take away what’s left after the battle is done?

There are many questions to balance out together, much more think of a way out. My loyalty is to my values, not to any group, secular or not, liberal or not. But with all the tiredness I feel on a personal level trying to figure things out, and how tiring and trying my journey is, I feel pleasantly surprised when I see a few, not too many, not too little, reaching similar points, trying to answer questions seriously, trying to find out the truth earnestly. I don’t know how troubling their journey is to them, is it as arduous as mine? I hope not, because my journey is driving me into exhaustion. Yet it’s finding others who arrive to the same point that gives me hope to go on and assures me that it’s worth the trouble. 


Intellectual Cafe said...

Dear Wael,
I have received your blog via mona baker as a link on FB. I tell you your quest is worth the trouble. i know of many people who are following the same path. it is sane voices like yours that we need, because sooner or later the din of the battle will ebb and we will have to face the reality with all its ugliness, and we better be equipped with facts that have been sifted out of the mountain of lies and misinformation.

Wael Eskandar said...

Thank you for your message and your assurance that there are many who are still going on. I know that this time will pass and when the dust settles we'll be able to start again. For now I feel we just have to hold on to the scraps of humanity we have left.

Mona Baker said...

i don't think that we can wait and let events overtake us. I'd like to explore the possibility of working on a series of videos and other things that can help us get the message across to more people, with the help of (e.g.) Mosireen, Kazeboon, etc. Can we not find a way of reminding both sides of the humanity of (some/many) of the other side and begin to persuade them to talk to each other? No real reconciliation can take place until we begin to do this at grassroots level.

Wael Eskandar said...

Series of videos should be good. Kazeboon already has this video on their position about events post June 30. Certainly more in the series must be made.

Hussein Jeff said...

It's a difficult situation where a lot is happening at the same time. From my perspective, what happened at Raba3 was a massacre. Simultaneously, there have been terrorist attacks by supporters of the MB across Egypt. Most of the officers who died over the past week were no where near Raba3...and the army has shown little, if any interest, in stepping in to contain the real terrorist threat that exists mainly outside of Cairo. What I see is the army using a legitimate terrorist threat as an excuse to smash their political opponents. No side is correct; no side is innocent; both sides have blood on their hands. The Army should be supported in any legitimate fight against the agents of terror acting throughout the country, and strongly condemned for the massacre of mainly non-armed political opponents in Raba3. The MB should be harshly criticized for many many things that need no mention here, but their right to their asinine perspective should be supported. Any opponent of the MB who takes comfort in the massacre of Raba3 has lost their moral compass...and the number of otherwise open minded and kind people across Egypt who seem to be OK with what happened in Raba3 because it happened to supporters of the MB has me very worried.....