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The Role of State Sanctioned Violence in Egypt

Egypt’s authoritarian political culture spans back centuries. The ancient Egyptian concept of Maat defines acceptable behavior as recognizing one’s place in society – respecting authority and acknowledging and respecting the will of God [1].

This concept is central to Egyptian political life. State repression through violence has been a common tactic. President’s from Gamal Abdel Nasser to Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s current authoritarian ruler – have nourished the countries repressive state apparatus.

As a matter of fact, the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was partially ignited by the killing of Khaled Saeed, a young man who was tortured to death in police custody. President Hosni Mubarak later stepped down as a result of mass upheavals in the streets – and the country had its first democratic election.

A Muslim Brotherhood candidate won but was overthrown shortly after in a military coup that was triggered by mass demonstration against the Brotherhood in 2013.

Egyptian political culture is extremely polarizing. Political identities in Egypt range from secular nationalist to political Islamists. The state nourishes these divisions and argues for one-man rule to preserve order.

The military dictatorship in Egypt uses police brutality as an overt form of state sanctioned violence. This violence effects the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Egypt’s most well-organized group as well as liberal Egyptians who believe in democracy and a secular state.

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, perhaps Egypt’s most brutal ruler, has used state violence to brutalize his people with torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial executions as part of routine public policy.

In Egypt, the military has tremendous control of political and economic activity in the country. The Egyptian military is one of the strongest in the world. It consists of disciplined, organized, and well-founded groups of people with great influence.

They often create violence on behalf of the state. In other words, in a country like Egypt, the military official armed units are used to implement key directives of governments, often using force. The October 2011 Maspero Massacre is an example of this.

Sources [1] Green, December, and Laura Luehrmann. Comparative Politics of the Global South: Linking Concepts and Cases. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Incorporated, 2017.


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