Members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who were playing a leading role in the orchestrated campaign against the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) dramatically changed their position on Sunday.
Gamal Tag-al-Din, a leading MB lawyer, publicly withdrew his official complaint to the public prosecutor. This complaint had accused three RS members of planning to overthrow the state.
Sameh Naguib, a leading member of the RS, named in the complaint, has been the subject of an organised media smear campaign for the past week. Egypt's revolutionary socialists hit back at state attacks
Tag-al-Din had faced a storm of criticism not only from left and liberal political forces and revolutionary activists, but even from within the Brotherhood itself. Muhammad al-Beltagi from the executive of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party condemned the legal complaint on Saturday.
The Brotherhood’s official spokesman Mahmoud Ghazlan distanced himself from Tag-al-Din’s action. Meanwhile Tag-al-Din’s fellow lawyers also rounded on him in a public statement.
The attack on the Revolutionary Socialists by prominent Brotherhood members sparked outrage because the RS played such a central role in defending the Brotherhood at the height of Mubarak’s campaign against the Islamists.
As leading RS member Ahmed Ezzat explained on Al-Jazeera on Sunday, RS activists mobilised in defence of the Brotherhood over many years when they faced oppression by the state. “Our organisation emerged at a point when the Brotherhood and other Islamists were under attack by the state in the 1990s. Some political groups joined in the smear campaigns against the Brotherhood, saying they were the ‘enemy number one’ of the masses, rather than the Mubarak regime.”
“Our position was always that the dictatorship had to go, and that people should look behind the slogans which the state was using against the Islamists. We were always leading the campaigns to defend the Islamists from the state, whether it was the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood or Islamist student activists.
'I am a human rights lawyer and I spent a lot of time myself at the police stations representing arrested Islamists who had been brought in for questioning. This was a matter of political principle. Our view was that the Muslim Brotherhood was not our enemy, we were all facing the same dictatorial regime.”
The swift retreat of Tag-al-Din and those in the Brotherhood who wanted to work with the military council to attack the revolutionary forces, shows the pressures and contradictions faced by the Islamists as they stand on the verge of political power.
But it is likely that there will be other such attacks on revolutionary activists in the near future. As Sameh Naguib warned in a meeting on Monday night “the campaigns of repression and smears have only just begun and organised solidarity between all the revolutionary forces is crucial. But the Egyptian mass movement has broken the barrier of fear.”
See video of the Revolutionary Socialists in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Their slogan is 'Come and buy the paper which wants to bring down the military state'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPmmrBF5rSo