While there have been attacks on the security forces (including on police stations), the Egyptian security forces have generally behaved with reckless trigger-happiness and on a massive scale. People - men, women and children - have been burned to death in their protest tents... A hospital and other medical facilities have been attacked as if they were military targets. Doctors have been stopped from getting urgent medical help for gravely wounded people. These are serious crimes from a security apparatus already saturated in the blood of (mostly) peaceful protesters... this is surely the time for outside experts to try to avert the worst and undo some of the damage.
The agenda, ideology, and political orientation of the Egyptian military are often misunderstood - both inside and outside Egypt. The Egyptian military has always been recognized as the foundation of the modern Egyptian state, and though all Egyptians males are required to serve, few understand the leadership and what makes it tick.
It is a fact that, across the Middle East and North Africa, the so-called "Arab Spring" has highlighted the relevance of the public sphere, an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems and through that discussion influence political action.
I was naturally nervous when I decided to travel 600 km south by train from Cairo to the town of Nagaa Hammadi by the banks of the river Nile. I wanted to see if Egypt's revolution of 2011 had changed life for people far away from the capital. My guide for the journey was a young student activist from Cairo who had grown up there.