Egyptian Blogger Unsure Which Fake Massacre Photos to Use
Cairo, Egypt (AP) – Ahmed Sinni, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, cannot decide which images to alter or reuse from other conflicts for propaganda purposes, the 24-year-old reported Monday.
Looking for ways to spread his movement’s take on recent developments – mainly today’s killing of 43 demonstrators and wounding of over 400 others in the Egyptian capital – Sinni was frustrated in his inability to find appropriately heart-rending images of the carnage. Despite seeking photos or videos that would showcase the alleged brutality and wanton violence of the Egyptian army, he could find precious few bona fide images of the carnage.
Sinni then decided to take images from the Syrian civil war and recaption them to suit the situation. But the collection of bloody images available from Syria has put the young activist in a dilemma, as many of the images have already been recycled for similar purposes by Hamas. The Gaza Strip offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood waged its own propaganda campaign when the coastal territory was under assault by Israel last year, frequently showing photos of dead Syrian children and claiming they were Gazans killed by indiscriminate Israeli rocket and artillery fire.
“I’m not entirely sure I want to go there,” said Sinni, who dismisses the army’s claims that they were fired on before shooting at the crowd. “And although I know in my heart the army is now evil and cannot be trusted, I cannot risk my own credibility by using photos that were already employed for similar purposes. What if we get called out on it?”
Such concerns clearly did not concern Hamas, but Sinni and the more established Brotherhood shy away from blatant use of propaganda, preferring to hide behind democratic principles and a carefully cultivated sense of victimhood nurtured under the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Sinni and his compatriots therefore find themselves torn between the political goal of casting the army in the worst possible light and upholding the notion that the movement can competently negotiate the transition from dissident to administrator, a move that requires a modicum of self-awareness in publicity efforts.
“We’d love to do what Hamas did and just toss all reasonable realism to the wind,” lamented Sinni’s colleague Habbig Layah. “But we’re supposed to be moderates,” a term that he said could mean anything from the Western idea of “liberal” to the more realistic just-as-dedicated-to-the-destruction-of-everything-non-Islamic-but-not-saying-so-with-flaming-rhetoric-all-the-time.
An Egyptian army spokesman was unavailable for comment, as he was busy uploading clips of Iraqi sectarian violence onto YouTube and labeling it “Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.”