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[This letter was copied to other members of the Editorial Board and to members of the Board of Contributors of

The Canadian Charger. It has not previously been published.]

[Index: Canadian politics, Egypt, Israel, Palestine]


[Date: December 2013]

Letter of Resignation from the Editorial Board of The


Canadian Charger

Michael Keefer

To: Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, 1 December 2013

Dear Mohamed,
I'm writing to you, with regret, to declare my resignation from the Editorial Board
of The Canadian Charger.
This is a matter of sorrow to me. It has been a pleasure and an honour to have
been involved with you in this news-commentary-and analysis website since its early
planning stages; and I continue to believe that the project of bringing together voices
from the Muslim community and the Canadian left is an important one.
However, the editorial published on November 27, Canadians: List Egypt's
Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, makes it impossible for me to continue my
association with The Charger.
I do not claim any expertise on recent events in Egypt. However, I have read
enough to be aware of some of the ways in which a sequence of stupid political
misjudgments, errors, and illegalities committed by President Morsi and his entourage
fractured their previous support, persuaded many Egyptians that the Muslim Brotherhood
was determined to impose a theocracy, and made his government vulnerable to military

intervention. It is understandable that the initial response of many secular and Coptic
Egyptians to the military overthrow of the Morsi government was a feeling of relief. But
over the past five months, the violently anti-democratic intentions of the military junta
and its obvious continuities with the Mubarak dictatorship have been repeatedly made
evident. To deny that the coup was a coup, as The Charger's November 27 editorial
appears to do, is fatuous.
On principle, I oppose political parties whose actions and policies are guided,
openly or otherwise, by sectarianism. (Such parties include the Muslim Brotherhood,
Hamas, the U.S. Republican Party, most of the parties in the Israeli Knesset, and the
governing party of this country: witness its insistent Christian Zionism and
Islamophobia.)
But that does not mean one should automatically believe everything that is said or
written to the discredit of such parties.
In the case of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, there is substantial evidence that
a propaganda campaign conducted by the Egyptian military junta and its supporters in the
international media has sought to blame the Muslim Brotherhood for the appalling acts of
violence that have occurred since the beginning of July. (For a sample of critical analyses
of this campaign, see two articles by Esam Al-Amin, The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt's
Military Coup, CounterPunch [19-21 July 2013], and Putting Egypt's Coup on Trial,
CounterPunch [8-10 November 2013]; and a further article exposing the fabrication of
supposed Muslim Brotherhood atrocities: Mohamed Malik and Mohamad Omar, How
Amnesty International was Played by the Egyptian Junta, CounterPunch [25 November
2013].) To this should be added the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood's official Englishlanguage website, Ikwanweb.com, has repeatedly denounced acts of violence, whether
directed against the military and the police, against ministers in the coup regime, or
against members of Egypt's Coptic minority and their churches.
One might well want to weigh critical analyses of the kind I have cited, as well as
the statements posted at Ikwanweb.com, against news reports of an opposing tendency.
But distressingly, I do not find any hint of an attempt to weigh competing claims and sift
out probable truths in The Charger's editorial.
The above matters might be understood as questions of editorial imbalance that
could be corrected by a follow-up editorial. But the November 27 editorial offers clear
support to the Egyptian military as a force aligned with the interests of the Egyptian

people, and it demands that the Harper government label the Muslim Brotherhood a
terrorist group and reject any Egyptian refugee claimants stained by association with this
party. I reject these positions, and refuse any association with them.
Since when does The Canadian Charger concede to the Harper government
which since it came to power in 2006 has without fail supported Israeli war crimes and
crimes against humanity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which boasts of having
punched above its weight in the NATO bombing of Libya two years ago, and which has
pressed for aggression against Syria and Iranthe moral authority to make such a
determination?
In its demand for the criminalization of the party overthrown by Egypt's military
coup, and in its reference to the Palestinian political party Hamas, the editorial is lending
The Charger's support to the policies of the Egyptian junta and of the Harper government
and to the use by both of them of the discredited rhetoric of the war on terror.
I oppose political parties guided by sectarian principles. I also oppose, more
adamantly, military dictatorships, not least because their guiding principle is state
terrorism.
One of the things that needs urgently to be said about the Egyptian coup is that its
consequences have included not merely a harshly augmented infliction of state terror on
Egyptians, but alsothrough the closure of the Rafah crossing and the tunnel systemsa
radical intensification of the state terrorism inflicted by Israel and its allies on the
population of Gaza, in punishment for having freely elected a Hamas government in
2006. (Bombing a captive and defenceless civilian population is state terrorism: so also is
depriving them of drinking water, food, medicine, sewage facilities, employment, and
contact with the outside world.)
The November 27 editorial supports the Egyptian military coup, and it supports
Mr. Hassan Sherif's call for the Canadian government to be consistent and list the
Muslim Brotherhood along with Hamas as a terrorist group. Whatever the editorialist's
intentions, the text carries an implicit endorsement of these consequences as well. I find
this intolerable.
Yours sincerely and respectfully,
Michael

Michael Keefer
Professor Emeritus
School of English and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph
cc: Members of the Editorial Board and Board of Contributors