Matt Bradley, The Wall Street Journal's Middle East correspondent, is one of a few journalists who understand the complex political mentality of Egyptians, and you can notice that if you follow him on Twitter and read how he recites some popular conspiracy theories.
The first time we met was at the headquarters of Ahmed Shafik's presidential campaign, when the election results were announced and Shafik came in second with 5.5 million votes. The second time we met was on the evening of the same day when he interviewed me after supporters of leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahy torched Shafik’s office.
Bradley could recognize in a very short time some of the major issues in Egyptian society such as how badly we venerate conspiracy theories, and the sad fact that we heavily invest in them through conspiracy-devoted media platforms.
Last week, I read his latest article about the deep state that defeated the elected bodies of Egypt by ousting Morsi. The feature was generally weak and shows where he stands politically.
I have summed some of my comments on the article's weak points:
In the months before the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's top generals met regularly with opposition leaders, often at the Navy Officers' Club nestled on the Nile.
1- Bradley's source, Ahmed Samih, states that SCAF met with NSF leaders in the navy officers' club - a club that doesn't exist. The navy officers club has been under renovation for 2 years. Bradley should have invested more time to verify the accuracy of the information provided to him by the NGO chairman.
Mubarak-era loyalists had long distrusted Mr. ElBaradei. But after Mr. Morsi's declaration, the ice thawed. Some influential Mubarak-era figures joined Mr. ElBaradei, including Hany Sarie Eldin, the lawyer for imprisoned steel magnate and Mubarak regime heavyweight Ahmed Ezz.
2- Bradley identified Hani Sari El Deen as the lawyer of Ezz Steel Corporation in an attempt to show how affiliated he is with Mubarak regime - a very poor choice that shows where he stands politically. Dr Hani Sari El Deen, a founding member of Free Egyptians party, served as chairman of the Capital Market Authority for 2 terms and a senior partner in the reputable Shalakany law firm. Ezz Steel just happened to be one of the firm's clients.
On June 24, Ahmed Shafiq—the last prime minister appointed by Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Morsi's closest rival for presidency said in a television interview that he warned the general to not show support for the Brotherhood.
"I told him…the coming days will not be on your side if you do, and these days will be very soon," Mr. Shafiq said on TV. "They will see black days," he said, referring to the Brotherhood.
Days later, Mr. Shafiq's warning materialized. Armed young men began ransacking Muslim Brotherhood offices nationwide.
3- Bradley has always been against some people's criticism of the MB as being affiliated with jihadists and terrorism in Sinai, because there is no evidence or any proof that bonds them together.
However, in his article he accused Ahmed Shafik of being the mastermind behind the torching of the Muslim brotherhood offices nationwide, just because in one of his interviews, Shafik said the Muslim Brotherhood will be ‘seeing black days’ and Bradley decided to use the term with a literal dramatized translation
, not putting it in its normal frame as a colloquial expression citing hard times. Bradley also referred to the angry protesters who torched the MB offices as 'mobs.' A
term he never used to describe the protesters who torched Shafik's headquarters
or the thugs who attacked the protesters at the Etihadeya palace.
With Mr. Morsi out, Mubarak-era figures and institutions are gaining influence. The military chose a Mubarak-era judge as interim president. Other Mubarak-era judges are set to head efforts to draft a new constitution.
4- Bradley described the interim president of Egypt as 'Mubarak-era judge,' a term that was introduced to journalism by Muslim Brotherhood journalists, to vilify any official who served during Mubarak's five terms.
Bradley used the Mubarak-era term 12 times in his article to slander whoever was appointed during Mubarak’s 30 years in office, I highly doubt Bradley would ever refer to Morsi attorney general or ministries as Morsi-era loyalists.
Some of these figures "are the ones who continue the methods of the so-called deep state," said Ms. Mahdi. "They are the ones who know who are the election thugs, how to hire them," she said.
5- During our first talk, when Bradley was amazed by our campaign's victory in Sharkia, the hometown of Morsi, in the 2012 presidential elections, I explained to him that the Delta is a lot like the major red states in America - big families there are very influential, and they have a very strong business and social network that you need study for years before you approach them, in order to earn their endorsement and their support in any elections. That network is a mandatory case study for any Egyptian interested in understanding the geopolitics of Egypt, which is exactly what Samuel Tadros, Hudson institute researcher, did years ago and that's why he was able to give a richer definition for the deep state in his last article, "The Counter Revolution." However, Mr. Bradley just quoted a seemingly disconnected-from-reality AUC professor who said the deep state is how to hire thugs for elections.
But After all, the sympathy of Mr Bradley for the ousting of Morsi is understandable, because what happened is a military coup against the will of the majority of the people who voted in the last presidential elections.
We all had high hopes that democracy would work here regardless of the hate and the discrimination against politicians and their basic human rights post Jan25 that Bradley never condemned.
It’s easy to ask the people to stick to the American form of democracy while having you morning espresso in you air-conditioned room in Zamalek. It’s easy to advise people to learn from their mistakes and vote considerately next time.
It’s easy to encourage the people to just protest peacefully and cheer for the opposition when they urge the president to respond, that would help in the case of pushing for a bill that the opposition never agreed on, but when the people lack their basic commodities and the economy is collapsing with sectarian massacres taking place on the streets as a result of the president's hate speech, our army is entitled to intervene, and that entitlement has been clearly stated in all the constitutions of Egypt since 1971 to salvage the country when the necessity arises. And the people accepted that.