Who are the New Egyptian Demonstrators?

Who are the New Egyptian Demonstrators?

Before lionizing the anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators who are now filling Cairo’s Tahrir Square and (justly) demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi, perhaps we should consider who they are.

A foreign reporter reportedly has again been raped in the crowd, just as CBS News’ Lara Logan was assaulted during the Tahrir Square protests in 2011. And some are again using anti-Israel, anti-American rhetoric. The photograph above, which was published by the Associated Press but has received little attention, shows anti-Morsi demonstrators with a giant banner on which his face is superimposed with the Israeli and U.S. flags.

Evidently, there are some in Egypt who believe that Morsi has not gone far enough in opposing Israel and the U.S. He still accepts U.S. military aid (and the Obama administration still seems eager to provide it), and he has not abrogated the peace treaty that allowed Egypt to reclaim the Sinai, which it lost to Israel in 1967.

None of this is to say that the U.S. should support Morsi, or that the demonstrators’ cause is not just. But it is a reminder that Egyptian society remains backward, consumed–after years of indoctrination–with hateful conspiracy theories and troubled by political conditions that do not make for stable democratic foundations.