Egypt's divide turns brother against brother

Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:27pm EDT
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By Peter Graff and Tom Finn

CAIRO (Reuters) - Islam Ibrahim has no idea if his older brother Nasim was one of the Republican Guardsmen shooting at him when he and hundreds of other Egyptians were wounded and more than 50 killed.

The brothers, who moved together to Cairo from a village near the Suez Canal, stayed close until last week, when the army in which Nasim serves toppled the president that Islam has vowed to defend.

"I don't know if he was there with them or not," said Islam, 24, with a bandage from a gunshot on his knee and an open wound from birdshot on his shoulder.

"I don't like to think about it. If he was, I know he wouldn't fire on unarmed demonstrators," he said. He sat on a plastic chair behind the stage at the camp near a Cairo mosque where thousands of supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Mursi, say they will keep a protest vigil until he is restored.

The overthrow of Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, has split the country like no other event in memory, dividing brothers from brothers, fathers from sons and husbands from wives.

Two days after the army ousted Mursi following escalating street protests against his rule, Islam called his brother to invite him to a pro-Mursi rally.

"He said I should be at home celebrating and that the army had saved the country from chaos," recalled Islam. The brothers have not spoken since.

A few days later, Islam was among protesters outside the headquarters of his brother's Republican Guard when they were fired upon in one of the deadliest incidents in more than two years of political unrest.   Continued...