Major Tamer Badr: Who’s Afraid of Desertion?

Had my interview with Major Tamer Badr published on Al Akhbar English today:

Hailed as a hero by Tahrir protesters, Egyptian Major Tamer Badr spoke to al-Akhbar about his decision to fight the military council by laying down his arms until civilian rule is in place.

Cairo – As Egypt goes to the polls in the first round of voting for its first post-Mubarak parliament, many remained focused on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and its head Field Marshal Tantawi, who currently fills the presidents proverbial shoes, and exercises similarly unchecked power. Such stewardship, they say, is not fit to run the elections.

One Egyptian who holds this view is Major Tamer Badr, a 37-year-old with a career in the infantry going back to 1994. “I used to like my job,” he says, “but after all this started happening, I stopped wanting to be on that side and I started wanting to be on the other side of the conflict.”

The conflict he saw was between the aspirations of the people and the interests of SCAF. It was this conflict that drove him to announce publicly his desertion to join the protests in the square.

Badr rejects the label of “defector” as that would imply turning his weapons against his former comrades.

He has merely put his weapons down, he says, and is willing to pick them up again and rejoin his unit should the revolution succeed in putting the army under civilian control. Should the revolution fail in this, however, he says it is unlikely he will even have that option…..

You can read the whole article here.

They also uploaded the full video I shot of the interview.

It’s an unedited 34 minutes including me shooting what was intended as overlay, but I guess there thinking was similar to mine when I put full testimonies from interesting and under-reported people on my blog so other journo’s and academics have access. Good to see we aren’t all totally mercenary yet.

Check the whole package out here.


About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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