Why do we persist in thinking that August is a month of relaxation when even politicians can take things easy? The First World War began in August and the Second began to boil before being declared on 3 September. This year the civil war in Syria continues and in Egypt the idea of a new democracy created by the will of the people is dying in front of our eyes. On Wednesday evening the prime minister of the interim government, Hazem Beblawi, appeared on TV to explain the events of a day in which governmment forces cleared the two Muslim Brotherhood sit-in Cairo protests against the deposition of the elected prime minister, Mohamed Morsi. In a very animated performance Mr Beblawi said he wanted to praise the restraint shown by the police and army in carrying out their task. As he spoke those words he must have known that more than five hundred of the Muslim Brotherhood had been killed and a much greater number injured. All the evidence of observers and TV coverage showed that the killing initiative was taken by the heavily armed government forces. After such a massacre any reconciliation between the Brotherhood, which won a majority at elections just over a year ago, and the Army and other parties making up the interim government, is now unthinkable.
Much ground has been lost.