Friday, May 27, 2005Reply to Aly (The Brotherhood and Kefaya Question)
First of all, let’s define the Muslim Brotherhood... it’s an Islamist politically active movement that was banned by all types of Egyptian governments through since its founding and in order for them to become more politically involved they seek to turn themselves into an official political party. 79 million is the number the Egyptian population, out of them we have about 14 million Christians, now a Christian like any Muslim can be affiliated with any political party whether it’s left, right, liberal, Nasserite etc. But he/she can not be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood simply because their main perquisite for membership is to be a Muslim... now that makes the whole concept of the MB as a political party discriminatory given the fact that there are no Christian political parties... or even if they will have one it won’t be fair and it will cause more damage to the unity of the Egyptian society. Meanwhile, no one can deny the MB their right of forming a socio-political organization (or even a think tank) that becomes supportive of another non-religion based party. Like the Christian-right organizations and their affiliation with the Republican party in the states.
Now, the only backdoor that serves the MB political agenda is through the independents i.e. the elected MP’s. You know how strong the influence of MB in the Egyptian society, a recent poll that took place on Al-Jazeera website regarding the election showed that Essam El-Erayan, the MB member winning the votes with 46% against Hosny Mubarak and Ayman Nour (of course it’s not an accurate poll since the poll wasn’t strictly for Egyptians and the fact that Al-Jazeera is MB simpatico but still it’s an indicator). Now, imagine if someone like Essam El-Eryan became a President through the independent status, we will be subjected to the entire MB agenda... meaning the MB will become a legitimate political party (And don’t tell me that the democracy will stop them from doing so, as they will push it with their blood if they had to). You might argue that if the Egyptians chose the Muslim Brotherhood to be in power than this is democracy at work, and we should oblige to the majority choice.. I agree but this is democracy only if the other political parties involved given the same space and promotion. The Muslim Brotherhood might be banned, but they have an open-ended publicity space. Since they nested in many of the mosques through Egypt (especially in Upper Egypt) and also in many Student Unions in different Universities, they become the most active political movement in Egypt. Even if they use underground methods they are still effective and they have our stupid Egyptian government to thank for chaining other political parties, while they are untouchable under the label of Islam and through the mosques microphone. Gradually they are monopolizing Islam... the average Egyptian is sort of religious by nature and will sway towrds the directions of the religous slogans especailly during hard time such as these (economic depression, poverty etc) and even if he/she disapproves with the ideology of the MB, he/she will be afraid to show it up in open, fearing the fact that he/she might be labeled an apostate... since it’s becoming the mainstream source of Islamic ideology. The stubbornness of the MB in discussions, and their my-way-or-the-highway attitude will dismay people from opening a direct dialogue with them. Their slogan “Islam is the solution”, as the sandmonkey once put it in one of his posts “How can you argue with that?”, as a Muslim I can’t refute it because Islam is my spiritual solution but for others it’s not, so they are putting a block on discussions from the beginning.
Secondly, I’m very skeptic about the Muslims brotherhood intentions. Are they really planning for the future of the Egyptians or for their own welfare… i.e. rising to power with the main positions held exclusively for their frat members? Their history proves the latter... since their beginnings and after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they approached and befriended King Farouk… they wanted him to become a Caliph and establish caliphate which starts with the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan and then spreads through the Arab/Islamic world and they will become his advisors. The idea of Caliph became trendy with the young King, he even grew a beard and attended few of their conferences but soon he lost interest since the idea doesn’t meet with his lavish wild lifestyle. So, they turned against him by amplifying his lifestyle and made it public to the Egyptian through brochures. while spreading few rumors on the way. All of these lead to the death of Hassan El-Banna (founder) on the hands of the secret police. They found new alliance in Gamal Abdel Nasser and the other officers gang (consisting of Marxists/Socialists I remind you) and they helped them to stage the 1952 revolution. But soon enough the Nasserites noticed their ambitious goals and they cracked down on them to monopolize the power for themselves. So, the MB didn’t stand still and their history of violence started... which drove them into prisons, executions and to torture in the ugliest way possible during the Nasser era. And these events opened the doors to people like Sayed Qutb to use his suffering in developing a new form of fanatics that created the likes of Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Back in the 70’s they formed an alliance with their sworn enemies the Communists (a7a) against Sadat in attempts to have a place in the government... Sadat was a dictator but he was the man who gave them their freedom. Nevertheless, nowadays in their non-violent stance they still trying form unreasonable pacts, most recently when they offered a deal with Mubarak to give him their full-support in exchange of being recognized as an official political party… backstabbing all the striving opposition. But Mubarak refused and hence the their uproar and extensive demonstrations. You see their queer alliance with Communists, Marxists and Monarchists... but never once they wanted to make an alliance with any Coptic powers, which gives you a glimpse of what will be the status of the Coptic minority in their leadership, they will either be prosecuted or neglected for good.
Don’t be offended, ranting about democracy and freedom costs nothing... but in reality things differ. If you give freedom to people who will not cherish it and will misuse it to deny it from the others, it will lead to a catastrophe that we may never recover from as a nation. You are obviously a follower of the Egyptian political scene, you might notice the topics risen by the brotherhood MP’s during parliamentary sessions, topic like a law for filtering the internet, strict censorship on movies and musical video clips, whining about Ruby seductive dance routines, banning a school for Ballet dancing sponsored by the Ministry of Culture etc. Do you really wanna these kinda guys on the loose and not restricted?
Nevertheless, I sympathize with them as they suffered a lot, no one deserves this kind of Nazi treatment. And I don’t deny them the right for starting talks and discussions although it’s difficult but I still believe it the best way to handle them. Where you may refute their arguments and listen to them... I admit sometimes I like to listen to very few things that they say and I just throw the rest away.
Regarding Kefaya, I’m very supportive of them although I was against their boycott decision. I believe that they made an excellent effort, but their sole goal was to oust Mubarak (which is a very noble goal but not enough as Mohamed said before) without giving an alternative or having an agenda! Now, it’s critical for their survival to have a socio-economic plan and turn their rebellious experience into a support for a specific candidate (e.g. Ayman Nour or Mohie El din etc) without fearing to risk alienating others with different political directions. I think this is a sane solution instead of boycotting the referendum and the elections. I know it’s not a point of comparison but it’s similar to what the move on PAC doing, they raised the slogan “anyone but Bush” during the American elections, but now they are supporting certain progressive candidates!
Sorry for the long and boring reply!