Thursday, November 24, 2005Fear and Loathing in Egypt
In the past weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood success in the Egyptian parliamentary proved to the Egyptians and the rest of the World, that they are a massive power in the local politics scene that should be taken much more seriously. It also sparked a massive outcry from the liberals, secularists and leftists, who fear the country is turning into an Islamic Republic a la Iranian style. The MB were able to win a good portion of seats in the parliament in the first, second and third rounds of the elections and surprisingly (to me at least) their biggest wins came in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, home to a large number of minorities in Egypt including Armenians, Greeks and Italians. It's very obvious that the Egyptian government was able to strike a deal with the brotherhood.
But is it true what they say about the Muslim Brotherhood? If you are a follower of the National Newspaper, TV and other independent newspaper, you will definitely notice that there is an aggressive smearing campaign against the Brotherhood going on. One thing we need to say is that we all became Are these fear rational? Since the esblisment of the MB 80 years ago and this people were never given a legitimate form or have taken any power. So, why did we all turn into foretllers predicting the furture of Egypt in the hands of the MB. Claiming that will be the next Iran the next Taliban. Nowadays, Political Islam is a fact and it will not diminished by force or even reason, so we need to acknowledge it and deal with it rationally. Islamists comes in different shapes and colors, Islamists in Iran and Iraq are different from Egypt and different from Afghanistan... even the Brotherhood are varied in its internal ranks, ranging from rigid to moderate leaders. Placing them in the same basket with the Bin Laden's is a big mistake.
Shutting them down, neglecting and prosecuting the Botherhood is not the answer. We all know how it turned out in 50's and 60's... Arresting, torturing Sayed Qutb and finally executing him was a turning point in the history of the Islamist movements. It paved the way for the likes of Ayman El-Zawaheri and Abdallah Azam to launch their hate on the entire society civil and political.
The secret of the Brotherhood success is not in their organized ranks and strong financial support as many people claim. The main ingredient of their success was their religious speech, they have imprinted themselves in the minds of many Egyptians as the sole savior of Islam in Egypt, undermining the main Islamic authority represented by Al-Azhar. Al-Azhar was once an independent entity that could oppose governments, colonials, Sultans, Caliphs and Kings, yet never really wanted to become an official political force. For example in the early 19th century when the Al-Azhar was the main factor in opposing the French Napoleonic conquest... they could've easily taken control of the country but they left the politics of ruling to someone who could really understand it i.e Mohammed Ali Pasha. Since Al-Azhar lost its credibility after 50 years of becoming a government tool, fleeing good folks inside AL-Azhar who were feeling bitter because of the government, where do they go to? The Brotherhood, because they are standing there arms wide open with their religious slogans, it would be normal for them to join their ranks, hence making the Brotherhood stronger and more religiously affiliated.
Egyptians are stunned and drugged at the same time, 50 years of a chauvinist military rule, were successful in discrediting and sedating the civil powers. Converting other secular political parties whether liberal, leftist into puppets and weak whining groups. It is the main reason that makes Egyptians by far more inclined to discredit than have faith in each other, and anyone who comes up with an alternative political view would be easily labeled as traitor or a CIA agent.
The discredit sentiments eventually transformed into violence as we witnessed during the elections. For the good of this country we need to argue, refute with the Brotherhood, expose their real intentions but never fight them. Stupid calls from many neo-liberals to prosecute the MB and dismantle them is a recipe for a catastrophe that will sink us down into a civil war a la Algerian 90's style. I would ask the Egyptian neo-liberals to drop the American bukkake acts for just a couple of minutes and start believing in the will of the Egyptians.
I believe that transparent real democracy will expose the fascists and the corrupt . Let's hope in next few years that reforms will force itself on the political scene and thus giving a fair and equal opportunity to every political direction. The brotherhood with over 70 seats in the parliament and promises of reforms in the line of other political parties could be a strong advantage to the entire opposition but if the rumors are true about some sort of unorthodox marriage between the National democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood then we all have to secure our asses, as it will be an open season for screwing secularists & liberals and I'll start praying in Homer Simpson words "I'm not normally a religious man, but if you're up there, save me, Superman!"