The Muslim Brotherhood Has Killed the Egyptian Revolution

A member of the Black Bloc Egypt group walks past a burning vehicle during a protest against President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, March 3, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

By: Talal Salman Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).
اقرا المقال الأصلي باللغة العربية
It is no longer enough to say that the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience in power has failed. The troubling question now is: How, when and who can take Egypt out of this dire impasse that is threatening the state and the people’s unity and is making the era of tyranny look attractive in comparison?

This impasse is threatening the hope created by the great revolution launched by the Egyptian people on Jan. 25, 2011. It is threatening the historic achievements of the youth in the street. Those youth believed in their country. They rebelled to bring down a regime that acted meekly toward the enemy, Israel, and mercilessly toward the Egyptians. It starved them and forced them to emigrate. They left to sell their skills to whatever country allowed them to earn a living.

Egypt is drowning in anxiety and the once hopeful revolution is under threat. There is anger and resentment toward the Muslim Brotherhood government, which rose to power because the revolutionaries lacked a unified leadership. Other Arab peoples saw in the Egyptian revolution a means to return to history, after their corrupt regimes had removed their countries from history, and almost took them off the map.

In the Arab world, it has become common to hear words and expressions such as “civil war,” “major conflagration,” “sectarian strife,” “the government is teetering,” “losing control” and “using the army to preserve security.” This bitter reality is worrying the Egyptians and it is frustrating the hopes of all Arab countries because Egypt is supposed to be a beacon for the Arab world.

Arabs are frustrated to see the purity of the slogans that were raised and the distinctive courage that was exhibited by the youth in the streets go to waste. The Egyptian youth had realized that the long-awaited historic moment had finally arrived. They realized that the historic moment of seeing Cairo become the capital of the Arab world of the future, the locomotive of progress and the leader of change for the better for all Arabs had arrived.

It is no longer enough to say that the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience in power has failed. This will not solve the suffocating crisis that is currently crippling Egypt’s potential and sowing discord among a people who have remained united throughout their history and asserted that unity in the streets.
The troubling question now is: How, when and who can take Egypt out of this fateful impasse that is threatening the state and the people’s unity and is making the era of tyranny look good in comparison? The impasse is threatening Egypt’s leading role in the region, the Muslim world, and the non-aligned movement.

It is interesting that the world, the Arabs and the Egyptians are worried about Egypt’s present and future more than the Egyptian government itself. That Muslim Brotherhood government is dealing with problems in a way that may permanently damage Egypt’s institutions.

There is an obvious difference between how the Muslim Brotherhood rules Tunisia and how it rules Egypt. The Brotherhood in Tunisia have been smarter and wiser (at least up until now) than their comrades in Egypt. They tried to absorb the wave of anger against their domination.

When Chokri Belaid was assassinated, they rushed to modify the government. That may not have remedied their penchant for domination but they did give the people some room to breathe and to temporarily accept the continuation of their coalition government headed by the Brotherhood, which has failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic and social problems. Those problems will not be solved by pledges from Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi, who was outdone by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s courageous decision to resign.

We can easily conclude that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is repeating the mistakes committed by the nationalist political parties that ruled the Arab Levant: the Baath Party, the Arab nationalist movement and the leftists in general (so as not to forget the experience of South Yemen). They tried to monopolize power by questioning others’ patriotism, competence, and ability to serve their country.

The Brotherhood, which has just recently risen to power, does not seem to realize that the people have already experienced living under parties that seize power then claim a monopoly on patriotism, nationalism, progressivism and even religion in a few cases. Let us not forget Saddam Hussein, who added the phrase “God is great” in his own handwriting to the Iraqi flag at the start of his war against Iran.

Those parties acted as if they were the supreme authority in education, medicine, economics, urban planning, foreign affairs, inter-Arab relations, alliances, quarrels, popular customs, hospitality, literature, poetry, and even in writing novels (Saddam Hussein wrote a novel that he required to be taught in schools as did Gaddafi).

Perhaps the Brotherhood is thirsty for the power of which it has been deprived. The Brotherhood claims to be the most worthy of power because they are the cleanest, the purest and most religious.
Perhaps the Brotherhood felt that time was not on their side. Perhaps they thought that now was their chance to grab power or to lose the opportunity forever.

Or perhaps they reacted to the encouraging signs from the world. The world seems to have told them: You have proven that you are innocent from terrorist acts against us, so do not miss your chance to grab power now!

The Brotherhood image’s has been shaken. Strange circumstances brought them to power in Egypt. They were the only organization with a popular base spread throughout the country. Perhaps they felt that it them made them eligible to govern Egypt alone.

When they reached power they were full of confidence. Among their members are competent people and professionals in various fields. They have engineers, doctors, financial experts, businessmen and teachers. They have traveled east and west. They felt they know how the world works. They have gained the confidence of the Western decision-makers and demonstrated their competence to confront the “Iranian nuclear threat” and the “destructive Shiite threat.” And this is where their most dangerous competency has been manifested: It did not matter how their rule might serve their people. What was important was to repel the “Iranian threat” that is creeping on Arab and Muslim countries, that Iranian threat which also happens to threaten Western interests, including Israel!

So the image that they gave themselves matches exactly with what the West and America want: They are Islamists but they are not with al-Qaeda. In fact, they are its “first enemy.” They follow an Eastern religion but have Western politics. They are not extremists or hostile to the West. Therefore, their relationship with the entity that eliminated Palestine is justified because the Israelis are “religious people.” They had to present a certificate of good behavior to the world in order to obtain their approval. But what they do on the inside is not important; what is important for them is to gain Israel’s approval.

Because they follow an Eastern religion but have Western politics, they assumed they would gain the approval of the oil and gas people in the Gulf. But they found themselves forced, once again, to brandish their Islamic identity because Iranian Islam is unacceptable, the enlightened Islam is acceptable, the Salafist Islam is unacceptable, the anti-Western and anti-Israel Islam is unacceptable, and the Arab Islam that wages jihad for liberation is also unacceptable.

The only solution for Egypt right now is for the Brotherhood to allow the revolutionary forces to participate in power, and to concede certain power centers to other forces as part of a broad national coalition that includes the main forces in society. This, however, would effectively end the Brotherhood’s reign.

The Brotherhood may react to the disturbances in the country by granting certain forces symbolic presence because those forces have neither a popular base nor a platform. Their funding comes from businessmen who used to be part of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The Brotherhood regime may choose to use those forces as window dressing. But that would be the quickest way to collapse the Brotherhood’s reign. The problem is that this collapse may take Egypt down with it.
Things do not look good. The glorious revolutionaries are standing behind a sultan who does not know how to govern, even though it is not even his right to govern. So the revolutionaries may decide to bring him down, but that can only be done at a very high cost.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!
 

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