We are worried that political Islamist forces believe democracy — which they boast about practicing — to be a battle of numbers whereby greater numbers trump courage, wisdom, the principles of democracy themselves, and even protecting public interests. Everything is always resolved through larger numbers. The least that can be said about this reasoning is that it is deficient and superficial, if not deliberately flawed for calculated reasons. But this is not an unusual misnomer because there is no such concept as democracy, let alone the practice of it, in entities based on blind obedience and loyalty, especially military and restricted religious groups. Therefore, religious and military organisations are both the enemies of democracy and the antithesis of a democratic civil state.
It is thus not unusual that political Islamist forces tried to monopolise all positions of power — parliament, cabinet, Constituent Assembly and even the presidency. It seems that political Islam imagined the mandate the people gave it by electing its members to parliament — itself a temporary mandate and contingent on how well they perform and shoulder the responsibility — as an absolute and eternal mandate. In fact, political Islam eliminated the people from the political scene, which is the farthest from the reality, and an extreme violation of, the spirit of their mandate.
On economics, political Islam that is currently dominating Egypt has yet to seriously assess the model of political economy of the ousted authoritarian regime, which created outrageous injustices and paved the way for the great revolution of the people against them. Neither did they propose a better alternative. We are worried that the rule of political Islam in Egypt will replicate the same pattern of non-productive trade that is dependent and based on monopoly, and thus the same injustice with different faces will continue while monopoly and its corrupt byproducts remain in place and recreate the same injustices.
Espousing social justice — one of the demands of the revolution — requires a revision of public ownership, not continuing private capital infrastructure projects. We should not forget that the majority of projects by “the gang” and business community in this sector were based on importing and selling for profit, not production that creates decent jobs.
In foreign policy, political Islam has not made any real changes in the ousted regime’s policies. In fact, in order to maintain their grip on power, they declared their willingness to surrender to foreign hegemony by repeatedly reassuring Israel through the US administration. During their last visit to Washington, the Muslim Brotherhood delegation pledged not to put the Camp David Treaty to a public referendum. This preemptively blocks the right of the people to express their opinion on the issue, and is a reversal of what the Brotherhood leadership declared earlier, when it was necessary to pander to the revolution and protests by criticising the tyrannical ousted regime.
Egypt was mismanaged after the first wave of the great people’s revolution overthrew the ousted despot. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) indirectly partnered with political Islamist forces that were empowered by the former vice president and then SCAF. During the interim period, SCAF and its partners used the same mechanisms and devices as the authoritarian rule which triggered the great revolution. The revolution has so far only succeeded in removing the head of authoritarian rule while the mechanisms of oppression and injustice remain intact.
During the interim phase, there was a frightful state of confusion and turmoil as the mistakes accumulated. Some of them were no doubt deliberate with the aim of allowing political Islamist forces to reach power as soon as possible while protecting the interests of SCAF, irrespective of the damage. This chaotic state continued to spiral as time went by and hindered the transition to proper democratic rule. The crisis intensified in the form of the crisis over the Constituent Assembly and problems of the presidential race, which could block transitioning to proper democratic rule and wreak havoc and destruction in the country.
One central stumbling block is that the people’s attempt to end the reign of a despotic deceitful political party could result in ushering in another authoritarian party, one inclined to repeat the model of the hateful ousted party but this time clothed in the good banner of Islam, although Islam is innocent of authoritarianism and deceitfulness. It is obvious that political Islamist forces deal with religion as a platform for worldly gains and not a means to worship the One Almighty and be rewarded with the blessings of the Hereafter.
In all honesty, many have contributed to this tragic conclusion of the first wave of the great revolution of the people of Egypt, the Jasmine Revolution. These include SCAF, which took charge of a very unstable and troubled interim phase with great obstinacy, arrogance and overconfidence despite a series of serious mistakes. Its partners in crime are also the prime ministers of consecutive governments, the constitutional amendments committee it handpicked, its advisers, counselors, basic aides, and factions of political Islam — especially those who claim to be revolutionary — and hypocritical media personalities.
So, is Egypt eternally doomed to domination by unjust and deceitful parties? Of course not. Their deceitful guile will be their undoing and the revolution of the people of Egypt will be victorious in the end, even if this great people pay a high price. The revolution must continue until it achieves its goal; and it will no doubt continue.
The proof is that the tangible reasons that triggered the first wave of the people’s revolution in January 2011 — namely oppression, poverty, corruption and social injustice that led to defiling human dignity — are worse today than in the final days of the ousted ruling party. This has resulted in escalating popular protests in many forms today, which reminds us of the final months of the ousted tyrant. They could be quickened by the mayhem surrounding the presidential race and its non-stop surprises, especially if it results in havoc that prevents the transition to proper democratic rule.
If they have succeeded in thwarting the people’s revolution by aborting its first wave, they have also succeeded in inciting people to launch subsequent waves of popular revolt that will not allow the hoodlums of authoritarian rule to launch a counter-revolution.
Perhaps the day will come when we will thank those who helped abort the first phase of the great people’s revolution, for triggering the continuation of the people’s revolution and causing consecutive waves of revolt, because of their mismanagement of the interim phase and attempts to abort the first wave.