Saturday, October 26, 2013

Why Ikhwan Protests Won’t Work

The building guard explained to me how one of the protesters pointed a gun at him and shot at the building. The building’s glass door had been shattered with rocks. I didn’t believe the guard when he told me they had shot at them, but he told me that the holes the bullets left were still there. I asked him to show me, and he did.

Alleged bullet hole

On 6 October 2013, I saw a small part of the clashes between residents of the Dokki area and pro MB protesters. There was a lot of anger, but that anger was not just directed at security forces, it was directed at the entire country, with all that it entails. The Muslim Brotherhood supporters were angry at streets. They destroyed the advertisements and statues in their anger. They pelted rocks at residents of the area and they destroyed private property. 

There are many reasons why the Muslim Brotherhood won’t win back the people and they sprouts from one cause. They care little for anything beyond their own group. Their ultimate goal is not to establish a democratic form of rule but to restore their own flavor of oppression. They accept that people will be oppressed anyway, so why not through the autocratic decisions of the General Guide? 

The other point they’ve managed to emphasize is that they do not respect citizens. They have opened fire on Egyptians in their neighborhoods and needlessly destroyed their property. 

In a famous tale about Solomon, two women were arguing over whose son a new born baby was. In order to settle the dispute, Solomon asked the baby be cut in half and each half be given to the women. One woman agreed and the other would not allow her baby to die. The MB are acting like the woman who wanted to cut the baby in half. 

The MB’s strategies and ideas have all been targeting the economy. However, people will not choose to go back to their oppressive rule through coercion. They continue to represent oppression. Apart from incitement against Christians and opening fire at citizens, their peaceful ideas were along the lines of on riding the metro all day to cause congestion and stalling their cars on the road.

That’s not to say that supporting the army irrespective of how they act is the support of democracy. You can be against the military takeover and not be a Brotherhood supporter, but in this case you would never use the Rabaa symbol.

The new faces of the regime understand that there's been a shift in public behavior, they'll try to account for that in their decisions. The true danger now is that the military players are better at shifting public position rather than what they’ve done in the past which is disregard it.

The MB are paying the price for supporting the military ever since 2011. To some it looked as if they were placating the military in order to oppose them, but they were placating the revolutionaries to quell revolutionary fervor. The single most damaging move against the revolution was siding with SCAF and MB were the stars of that movement. They never represented the revolution. SCAF would have conceded many things if they found no political cover, but Islamists were happy to give them that.

In 2013 the military intervened on behalf of itself not the people. Their other option was siding with tyrannical MB, which would have been a losing gamble since the street had turned against the MB enough to compromise security control over Egypt had they sided with them.

In the revolutionary camp, many had warned the MB numerous times that SCAF would turn on them, but they thought they knew better. They always thought they knew better. MB were strongly persuaded to side with people not the men with guns, but they chose to make their pacts with the institutions that had all the guns. (That same warning applies to figures cozy with the military)

Today, after they were removed from power, the MB’s obstinacy continues to push a narrative that is implausible and unacceptable is hardening people's hearts against them. MB supporters seem to have strict instructions: It's about the coup, it's not about our crimes...keep pushing that rhetoric.

The nail in their coffin however can well be the revolutionary forces that they’ve come to alienate, not only during their rule but the ones that have sided with their rights as humans following Morsi’s removal. There are many who have been openly critical of the police for the brutal dispersal of Rabaa. They are met with an onslaught of attacks for not siding enough with the Muslim Brotherhood. One such example is Khaled Dawoud, the spokesman of the National Salvation Front (NSF) who was later stabbed by ‘anti-coup’ protesters. 

All the Brotherhood had to do is offer the one thing that can possibly placate these forces, the truth in the form of an honest apology. Yet the Muslim Brotherhood stubbornly clings to illogical arguments and evasions. 

The targeting of those siding with MB’s rights as not being enough is alienating and through continuous obstinacy the MB is ridding itself from shackles of empathy or sympathy that may have played out in their favor on the long run.

In the end, Egypt doesn’t win. The continued stand-off between two oppressive forces may weaken real civil opposition. According to Farag Fouda, in the absence of that, the Islamists and the military will continue to toy with Egyptians till that changes. 

The answer does not lie in a brutal crackdown. Cracking down on MB while welcomed by the masses, is not a sign that the regime has changed to the better.

No comments: