The Brothers, The Others

It is time Egyptians look into each otherss eyes

Inksight

MEHMOOD UR RASHID

The military take over in Egypt, no matter how it is explained, and in cases shamelessly defended, is a military coup. However, there are a bagful of things littered around in the aftermath of this crisis. The coup has thrown the abysmal contradictions of the international politics in focus, as also the brazenly hypocritical policies of the US and the West. It has also brought to fore the entrenched exploitative control of the Mid East by the core capitalist order of the world. It has in no less measure ripped open the essential anxieties of the Mid East – that existential tension as the dreams of Muslim-Arab and US-Israel nexus clash. It has put a question mark on the American project of “Fomenting Democracy” in the Muslim countries as part of post 9/11 foreign policy. It has unmistakably exposed the vulnerability of sponsoring “moderate Islam” to keep the peoples across Muslim countries from rising up in favour of foundational changes. In this time of crisis some also underline the failure of 'Political Islam'. ( Though the coup didn't happen because Morsi was really bad at governance, the  reflections on the crippling inadequacies of 'political Islam' are not to be brushed aside in this moment of tortuous anger.)
In the deluge of news and opinion Egypt has been analysed from all these angles. There is barely a thing unsaid. Nonetheless, not much is devoted to the future of the country that gave us the biggest democratic revolution of our times. The grueling concern for the Egyptians today can not be who is out and who has taken over; the concern that should weigh an Egyptian down must be: will Egypt remain divided between Brothers and Others. Not just Egyptians, people in the Muslim countries face this question one way or the other.
Brothers in Egypt are angry; frustrated at the violent denial of enjoying the fruits of an electoral exercise. Even the idea that change can happen through democracy comes under severe pressure of negation at this point. The examples of Hamas in Palestine (2006), and the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria (1991), are profusely quoted. (One wonders why the 1987 elections in J&K can't figure in this!) The Brotherhood's history of facing repression at the hands of Army not just haunts pro-Morsi demonstrations, it in a way seems to guide them.  The interactions with the MB activists and party officials across the Arab world one comes across in the international media brings out this facet in full glare. The New York Times report For Islamists, Dire Lessons on Politics and Power captures this fall out of the coup very vividly. There is, according to the report, a thumping assertion in the Arab world that “the age of peacefulness is over.” It quotes Essam el-Haddad, Morsi’s foreign policy adviser: “The message will resonate throughout the Muslim world loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.” Another interaction with Sheik Abu Sidra, an influential ultraconservative Islamist in Benghazi, Libya, as the NY Times report puts him, is very telling in this regard. Abu Sidra accepts that “the Brotherhood went too fast, they tried to take too much,” but understands the difficulty of convincing the Benghazi’s Islamist militias to continue putting trust in democracy. NY Times report reads: “Do you think I can sell that to the people anymore?” he asked. “I have been saying all along, ‘If you want to build Shariah law, come to elections.’ Now they will just say, ‘Look at Egypt,’ and you don’t need to say anything else.”
In this divisive atmosphere we find the people of Egypt gaped at every seam. Millions in the the Tahrir square celebrate the Morsi's ouster and another millions just across town, in Nasr City, in Rabaa al-Adawiya, mourn the same. Remember, it was just two years back that all of Egypt was asking for an end to Mubarak regime in unison. This is the tragedy that has struck Egypt, not Morsi's ouster.
If MB is defiant to restore the democratic order, first task is to walk over the distance from  Rabaa al-Adawiya to Tahrir and look into the eyes of those millions who are not conspirators doing US bidding, nonetheless  found Morsi's rule abhorring. Muslim Brotherhood can change the future of this country if they exhibit the prophetic magnanimity of embracing even the opponents to become stakeholders in the change for good. After all, with Morsi gone history has not come to an end. Not to stray anywhere else, just their own history: is this a bigger shock than losing Hasan al Banna to an assassin or witness Syed Qutb walk to gallows! If Brothers could keep their calm then, and continued working for the welfare of the Egypt, why not now.
Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University has something brilliant to offer in this time of maddening crisis; to both Brothers and Others:
“Those of you who protested against Morsi, do not allow a military coup be written in your name. It is time to go and seek the hands of those who protested for him - seek your brothers and sisters on the other side of the divide - go to their homes, go to their neighbourhoods, go to their mosques - they are your mosques, your homes, your neighbourhoods.” “Those of you who demonstrated for Morsi do not think of those who rallied against him as your enemies - they are not - just like you they are Egyptians, mostly Muslims, share your fate and dream your common dream for a free and democratic future. They were not asking for a military coup. They were exercising their democratic rights.”
Good to see a poll on MB official website – Ikhwanweb.com- seeking the opinion on whether MB should participate in the coming elections or not. Heartening, because it means that options are still open and they  put the question for all to answer, not just Brothers. More heartening that the majority, though only a small number has participated in the poll – votes in favour of participation. And when you have to participate in elections, every single vote counts, every single Egyptian matters.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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