‘Aak – عك’ is an Egyptian term that has always been used to describe a very messy situation when things become detangled and going the wrong way. I think it is the best way to describe Egypt’s current political scene. As the mess is Egyptian, let’s give it an Egyptian term: Aak.
Although the over-heated political scene seems to be cooling down following the approval of Egypt’s mediocre constitution, I doubt this calm will last for long. Confusion, fogginess and political stubbornness are the current themes; political parties are simply not talking to each other and did not yet reach an agreement on election law. This is in addition to the ongoing economic crisis that could easily inflame an already tense environment.
If 2011 was the year of the revolt—when Egyptians, regardless of their political affiliations, forced Mubarak to leave and fought against the Supreme Military Council that ruled Egypt afterward—then 2012 was the year of exposing many myths: the emerging power of Salafis, the Brotherhood majoritarian claim that was slowly eroded by the end of the yea, and the opposition division with its limited popularity. 2013 will likely be the year of confronting realities: the role of religion, the disfranchised rural regions and how the economy would be best managed.
It will be interesting to see if the ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood, will do some soul searching and reflection on their behavior over the last two years, or if they will continue with their dogmatic approach to politics. Their relationship with various Salafi parties will also be crucial in the next few months, particularly in the next parliamentary election. Ironically, the bad economy will help Islamists, in general, to seduce many Egyptians into voting for them (the legacy of buying votes is still alive in Egypt). The opposition must also reflect on their dismal performance and how they can bridge the gap and reach out to voters in the regions that voted against them in previous elections.
I will try to cover the most important weekly events in a diary, entitled the “Diary of Aak,” which I will publish each Sunday.
Some analysts have predicted an optimistic outlook for Egypt in 2013. I hope and pray that they are right in their predictions, and I promise to change the diary name to the “Diary of Brioche,” if they turn out to be correct. After all, that is what many ordinary Egyptians dream about: a decent piece of bread , not mixed wth tear gas or blood of victims.
Happy New Year 2013