I divided this week report into two parts; here is part one, while part two will be released late Sunday with special coverage of events of June30 in Egypt
- Al-Sisi’s remarks reverberate in opposition, and Brotherhood
- Abu Ismail: Defense Minister ‘needs to be deterred’
- Egypt negotiating $500m loan with Saudi Arabia
- Azhar, and U.S. join condemnation over Shia murders
- 90% of armed forces urge defence minister to protect nation
- Egypt president convenes National Security Council
- Interior Ministry official says court ruling in prison case absolves policemen
- Shias threaten to “internationalize” Giza murder case
- Authorities arrest eight after Shi’a lynching incident
- Islamist groups reveal plans to form vigilante groups for June30
- Salafist Nour Party to refrain from taking part in 28, 30 June rallies
- Brotherhood asked ex-spy chief Suleiman to run for Egypt presidency
- Fuel shortages strike Egypt again ahead of protests
- Court obliges Mursi to disclose investigations in Rafah killing
- Morsi addresses nation, accuses former regime of destabilizing Egypt
- In Tahrir Square protesters divided on army intervention
- Military beefs up security ahead of protests
- 2 killed, over 200 injured as Morsi supporters, and opponents clashed north of Cairo
- Elections commission postpones Shafiq’s challenge
- Cabinet calls for calm on fuel crisis
- Muslim Brotherhood mufti trapped in a mosque
- NSF rejects Morsi’s speech, presses demand for snap elections
- Morsi military trials claims are false: Right groups
- Anger at Egypt’s leaders intensifies in gas lines
- Anti-U.S. anger anger rises in Egypt
- Egyptian police divided in run-up to 30 June anti-Morsi rallies
- Cairo’s Nasr City to host pro-Morsi rally on Friday
- Battle intensifies between Egypt and broadcasters
- Human Rights Watch accused ruling Muslim Brotherhood of inciting hate
- Top prosecutor reminds citizens of their right to arrest “vandals”
- Shia leader arrested in Giza for possessing arms
- Thousands rally against Morsy in Tahrir
- Hundreds of thousands attend pro-Morsi rally
- U.S. citizen stabbed to death in Alexandria
- Muslim Brotherhood, and FJP offices attacked throughout Egypt
- Egypt clerics warn of “civil war” as rallies begin
- ONTV channel among TV channels to receive ‘warning of closure”
- ElBaradei condemns all forms of violence
A Few Thoughts
A Tale of Two Egypts
The split TV screens showing images of both pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi rallies have exposed the deep divide in Egypt; a country that is bruised and struggling to move forward following decades of oppression under Mubarak. To explain what is going on, let’s go through some basic facts:
1) Mubarak’s legacy (as Amr Hamzawy once said) is of a strong regime and a weak state. The Muslim Brotherhood exploited this weakness to expand its network around the country, but did this while staying well underground and hiding the details of its ideology from the rest of Egypt. Other Islamists followed suit. A slow wave of Islamization unfurled while non-Islamists were detached and disconnected from what was happening in rural areas and many deprived suburbs of Egypt’s major cities. The result was a fractured society with many disconnected sub-societies, each living in their own bubble.
2) It is fair to say that Islamists had a clearer vision and opinion about what a wider Egyptian society should look like than non-Islamists. Non-Islamists were instead more focused on their own mini-circles and never articulated what they are against. Islamists always considered other Egyptians as “imperfect Muslims,” brain washed by the regime’s “secular propaganda.” In contrast, while many ordinary Egyptians viewed Islamists with suspicion, they also had sympathy, mainly because they were oppressed and intimidated by Mubarak’s regime.
3) The bubble finally burst in January 2011. Gradually all parties started to come together in a lose unity against Mubarak. This unity was short lived, as different visions collided in the early post-revolution phase. In this early period both sides disagreed on whether a constitution or an election should come first. Again, it is fair to say, the Islamists were more focused and knew what they wanted than the other parties. Non-Islamists were euphoric, yet for the most part, confused about what to do next.
4) Although the Muslim Brotherhood won a majority in the parliamentary election, it was the first phase of the presidential election that finally exposed the extent of their core supporters within society, roughly 25%. Morsi ‘s victory in the second phase was in a way, a reflection on how many Egyptians were still not fully aware of the potentials risks of the Muslim brotherhood’s ideology on the wider society.
5) Morsi’s one year in power has finally helped Egyptians to fully discover and understand what is Islamism, and what exactly the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties stand for. It was a painful eye-opening experience that enforced fault lines between what is Egyptian and what is Islamist. The result was reflected in two campaigns, one anti–Morsi Tamarod and the other pro-Morsi Tagarod. Each represents a different vision, not just in what democracy and legitimacy should be, but a wider vision of what Egypt should be as a state and as identity. Unlike Mubarak, Morsi ‘s legacy was a weak regime and a weak and divided state.
I am a big believer in destiny; things happen for a reason, history evolves in a certain logical way. Morsi’s behavior throughout last year is a reflection of the ideology of his group more than his flaws as a leader. Those Egyptians who were cool, balanced, and politically correct, and expected compromise from Morsi, have failed to grasp this simple fact. The Muslim brotherhood cannot compromise. This is not available in their program. How can they compromise with the other Egypt that they despise and want to abolish?
What we witnessed on Friday June 28 were the final preparations for a final showdown between two different forces fighting for the soul of a nation. The contemporary history of Egypt as a state, and the history of the Muslim Brotherhood as a group, indicate that this collision was inevitable. The question is not if it will happen, but simply when. Morsi’s victory was essential for this collision to happen, and is paramount for the evolution of Egypt as a society. I humbly disagree with Michele Dunne, the conflict in Egypt is mainly a binary struggle, the old state is the only the exploiter, but not the main player. Old regime would not be able to exploit if the gap between other two was not that wide.
Will the country now move towards being a modern, tolerant, multicultural society or a tyrannical Islamist society with an Egyptian flavour?
It is too early to predict what will happen in the next few days, however if the Muslim Brotherhood prevail, they will win the battle, but lose the wider support from Egyptians that once helped them to survive as an oppressed underground group. They will also inherit a “black cake” full of mud and blood that may poison their lives for years to come.
- Egypt’s President Morsi in power: A timeline (Part I) (Part II)
- Full text of Morsi’s speech by Egypt Source
- Once election allies, Egypt’s ‘Fairmont’ opposition turn against Morsi
- Sinai’s tribes reject Morsi’s call to surrender weapons.
- ‘You can’t eat Sharia’ Mohamed El-Baradei
- Will June30 be midnight for Morsi’s Cinderella story? Nathan Brown
Finally, here are Jayson Casper prayers for Egypt.