Egyptian Aak: Week 26-Part A. A Tale of Two Egypts

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

Main Headlines






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.

Good report

Good Read

Finally, here are Jayson Casper prayers for Egypt.

About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
This entry was posted in Diary of Aak, Egypt and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Egyptian Aak: Week 26-Part A. A Tale of Two Egypts

  1. Great Article, insightful, your phrase ” Islamists always considered other (Egyptians) as imperfect Muslims,” i guess you meant ” considered other Muslims ” since not all Egyptians are Muslims, Am i correct ?, in the end of the article you wrote about the ” black cake “, does it have any relation to an incident with the Sweden minister of culture at Moderna Museet in Stockholm on the World Art Day on 15 April 2012 when she was accused of racism? but i might be wrong. Awaiting part 2, Best Regards.


    • nervana111 says:

      Many thanks Waheed. Great comment.
      1- You are right, my comment was mainly about the majority of Egyptian Muslims.
      2- As for the black cake, the answer is No. It is not related to Sweden minster incident. It is related to an Egyptian concept; ordinary poor Egyptians consider the presidential seat and parliament as “a cake” or the best Jobs in the country, because it offers many privalage. My point is, if the Muslim Brotherhoid win June30, it will be an ugly win; the cake will be ruined with the mud of the streets and the blood of the innocents. Make sense?


  2. nedhamson says:

    Reblogged this on Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News and commented:
    Must read to understand what is at stake


  3. Pingback: Split into two – Discovering MENA and other thoughts

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