Commentary: A future for the Brotherhood?

After its disastrous year in power in Egypt, what could the future hold for the Muslim Brotherhood – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Mohamed Hussein Abul-Ela, Sept 4, 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood regime has gone and has vanished from the political arena, and it has now become just a tragic national memory in the collective subconscious. The slogans intending to profit from religion have disappeared, and reality has manifested itself in all its ugliness, as telling lies was used in place of honesty. 

The Brotherhood failed to maintain itself in power or to defend its legitimacy and legality. It managed to mobilise the feelings of resentment of the Egyptian masses against it, stunning the world with its model of strategic failure.

The Egyptian masses had been waiting for a creative political project from the Brotherhood that would be based on social justice, patriotism, historical awareness, objective thinking and the religious feeling that motivates innate talents towards progress. But instead the Brotherhood resorted to fortifying itself with rhetoric, falsehoods and misinformation in complete disregard of Egyptians’ intelligence.

It brought down the reputation of an ancient state that had hoped to achieve a new era of history that was not even bleaker than the past after decades of roadblocks. It lacked a strategic vision, inspired by the principles of intelligence and knowledge of contemporary science, that would be supported by intellectual guardianship and a sober character that would not burden national interests with economic, political or cultural actions that blur historical identity and destroy principles deeply rooted in the enlightened dimensions of the culture. Instead, the Brotherhood’s attempts to maintain itself in power amid waves of popular rejection were based only on legitimacy as a political instrument guaranteeing continued power, despite the fact that legitimacy has different meanings and also means achievement, effectiveness, a confirmed presence and historical role, and saving the homeland from the pitfalls and dilemmas that surround it.

It means dealing with these dilemmas using the logic of responsibility, and not the techniques that come from a religious priesthood and the adoption of superstition, making a terrible confusion between the unknown and the known. The Brotherhood spent many years seeking to acquire the reins of power and then wasted them in an instant. The blows of history do not change, and they harm those who have failed to learn from history’s lessons and from the given set of circumstances, not caring to attend to human values and considered political constitutions and instead indulging the desire for power and becoming the slaves of money and prestige

What was the meaning of patriotism inside the Brotherhood’s distorted mindset, aside from to terrorise and to burn Egypt? In what direction will the leadership of the Brotherhood now turn its attention, and what will be the Brotherhood’s project for the future? Will it be a corrective and reconciliatory one, or it will the organisation instead seek external support to strengthen its internal position? Has it recognised the meaning of its one year in power, or does it need decades to understand it? And how could a group that did not do anything to solve the country’s institutional and structural problems boast of its own material power and ideological structure and announce its blatant defiance of the state, the people and the army?

Such questions raise the issue of whether there can be national reconciliation while the group is classified as a terrorist organisation, as has been confirmed by WikiLeaks documents. It also raises the question of whether such a group can be trusted to protect Egypt’s national security, when it allowed itself to be used as a mechanism to execute Western projects in the region that aim to undermine it. Why, we may ask, did the United States not choose its allies more carefully in Egypt, especially after the awakening of Arab and Egyptian consciousness after the Arab Spring? The question of whether the Brotherhood can now be reintegrated into the national fabric after what its time in power and its own documents have shown about its plans for the future is still unanswered. Could, above all, a political faction return to power after the mistakes that it made while it held office?

Perhaps the truest words in describing the Brotherhood and the other religious factions in the region were spoken by the Arab poet Adonis when he said that religion is a form of political energy which, when combined with the energy of money, turns religious faith into political capital, both materially and spiritually. Believing in a united entity that makes no distinction between the state and religion necessarily involves a belief that violence is a part of thought and action and that violence has a sort of holiness about it … //

… (full text).

(The writer is a political commentator).


The costs of security, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Ahmed Kotb, Sept 4, 2013: The curfew imposed in parts of the country by the security forces has led to widespread commercial losses;

Africa’s forgotten unity? on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Gamal Nkrumah, Sept 4, 2013: The African Union has made strong pronouncements regarding Egypt, but in the wake of the visit of an African delegation to the country it is essential that both sides act responsibly;

One more blow? on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Mona El-Fiqi, Sept 4, 2013: What are the prospects for foreign direct investment in Egypt;

While Syria Descends Into Suicide, Israel And The Us Are Enjoying The Spectacle, on ZNet (first on Ceasefire), by Noam Chomsky and Frank Barat, September 08, 2013;

Interview Live from Cairo: Hannah Elsisi on the Egyptian crisis, on Ceasefire, by Hesham Zakai, August 15, 2013;

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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