Been there, done that…

When will it ever end hey? Are we (the Arabo-Muslim nation, if I may still call it so) doomed to military coups and pseudo ‘popular democratic republics’ forever? Why? What is wrong with us? When will we learn that power and social control can be safeguarded more effectively by CCTV cameras, sophisticated computers and DNA chips without the need for heavy military artillery and moronic narratives of terrorism and ‘foreign conspiracy’ theories?

I do not consider myself a democrat because I have become disillusioned by the horrible acts of self-claimed democrats, I have no particular sympathy with Islamists because I consider that they have part of the responsibility of what happened in Algeria during the 90s. In fact, I have become what might best be described as ‘politically confused’ and worst be described as ‘politically cynical’. But, what is happening in Egypt stirs uncomfortable memories.

I cannot help but think at times that Algeria has become a ‘model’ for Arab dictatorships, the scenario staged by the Egyptian military feels like a cut-and-paste of the Algerian one, deployed by the Algerian army during the 90s. A bad reproduction but still, all the elements are there. Same arguments, same tactics, the only innovation being the tacky and silly photographic and video ‘proofs’ thrown in for good measure. Stupid use of ‘new technologies’ oblige as say the French. The only ‘good’ thing that could be claimed for our scenario is that it was at pace with the time, it was executed well and with competence, no matter how horrible it was. The guys in Egypt are making a mess of it all. I mean since the ‘Arab spring’ started, I have become more and more astonished day after day by the horrid psychopathic mentality and predisposition of Arab ruling elites towards their people. But what is now happening in Egypt shows how sheer incompetence and out-toucheness with the times further worsens the situation. I mean these guys in the military and police, in the Ministry of Interior, Egyptian ‘official media’, Egyptian diplomats, so-called intellectuals are completely out of touch with reality and the present time. They seem like they are living in a parallel universe.

I genuinely ask myself this question: “Do Egyptian people really believe what they hear on state media?“. I have asked myself this question before during the World Cup football incident. It seems a lot of them do believe the rubbish they get served by these ‘elites’. If only it was logical, but it isn’t. They have no excuse in my humble opinion. I accept that Morsi didn’t exactly shine during the 2 or 3 years he was president, but the responsibility wasn’t his, or his party’s alone. From the onset, there were many factions of Egyptian society and military who opposed any Islamist form of political activity. There is a long history of animosity against Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, because the Salafist are actually quite liked by Arab regimes.

Egyptian democracy is at stake. It is not about Morsi, or the Muslim Brotherhood, or Islam or religion. It really is about reforming the mechanisms of political life and doing away with the military intrusion in politics. If Egyptian people are prepared to pay the price for freedom, and resist for however long it will take, I think that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is still a chance for Egypt to regain its position as an Arab leader and shine by example.

But will they? As the ‘Big Brother’ slogan goes on eviction nights: Who goes? YOU decide….

27 thoughts on “Been there, done that…

  1. The problem with Morsi, was that he usurped power and by decree,put himself above the law. He also restricted free speech and the right of minorities and non-Muslims. His inept government also managed to run the economy into the ground. But the economy aside, the Egyptian people did not sign-on for that abuse of power. When they took to the streets in June, the chant was, “Bread, freedom and social justice.”

    • I am sorry that is not entirely correct. The presidential power was time sensitive and limited. Moreover, it was a reaction against the Judiciary (which unless we forget dissolved a duly and fairly elected parliament), which was/is fully composed of judges nominated by Mubarak & whose allegiance was/is to Mubarak & his clan.

      And even if we take your argument as given, does that justify and legitimize the coup? No, it doesn’t at all.

      So, please let us not justify the unjustifiable and legitimize the illegitimate. Just say “i want the military to takeover because of my deep antipathy for the MB.” At least i respect and understand that argument since it doesn’t constitute an assault on my intelligence.

      • Nothing justifies violence !
        Egyptian army forcefully ousted elected Morsi, arbitrarily arrested MB members. Everyone knows this is a coup. Just like all other trouble spots (Afghanistan, Syria, etc.) with many groups (Sunni, Shiite, Al-Queda, Christian, etc.etc.) all unable to live peacefully together, regardless which side you may want to support, the more you get involved, the worse it becomes with intensified violence/killing.
        The Islamists (MB and Others) are neither a marginal political group. They represent a large part of Egypt’s population, and are certainly the country’s best-organized political force. The attempt to repress them will most likely lead to massive violence and the strangulation of democracy, however the West and Egyptian anti-Islamists try to justify their actions.
        With tanks and blood, what do you expect other than anarchy?

        • And you forgot one thing: 100% against democratic institutions as well.

          We can’t have it both ways. You either work within democratic institutions or outside them. Can’t be in an institutional no man’s land. Democracy means institutions. Without the respect for those institutions, there is no democracy. There is only anarchy.

  2. Correction: Morsi was in power for just a year.

    Whilst I agree with the majority of your points I will say this: Now the military has *fully* taken back the reins of power, rest assured, they won’t be letting go this one little bit this time. It’s back to business as usual i.e “You are free to vote for whoever the military decide to install”. I say fully because its clear that the military never really did relenquish their power.

    Where was the military’s democracy loving conscious for the 30+ years of Mubaraks reign? Why didn’t they step in before?

    The military coup should NEVER of happend. His performance may have been below-par, but the reprecussions of the coup are going to be with Egypt for a long time to come. The military’s brutal actions and tired old ‘terrorist’ rhetoric over the past weeks have confirmed to me that they will stop at nothing to keep power. A political solution could have been found, but the military and greedy snakes (baradei ‘the noble’ etc) were too busy plotting to hear morsi’s call for dialogue.

    And what a surprise that Morsi is behind bars for murder and Muabark is a free man were it not for the current turbulent political climate.

    Mubarak or his sons Elections 2014?…

    • The MB use their religious brainwashing techniques to make people believe that if they didn’t vote for Morsi they were being sacreligious. lt’s not illegal to do that, but it really wasn’t addressing the real issues of the Egyptian people and economy and problems of everyday people.
      It was just playing with their emotions.
      Elections are supposed to be about real problems not religious problems.
      Another words…. Morsi was God’s candidate. How dare you vote against God!

      There is another vision in egypt for the military, the people called the army to get Morsi off. the army didn’t move from him self.. The vast majority of the Egyptian population supports the Army. It includes the middle class. I wander what % of Egyptians would choose go back to rule under Mubarak…

      “Morsi’s call for dialogue”! What about about the”spiritual” leader’s speeches where he clearly incited violence and murder of non-followers during the “peaceful” brotherhood demonstrations? Militants throwing children off buildings, Al Queda flags and headbands, soldiers shot in Northern Sinai.. Haven’t you seen those pro Morsi carrying weapons on the 15 May bridge shooting at civilains at their homes, if you haven’t, then you have been following Al Jazira channel only.

      For the military to release Mubarak, is the ultimate disdain for both democracy and the majority of Egyptians. They are actually attempting to provoke outrage and civil disobedience in order to give them an excuse for martial law – which I suspect will be the next move..
      Military dictatorship or radical Islamic theocracy in Egypt. Pick your poison. Arab Spring was a farce… An autocratic, kleptocratic military regime on one side and increasingly radical Islamists on the other side. killing each other off! This would seem to be a good time for the US to let the Egyptians work it out themselves. No troops, No bombc… Lets not forget the real reason that the entire middle east is so unstable!

      “Mubarak or his sons Elections 2014?” Humm, If they have one…

      • The elections were considered free and fair by just about everyone. We cannot now say that 51% of those who voted were brainwashed and duped into it. Who are we to make that judgement on those people?

        It’s a fact that the numbers thrown around for those who were protesting against Morsi are vastly exaggerated. Even so, the protests did not justify the army stepping in as assuming total control once again. A political solution could and should have been found.

        Remember the problems of the Egyptians did not start with Morsi, they are deep rooted and have been there well before he came into power. Can we expect him to sort out a country whose military control upto 30% of the economy just at the click of a finger? It takes longer than that to string a decent football team of 12 men together.

        Al-qaeda headbands, soldiers shot in sinai, yes these are unacceptable acts… but its funny how you did not mention the hundereds of unarmed civilians which have been murdered?

        Deaths, pain, misery, Instability, divisions… the military coup was not worth it.

        • I ‘m not a coup supporter. Nor am I a supporter of religious extremism in any way shape or form. That includes the Islamic, Judaic and Christian forms of extremism. In fact, I don’t support organized religion.
          I simply could not support the coup because it looked to me to be a step in a very bad direction. Not a correction. Certainly not anything that could be touted as restoring democracy. And definitely not something done for the benefit of the populace of Egypt. Just a step towards destruction & death. It’s an inevitable push towards chaos…
          Im pained to see someone killed because of his beard and the other because he is a cop !
          See my comment above : “the Egyptian people did not sign-on for that abuse of power. When they took to the streets in June, the chant was, “Bread, freedom and social justice.”
          The coup was presented as the only option. There is always more then one way. Often there are hundreds of option… But politics and The media present everything as black or white, there is this or that and nothing in between…

      • They won 5 consecutive elections. Not one, but 5. If this so-called “technique of brainwashing”(which is really ridiculous and could said about all the folks who turnout to protest Morsi on June 30th that they were brainwashed by the military), which implies that most people who voted for JFP are dumb and only the opposition is smart and clever, why did you allow them to repeat the same technique of brainwashing 5 times in 5 elections and win 5 victories? The truth is the so-called liberal democrats–and i call them illiberal-undemocrats on my blog–like democracy, but don’t practice democracy. They think that democracy is a bunch of guys seeping cold drinks and talking nonsense. They don’t like to get in the gutter, on the ground, knock on doors, and convince people.

        Democracy is hard work. You want your ideas to win, you’d better start early. Get organized, go to the folks, talk to them with respect, listen to their grievances, explain to them your platform, get them to trust you, register them, mobilize them, and get them to the polls. That’s democracy. No one is going to hand it to you. That’s what the JFP did and that’s what the opposition failed to do.

        The illiberal-undemocrats in Egypt didn’t do that because deep down they despise the little folks. This is a disease that most Arab/Muslim liberal suffer from. Just like Algerian so-called democrats who go to a small village and campaign in French. They aren’t even able to talk normally and respectfully with the folks because they think they are better than them. And when you despise people, people tend to vote the other guy.

        • Democracy remains as the rule of the people, to be all equal under law, and to ensure that power is not monopolized. When an elected president allows his supporters to be above the law and put the media production city under siege without even trying to stop them, in fact, encouraging them this is no democracy. When a president is actually ruled by his (brotherhood) leader who puppeteer him to take decisions for the welfare of his brotherhood international best interest, and not necessarily the countries best interest, this is no democracy. When a president goes above the judicial system and tries to control it by force using his supporters to put the Supreme Court under siege, this is also no democracy. When what have been said, is a sample of the dire conditions Egyptian had to live with, then the democratically elected president has lost his constitutional right to be a president. This is why more than 20 million people have gathered in the streets, not once but 3 times to say clearly that they don’t want this rule. Worth mentioning that the people in the streets exceeded those who elected the president a year before by at least 5 million. The brotherhood argues that numbers were in millions and claim that they were only thousands, the only rational thing to do is to hold another election, but the brotherhood refused clearly through the words of their spokesmen Morsi. A democratic and peaceful move from the brotherhood is to hold an early elections; this would put the generals in a real situation, if they won again. But no, they know they won’t be re-elected – they decided to say either they rule Egypt or they Kill and Terrorize Egyptians. They declared all those against their cause as infidel and it is only fair to kill them…
          They used “democracy” as a tool to gain and hold power so they can suppress others and force their vision of the world on others. The Egyptian army is also a huge “business” and power group which also is un-democratic. I get that
          Im sure that there are terrorists shooting at the cops and civilians. I m sure there are cops shooting at the terrorists and civilians. There are no good-guys in this conflict. Just two groups of bad-guys. How do you choose one over the other?

        • Yep, let’s have an election every other week. If a bunch of people are not happy with you and they gather outside and start protesting, let’s have another election.

          We have fixed terms for a reason, and Egypt has fixed presidential terms. You elect someone for a term (unless s/he has committed a constitutionally impeachable offense). Not for a half or 2 months or a year and then say, “Oh geez, i need to change this guy.”

          If we applied this standard, we would have voted out Obama in his first year. His approval rating was in the mid-30 (Moris’ approval rating–49%, check the Pew Poll–after a year was better actually than Obama’s), the Tea Party was protesting in almost every city, Congress was not working with him, unemployment was increasing, the debt was growing, GM technically closed, banks were collapsing etc. But we didn’t do that. Do you know why? Because he was elected for a 4-year term, and everyone knew that, accepted and respected that, even the opposition.

          So, it’s not because of a bunch of folks, manipulated and funded by the former Mubarak clan, decided to protest against Morsi that he had to acquiesce. Did he commit mistakes? Absolutely he did. Every president does in his first year (Reagan’s first year was horrible, full of mistakes) or even his first term. Should he have accepted anticipated or early presidential elections? Absolutely not. That would have set a precedent, a dangerous one at that, that every time someone has a headache, s/he calls for an anticipated election.

          Democracy applies also to the opposition. The opposition has to behave democratically and accept the rules of the game, and accept that it lost, and go to work so they can win the next election.

          I neither support Morsi nor do i support the MB. I have never been one of them and will never be. But the alternative is to institutional democracy is unacceptable because it spells out chaos, anarchy, and mayhem.

          Ask the folks of Latin America, a bunch of them supported the coups in Chili, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, etc. When Pinochet ousted the elected president Allende he said, “The armed forces of Chile have acted today solely from the patriotic inspiration of saving the country from tremendous chaos into which it was being plunged by the Marxist government of Salvador Allende,” Switch Marxists to Islamists, and Allende to Morsi, and you have almost the same situation. He too killed a bunch of Marxists and socialists. So did the generals in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Uruguay etc. Most of those generals ruled for decades. Did they solve anything? No. Latin America is still a basket case. They just left scores of dead bodies behind them. And 3 of decades later, almost every country in Latin America is ruled by a socialist party.

          Anyways, I see we are just preaching to the choir here. So, I am going to end it here.

        • Do you think i would hide it if i were a supporter of the MB? Why would i do that? It’s neither illegal nor shameful to be a member of the MB.

          It’s not because we call ourselves a democrat that we are one.

        • Ok, i’m sorry. I am a fault here. I was operating under the impression that we are adults and we are having a serious conversation. But i see i made a mistake and i apologize.

          The little smiley faces and quoting what i wrote back to me–if as i didn’t know what i said–is clearly a behavior of teenagers.

          So again i apologize. Have fun with your computer & knock yourself out.

      • It is a tough choice, this is true. When the situation degenerates and violence prevails, it is hard to take sides. My only concern now is that this seems to be a self-repeating scenario in all Arab countries and nobody seems to be learning from past mistakes. This is depressing, but on the other hand, as another commentator here said, freedom and justice aren’t handed out with a smile, one has to pay the price for them and snatch them. It is a long winding path and lives will be sacrificed. It all depends on the will of the people. But noone can blame those who prefer stability in oppression to chaos and anarchy in freedom.

        In Egypt the situation didn’t warrant at all the military coup. The MB were being reasonable. It is not like other islamist groups who made it clear that democracy is unislamic. What other options were there when the entire system was corrupt and anti-MB right from the creation of the brotherhood?

        Political repression never works in the long run. You are only buying time but the end result will be violence. And if you’re lucky, it won’t last long and will produce profound reforms in the political regime, if and only if the objectives are clear. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and the chances are, the violence will continue and it will lead to nowhere.

        • The French Revolution of 1789 was followed by revolutions in 1830, 1848 and 1871. The Russian Revolution was followed by the Bolshevik Revolution The Chinese Revolution was followed by 38 years of chaos, civil war, Japanese invasion and warlord rule until the 1949 Chinese Revolution brought the Communists to power.

          The military coup would not have been possible without the millions of ordinary Egyptians protesting on the streets.
          Democracy is more than winning elections. One must also govern democratically, and that means not just making the country in one’s own image. And that is the mistake the Brotherhood made, despite promised moderate governing.
          They should have decried Morsi’s move to dissolve the assembly and to ram through his own version of Egypt’s new constitution. You don’t have to be an expert on Democracy to know that nation’s constitution cannot be constructed by the executive branch. It has to be done by a legislature, and Morsi’s call to dissolve the legislature was his undoing.
          The army’s behaviour has been disgusting and utterly unjustified and the MB is so far from non-violent
          Egyptians are being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils when both evils are trying to prove that it is the greater one. No! they don’t have to choose at all.
          I really don’t feel too much sympathy for the MB Leaders but this coup is not just aimed at them.
          Egyptians have to reject this binary narrative that says they have to choose between the Brotherhood or the military. The military are not the allies of the revolution or of secularism.
          There is a third way, the path of the January revolution. The path of a genuinely democratic and inclusive constitution, human rights and social justice. But to achieve that the revoluition has to reject this opportunistic support for the reactionary military regime which intends to implement a counter revolution and which will not stop with the crushing of the Brotherhood.

  3. I really don’t think the MB are that evil. Whoever is familiar with the loopy Egyptian ‘state’ propaganda won’t be fooled by the footage of ‘terrorists’ killing people and throwing tjem off buildings. Unless your definition of an islamist/ terrorist is anything on 2 legs with a beard. Most people have become aware of these tricks, performed by government agents to dehumanize unwelcome political opponents.

    As long as the military interfere and power is gained and maintained by force alone things won’t improve. There’s got to be another way. I have never heard fifth of the atrocities the MB are being accused of addressed at Mubarak and co. This alone should ring alarm bells at the credibility of the ‘official’ narrative spewed by the Egyptian state.

  4. I don’t know what to think about this madness. I’m always striken to discover how easy it is for people to take a stand. I mean, of course this is a coup, and obviously, the muslim brotherhood were sort of demonized by the media. They certainly aren’t solely responsible for the loss of precious human lives. And under no circumstances that dreadful police answer is excusable. But at the same time, it would be idiotic to believe that the army, somehow, pushed in the streets hundreds of thousands of people to protest against Morsi’s government a few months ago. Or deny Morsi’s unpopularity and remarkable lack of leadership. And quite frankly, i don’t care about the factual events, the news accuracy, the american manipulation, the game, the truth seeking. This is all bullshit. And it makes me weary.

    At the end of the day, innocent people got killed, again. Another arabic/arfican coutry finds itself doomed, again. It’s like we’re cursed. Or maybe just too arrogant to consider the possibility of learning from our mistakes

  5. Thank you El7arrag.
    I could not resist bringing this excerpt from the book “Playing the Enemy” by John Carling page 15-16. I put ellipsis and [ ] to make the text apply to the case.
    ‘’He was president now. …But the job was not done. [He] had to secure the foundations of the new democracy, he had to make it resistant to the dangerous forces that still lurked. History showed that a revolution as complete as [ this one], in which power switches overnight to a historically rival group, leads to a counterrevolution… The way to do that was to bend the … population to his will… to win their hearts. That was why he had been working strenuously to persuade his own … supporters to abandon the entirely justified… ’’.

    Obviously he did the opposit. He was rather arrogant. Islamic parties still did not learn the point (FIS, MB) that politics is basically a game of seduction and for the time being, it is the enemy (army?) that must have been seduced.

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