Egypt: Morsi, SCAF and the revolutionary left

Hossam el-Hamalawy writes: As soon as the news broke last Sunday that Mohamed Morsi was officially declared Egypt’s first elected civilian president, I could hear loud happy chants and cheers in my street. The janitors in my neighborhood gathered around the corner in their galabiyas, jumping up and down, in the same fashion I usually see them when the Egyptian national football team scores a goal in some match. Their children, in bare feet, were running up and down the street, chasing posh cars that passed by, chanting “Morsi! Morsi!”. While, fellow citizens in “working class districts in Cairo celebrate[d]… with fireworks, marches, dancing and sweets amid hopes of a brighter future,” reported my friend Lina el-Wardani of Ahram Online.

For many, including those who boycotted the elections or nullified their votes, for sure there was a sigh of relief. I, as well as millions of other Egyptians, were certain the ruling military junta will rig the vote in favor of General Ahmad Shafiq, who was to be crowned as Egypt’s next president. I am happy we turned out to be wrong.

Although SCAF mobilized Mubarak’s National Democratic Party network in favor of Shafiq, and attempted to directly intervene to rig the final count, their efforts failed. Some activists are circulating conspiracy theories along the lines of Morsi being the “real SCAF candidate” or that he won by a deal–which I disagree with. The blunt fact is, although SCAF is in still in control, they might not be as confident and powerful as most revolutionaries think.

The majority of those who are cheering the electoral results are not necessarily happy about Morsi’s victory, as much as they are relieved that Shafiq, the representative of the SCAF-backed counterrevolution is not in office.

Shafiq’s victory could have meant a wide level of demoralization among section of the people to see the regime’s loyal man coming back in power, with full force and vengeance. For example, a comrade in Assuit spoke to me in details before the second round about how former State Security officers in his town were sending messages to activists: “Wait till Shafiq gets inaugurated you sons of X#$%, you’ll disappear the following day.” Similar threats were made against activists in other provinces. Remnants of the old regime had felt confident to reappear once again. Shafiq’s loss caused mass demoralization and disarray among their ranks.

The Muslim Brothers have put themselves in a critical position now. Some on the left and in the liberal circles are more than happy to label the Brotherhood as a “fascist” organization and “just another face of Mubarak’s regime.” This social analysis of the movement is incorrect and will entail, in my view, wrong political positions to be taken vis a vis the Islamists. [Continue reading…]

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