On Egypt’s failure

Ursula Lindsey writes: I have been out of Egypt since late May, and my reaction to all that’s happened there is shaped by that distance, by not having had the contact high of millions on the street, the ambient euphoria of collective will flexed and fulfilled. But in this case perhaps it was a good thing.

When I left the Tamarrod campaign seemed significant but unrealistic, part of the politics of regret and indignation that was all the powerless non-Islamist groups had left. Now lo an behold their improbable demands have all been granted, the compass of power has flipped, and we have Islamist leaders facing prison and men like Mohamed El Baradei in government.

But who had the power to make these dreams come true, to so drastically alter Egypt’s political reality? Who were the millions of protesters calling on to act? The deus ex machina, once again, is the military. For the second time in three years the Egyptian army, acting in response to enormous protests, has deposed a president. The first was a dictator of 30 years. The second had been elected, by a slim majority, a year ago, and had gone on to alienate, infuriate and terrify a good number of his countrymen.

I’ve spent the last year railing against the Brotherhood’s increasing bigotry, bullying, incompetence. They failed, on strategy and substance. They don’t have the vision or the guts or the skills or the decency to govern Egypt and make something better of it. And the divisiveness the country suffers from now is largely their fault — they could never represent anyone beyond themselves, and they could never believe that there were so many who they did not represent at all.

But that doesn’t mean one should support unwarranted retaliation agains them, or countenance the dehumanization (and murder) of their supporters. And that doesn’t mean one should celebrate now — quite the contrary, I fear. Since June 30, on social and old-fashioned Egyptian media, I have found a startling lack of lucidity. The endless denunciations of US meddling — the alleged American backing of the Brotherhood, CNN’s biased coverage — and the endless aspersions cast on all Islamists are pathological, a way to change the subject, to use indignation as a rhetorical and psychological feint. The denial of the pivotal, dangerous role played by the army and the police in what happened (a role that continues to be documented in greater detail) is, as one observer puts it, “a delusion so outlandish that it must be willfully self-induced, a device to conceal the enormity of a shameful choice.” [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email