December 26, 2011

It's complicated

The political situation in Egypt is – to say the least – a huge mess. With a population of roughly 90 million people there are about 90 million different political stances. What we used to call the silent majority is not necessarily very silent now and is not necessarily in agreement even if it remains the "majority". I've been trying to find an easy way to lay down the picture for you but I couldn't, so you might need to read this piece several times and my guess is, it still won't make any sense.

Well, the SCAF has definitely put themselves in one of the worst possible corners. Initially, they thought they could salute the martyrs, change 8 clauses in the constitution and be gone. "Be gone" as in go back to managing their financial empire while ordering around the politicians and president from their fancy offices. As it turns out, January 25th was more than just "a bad hair day" and those idiots (us) do actually have aspirations for a better country and that we – the shmucks – really, really believe that we can do that with democracy and a civilian government and all that crap. In a fit of intelligence, the SCAF decided that this was too much to ask for and decided to build an alliance with the one organized group that could lead the crowds, the Muslim Brotherhood, probably with the intention to throw them a small bone for now and then eat them alive when things settle down. But hey, Surprise!! Surprise!! As it turns out the MB want a huge piece of the cake (everything except for the candles) and not only that but they also cannot really steer the crowds as good as they claimed. Possibly in some back room dealings, the MB made it clear that they were here to stay. So, the SCAF thought of a new "ingenious" plan and decided to bring in the Salafis to neutralize the MB. Surprise!! Surprise!! The Salafis and the MB join forces and decide that they will attempt something completely new, that nobody has thought of before and it's called: world domination. Salafis and MB went down in a protest and told SCAF that it can go shove its Supra Constitutional Clauses where the sun don't shine. As sensitive as military men usually are, SCAF cried a little bit in its room and then started Mohamed Mahmoud, which in other words told Islamists, you sign the document or you kiss elections good bye. MB run to SCAF feeling all guilty and tell SCAF that they will be good boys. Mohamed Mahmoud stops and elections start a few days later. So, what does being "good boys" mean. It probably means, SCAF will designate a president that MB will support in return for the parliament majority and an agreement on what the constitution will look like which is going to be something like that: President to handle Defense and Foreign Relations (plus a couple more things) and Parliament can handle all civilian issues. Shake hands. So, basically it's a cease-fire but not a peace treaty. It's a warm cease fire, whereby MB will support SCAF roadmap, it will shut the fuck up about its actions and in return they will get the chance to make some fancy statements about the future without much fuss from SCAF. But a confrontation is sure to come, these are borders written in stone. As time goes by each one of them is going to try and eat up from the other's territory. The MB will try to infiltrate the higher ranks in the army and the SCAF won't let them. Meanwhile, SCAF continues to turn a blind eye to the outrageous electoral violations of the Salafists keeping them as the boogie man for the MB.

The Brother Muslimhood (MB)
You know half the story from the previous paragraph, the rest of the fairytale is that the MB are now put in another ugly corner. On one hand, they have taken over the parliament in one of the most difficult times for this country, they don't want to be in the spotlight when the shit hits the fan, so they're trying to bring everybody on board with them, Salafis, Liberals, Leftists, Christians and they wouldn't even mind an alliance with the satanics if it helps divert the focus. They want to appear as modern as possible, so they're borderline prostituting themselves to the Liberals and the West. Having said that, they're entirely building a new National Democratic Party; controlling the syndicates and unions, the parliament and eventually eyeing municipalities, with hope to take over presidency in the following term. The plan will be to take over all the government and civil institutions that will support their retaining power. The Salafis remain their most annoying partner, because on one hand they're stupid and on the other they're idiots. But most importantly because they're the only ones who are now contesting the MB monopoly over religion. Not only are they contesting it, they're actually making the MB look like Go-go dancers in comparison. So, now that the MB wanted to play modern / cool and continue to shove their ideologies down our throats over the coming 20 years by being evasive and stance-less, they're now asked to make some of those "if you're not with us you're against us" choices that will be put forward by the undomesticated Salafis. This rogue attack by the Salafis will make the MB have to run to an ugly alternative: to empower Al Azhar as the religious reference which will also undermine their historic monopoly over religion. Internally, they seem to be getting a better grip over their organization but it's all still within the inertia of good will from the revolution days and the hopes for a new Egypt. Once their deviousness starts to show to their followers, they risk losing some of their most loyal supporters. They have a tough game to play in the coming few years to retain the interest of their followers and their belief in the integrity and good will of the MB.

The Salafis
Where the hell did they come from? Nobody knows, but it's definitely somewhere with a lot of money and very little sex. They are the rogue untamed version of Attila The Hun without his affinity for human rights.  As a political power they have nothing to offer except for an ability to move people from mosques to polling booths. And boy was that a shit load of people they could move. As far as they are concerned, Egypt does not exist, there is Saudi as the mother land and the rest of the world is one big black blob that needs to either join the refined Saudi ideologies or be burnt to the ground (they would prefer the second so that they can enslave their enemies' women, but that's another story). Once a very timid cult, their recent success at the polls has given them much to be arrogant about. Their statements have become more daring and more revealing of how far back they want to send this society. This sudden spotlight has caused them some harm and has sent some of their supporters back into the MB arms. They are starting to learn from their mistakes and recently they went totally liberal and put up a face picture of one of their female candidates (probably a shemale). So, while the SCAF kept them in the loop because they wanted to neutralize the MB, the Salafis are now getting more confident and greedier, they believe they can take over the entire government and push forward a presidential candidate. They think they can move away from the MB umbrella and beat them in their own game "religion", embarrass them in the parliament to gain more popularity and eventually take over their voters. They are remaining far more docile with the SCAF than with the MB, betting the former will have the last word in a showdown. I don't think the current Salafi model will survive long; they will either turn more moderate or put up one hell of a medieval show that will put an end to it all. In terms of their input in the economic advancement of this country expect policies such as women should not work, music should be banned and similar internationally accepted financial solutions.

The silent majority

The activists
You cannot bundle them in one group. But for all argument purposes, they're the action on the street level. You can definitely criticize the movement, saying it is lacking leadership, strategic direction and possibly even go to the extent of claiming it's idiotic in the way it keeps falling into the same traps over and over again. It might have lost the admiration and support of the silent majority (luckily they're pretty silent). Having said that, this movement is the true, one and only resistance to the traditional forces that were described above. It is the only force capable of bringing this revolution into the 21st century. Don't only look at Tahrir, it's every protest that happens to change a situation (regardless of how small). All those SCAF and MB "leaders" above can go take a piss, because no matter what they do, these small pockets of action will not allow them anything except what those protesters are going to accept. 70% of this population is below 40, it's only a matter of time until we eat up those 30% (luckily I'm only 38). Right after January 25th, SCAF could've sat down with the MB and cut up the pie in any way they like. The only reason they couldn't do that is because of the grassroots movement; because of all those "stupid" protesters. The movement will not be killed, suffocated or politicized. This revolution is not only in protests by the way, you need to take a look at the civil society that is emerging post January 25th, this is one of the key tools for resistance and change. Whether, there will be many more bloody confrontations with the powers above or not is something that remains to be seen. Maybe those old men will realize that they need to play it differently, maybe they won't. In either case, change will happen and it will be lead from the bottom up and not the other way around.

What few realize is that January 25th was essentially a clash of generations. There is a thick line that separates the pre-internet generation from the post-internet generation. The age hierarchy that existed has dissolved, those with Google shall not be ruled by those without it, full stop. So, while we continue to make our assessments based on the developments in the above powers, these traditional entities will not exist in this shape or form in the coming 10 years. They will either adapt or die. There is no Iranian model coming to Egypt and there are no 80 year old generals that will be able to take decisions five years from now. A 14 year old kid with an internet connection now, is far more exposed and aware than a 70 year government official. Not only is the internet kid more aware, he/she is far more open to finding, filtering, adapting and applying new ideas in less time than it takes the government official to take a leak (especially with those white underwear without buttons). The existing system will not change overnight, it will take time to dismantle it and replace it but the change is coming, slow, possibly painful but there is no turning back. So, whatever I wrote above about SCAF, MB, etc. is only valid for the coming few months, years but after that it will be a whole new world.


  1. " those with Google shall not be ruled by those without it"

    I love it.

    Great analysis although I would add that the SCAF can exert some pressure on Saudi to tone down their support for MB/Salafis if need be.

  2. Excellent summary. I would hope that the outcome you portray is sooner rather than later.