Friday, February 11, 2011

The pharoah has gone - optimistic reflections on a revolution.

When Anwar Sadat was killed in 1981, his assasin, after running out of bullets, is said to have shouted "I have killed the pharaoh, and I do not fear death!". The use of the word pharaoh was deliberate because Khalid Islambouli - the assasin - was a Jihadist (although I don't think that word was in use back then) and wished to connect Sadat to the pre-Islamic history of Egypt. That pre-Islamic era was consider to be Jahiliyyah, classically used to be mean 'before God's guidance', but adapted and perhaps corrupted by radical ideologue Said Qutb, the inspiration behind Islambouli's violence, to mean un-Islamic and therefore without worth or indeed worthy of destruction.

Until 30 minutes ago, that was the last time leadership was transferred in Egypt; bloodily, violently and as a result of a radical, exclusionary reading of a religion. Now once again the Pharaoh has gone, but he is not dead. Instead Mubarak appears to be retiring to the seaside. His non-assasins - the democracy protestor -; men and women, young and old, secular and religious, Muslim and Christian, rich and poor; have shown day after day in Tahrir Square that, like Islambouli, they were not afraid to die, but unlike him they would not resort to violence except in self defence (against hired thugs in uniform or not). And again, unlike Islambouli, their motivation has been democracy, self respect, and human rights. The army should respect their sacrifices and their liberal sentiments and quickly give the Egyptian people the democracy they so richly deserve.

3 comments:

KGS said...

Hi Toby, while I'm a champion of representative government and for the removing of authortarian and/or dictatorial regimes, but it's immensely important to know which revolt to back and to know beforehand who exactly is going to fill the political void.

I find it disheartening to see many of the think tank wonks standing up to cheer a revolt just because its happening, while they busily revamp their understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood, shock: “they really democrats and no longer believe in violence or the world caliphate, and that they're rise to power will not have a resounding effect on the jihadists (both stealth and violent versions) areound the world, emboldening them like never before.

I find it quizzical that people who should know better, welling up with emotion over a series of events that started just because a person couldn't get a permit to sell his wares, so he committed suicide, and over prices for food.

Nor I am not enthusiastic over the claims that “everyone is excited over the fall of Mubarak. Missing from the lame stream media's reporting of the events, is that the Copts are indeed more worried about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood than they are/were of Mubarak. The claim of “Christians” jumping for joy over Mubarak's removal is far removed from reality.

The Egyptian military are neo-Kemalists, and they will be loathe to allow a similar situation like the one in Turkey where the fundamuslims (AKP) gut the military and other secualr institutions. They will maintain their grip to the levers of power, or at least attempt to do so, in a from now on, “seasaw political battle” with the Muslim Brotherhood.

There is very little to be happy about here.

KGS said...

In short... the hope for mob rule democracy (more Islam) will be short lived, or allowed to have the trappings of mob rule... (for that is in fact what it will be if allowed to come to fruition).

KGS said...

This is one slam dunk on the Egyptian revolution if I ever saw one MSNBC's Brszhinksi gets schooled by Harvard's Niall Ferguson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9sMo-LTdSc&feature=player_embedded

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