Sunday, June 17, 2012

Suspicion, Betrayal, Outcome

"Shafiq is a person.  You can speak against a person.  But, if you speak against the Brotherhood, you are speaking against the word of God, and you can't challenge that.  It's like Iran."

This is the reasonable-enough explanation of an Egyptian explaining that he and his son intended to vote for Ahmed Shafiq, former general and prime minister personally selected by former President Hosni Mubarak, before his overthrow.  Under Ahmed Shafiq, the man contended, protests, however controlled they would be by the military and the police, would be permitted.

On the other hand, were Mohammed Morsi to be the elected favourite as leader of the Brotherhood's political front, there would be no protests permitted under the Freedom and Justice Party.  'Freedom' and 'Justice' are handy words, connoting nothing in particular when spoken descriptively of an totalitarian Islamist party for whom democracy means persuading the poor through charitable means that fundamentalist Islam will be practised for their own good.

At any such time as the starkly ambitious Freedom and Justice Party might be permitted to rule Egypt, it will be their interpretation of justice that counts; from being an outlawed ideological threat to the political and social system of the country they would have attained legitimacy at long last, and that represents the 'justice' portion of the name.  They would also then have the 'freedom' they have long sought, to impose their rule on the country.

As it is, they are now a removed distance from what appeared inevitable a short week ago.  Troops and riot police have been stationed outside the parliament buildings in the days following the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated legislature, after the surprise Constitutional Court ruling that recognized their fielding candidates for independent seats although they were aligned with the Brotherhood as being illegal.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is now once again fairly firmly ensconced as the ruling power.  The Brotherhood heatedly accuses the military council of buying votes among the 40% of the electorate that has been estimated to turn out to vote.  The compliment was hastily returned by Mr. Shafiq's supporters, citing the Brotherhood's long, careful and patient wooing of the poor to ensure their gratitude for medical and financial support.

Matters have come together rather neatly for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.  When President Mubarak named Farouk Sultan to be elevated from his military tribunal posting to become the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, it had ramifications well into the future.  And that future just happens to be the present time.

The Egyptian left and the liberal contingent who mounted such an impressive campaign, persuading other Egyptians to flock to Tahrir Square resulting in their hallowed victory, rested on their lauded laurels too soon.  They permitted themselves to remain a motley crew rather than becoming a disciplined and determined combined force that would match the collective strength and order of the Brotherhood and the military.

At this point in Egypt, people are fed up with the chaos that ensued with the removal of President Mubarak.  The police presence is no longer as visible, and crime has been allowed to run rampant.  The economy, along with tourism, has suffered in the general unrest and uncertainty.  And the Brotherhood whom many began to trust when they avowed they had no interest in running a candidate for the presidency has lost that trust.

"They betrayed us at the first corner and continue to betray us."

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