Egyptian women marching for the right to co-draft Egypt's new constitution (CNN photo)
Leading Egyptian political analyst and the Middle East’s pioneer talk show host Emad Adeeb sounds disheartened by the power struggles at work in his native country. I rephrased his succinct comment, appearing in Arabic today in the Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat. The comment captures the intricacies of the new Egyptian politics in some 300 words:
There is in Egypt a clash of wills positioning multiple sides on a chilling collision course. Each side has its own logic to singlehandedly gauge absolute truth and fulfill its unabridged right to run the affairs of state.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reckons it is the standard-bearer of the regime’s legitimacy, the hero of the 1973 October War and the protector and booster of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
The Muslim Brotherhood believes it has the longest chronicled legacy of struggle dating back to 1928, when Sheikh Hassan al-Banna set off on the path of inner, spiritual Jihad. The Brotherhood considers it suffered most from the prisons and lockups of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. It also thinks its ballot box wins in recent parliamentary and trade union elections entitle it to manage the country’s affairs.
The Tahrir Square rebels in turn deem they were the only ones to put their lives on the line when everyone else despaired of changing the previous regime. They say they were the ones to take to the streets and occupy public squares in a unique revolution that will have a distinct place in history. Accordingly, they judge they have the full right to build the present and the future. To their mind, it is inconceivable for forces of the past to be makers of the now and the coming times.
No one imagines the other side being right. Each side trusts it is the beneficiary of the new regime that has yet to be built.
In Egypt, the old regime was not brought down so it can be replaced. Underway are failed attempts to bring down the curtain on the past and visionless bids to build the future.
Without dialogue, understanding, negotiation and clear plan, this experiment has no true prospect.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s rationality lacks political flexibility and advocates the following: “We are the majority. You have to accept what we want. Follow our path, or simply go wherever you want.”
Is this plausible?