Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Net Notes

Egyptians remain far apart

Much of the debate over social networks these days concerns the splitting up of Egyptian society since the revolution of 25 January.

“This division is behind all our problems, and has made some people whom we do not like take over the country,” said Mona Abdel-Dayem who added that the majority of Egyptians agree on one goal: “building a better Egypt for everyone.

“Why did we believe a group of liars who are hiding behind religion to kidnap this country?” Abdel-Dayem asked.

Mohamed Medani said, “We cannot blame the people for believing the Brotherhood since millions of Egyptians live below the poverty line and 40 per cent cannot read or write.

“I think this was the fault of the Mubarak regime which ruled the country for 30 years, during which poverty and illiteracy doubled,” Medani said.

Karim Hussein said that blaming the Muslim Brotherhood of all these problems “is like blaming the victim”. Hussein said Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took office while the country was suffering from a severe economic situation and claimed that all government officials refused to deal with him in solving the problem.

Hussein added that the secular opposition was pushing public opinion to hate the Islamists which polarised the country which deepened the division among Egyptians.

Wessam Mahmoud said that it was time “for each of us to forget everything that happened and start a new page.”

Mahmoud said that in the new page “we can build a new country that’s fit for all Egyptians and does not exclude anybody. However, each political group has to learn from its own mistakes and recognise them before starting this phase”.

Muslim Brotherhood becoming more colourful

Nervana Mahmoud explained in her blog how the Muslim Brotherhood has developed a new strategy to cope with new circumstances following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi and the end of their sit-in in Rabaa Al-Adaweya:

“A month has passed since the forced ending of the pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo. The widespread crackdown and the arrest of the Brotherhood’s most senior cadres have had a huge impact in paralysing the main skeleton of the group and has limited their ability to function.

How has the Muslim Brotherhood coped with this? It is important to look at other aspects of the Brotherhood’s structure and mindset that opponents miss or ignore. These factors are crucial to understanding how the Brotherhood survives.

It is wrong to assume that the skeleton of the Muslim Brotherhood functions in a similar way to a human skeleton with one central brain and many peripheral organs. This is mainly true in times of non-crisis, but the group has also implanted the mindset of their seniors into their junior cadres. This helps them to function independently if necessary. Therefore, it is futile to assume that the younger cadres will be reformists. In fact, they are nothing but an enhanced version of their senior leaders, equipped with innovative techniques, but running with the same old system.

Considering the above, it is easier to read the Islamists’ evolving new strategy. Currently the Brotherhood and their allies are working on two fronts, domestic and international.

Domestically, they have decided to update their protest strategy. In addition to the new yellow and black ‘Rabaa’ sign that is now printed on T-shirts and banners, the Islamists have decided to adopt some of football Ultras’ tactics and slogans in order to add an Egyptian flavour to their protests with more cheerful music and animated cheers. They have also promoted more appealing slogans, particularly in impoverished areas like Helwan, calling on local residents to stop paying water, gas, and electricity bills, knowing that this will resonate well among the public, particularly in the current, harsh economic conditions.

Other measures of civil disobedience are also announced on some sites, including boycotting “pro-coup” businesses, local television programming that supports the coup, withdrawing money from national banks, encouraging public servants to take annual leaves, calling on families to boycott schools, and for university students to protest at their own universities.

Internationally, Islamists have learned from Zionism that ideology and finance are not enough; global lobbying is also crucial. Therefore, they have shifted their focus from old slogans that were used widely in the 80s and 90s, like “Islam is the solution” to newer more appealing ideas that resonate better with a Western audience, such as championing democracy, political freedom, and of course being anti-coup, wrapped nicely in passionate, well-delivered presentations. This lobbying effort is delivered by attending various conferences and giving interviews to a wide range of TV and radio networks. For non-Egyptian Muslim audiences, they focus on mosques. Toward Islamist networks in Pakistan, Turkey, and Gulf states, they enlist various supportive scholars, including persons like Sheik Qaradawi, who publicly called on Friday for the Egyptian army cadres to revolt against army chief General Al-Sisi.”

 

Tweets

“If there is a road back for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is highly doubtful, it would be in realising that in polarising Egypt they came away with a smaller part.”

@Salama Moussa

“I am sick of those who try to make an analogy between the Algeria 1992 civil war and Egypt’s 2013 unprecedented popular revolt against Islamists.”

@AhmadSarhan

“Nabil Fahmi attacked Al-Jazeera as ‘unprofessional’. Not sure. How would he call what the Egyptian media is doing right now?”

@Andrew Hammond

“The biggest obstacle to the Muslim Brotherhood’s return to politics may not be the army, or their stubbornness, but Salafi politicos who now see a shot at dominance.”

@Moussa

“If the Muslim Brotherhood does not distance themselves from Delga radicals, rather than calling them ‘anti-coup’, they’re not doing themselves any favours.”

@Hellyer

“The Muslim Brotherhood were kicked out by Egyptians because they tried to change Egypt’s identity and steal our freedom.”

@Wael Nawara

“The true trouble with the Muslim Brotherhood now is that they will hijack any revolutionary movement.”

@Wael Eskandar

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