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Opinion: The Muslim Brotherhood's Imaginary War - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Egypt has not had a second revolution, because the first one is yet to break out. Anyone who thinks that what happened in early 2011 was a revolution was mistaken, in the same manner that anyone who thinks that what is happening today is a second revolution is also sorely mistaken. These ideas are often given voice, whether on television or in personal conversations, but they are merely reflective of emotions and dreams and not actual descriptions of what is happening. Equally, many have been fooled into thinking that what happened in Egypt at the hands of the Free Officers Movement in 1952 was a revolution, for it was a military coup that created a new stage in Egypt after the monarchy.

But the only way to find the correct description for what has happened is to look at the results.

People who use the expression “second revolution” are fooled by examples—especially the French example. They consider what happened in Egypt in early 2011 as broadly similar to the French revolution, and then they view the events of June 30 as the second revolution in the same manner that the French revolution needed more than one revolution to fully gain hold.

There is an enormous difference between knowing what is happening now and what has happened in the past, and simply being content to warp our current state of affairs to correspond with the example of a different nation and its history. Reliance on examples and comparisons alone is easy because it needs no research, follow-up, study or scrutiny. But the major occurrences witnessed by the Arab region need all those things.

Just as I and others have expected since June 30, the Muslim Brotherhood has committed violence, which has been highlighted by both international reports and Egyptian human rights organizations. Even more, TV channels, social media, and videos posted online all give evidence of the Brotherhood’s persistence in committing premeditated violence. It shows that this was a systematic effort, not just random occurrences or mistakes by individuals.

Some misguided people want the public to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood has abandoned violence once and for all. Of course, this is wishful thinking not based on any facts or reasoned observation of what is happening. Apart from the videos being posted on social media, the Brotherhood has never disavowed its past crimes.

The people being assassinated by the group were well-known Egyptian citizens, some of them senior state officials. They include a prime minister, judges and even Brotherhood members who were assassinated due to their disagreements with the group. The crimes committed against those people were not committed by individuals, but by a group. That group must apologize to the victims’ families, as well as to the entire Egyptian people. We cannot put the past behind us just by expressing a desire to turn the page, as though we could then start from scratch as though nothing had ever happened.

Those misguided people want to believe the Brotherhood when they sing praise of democracy, speak of political participation and chant peaceful slogans. It sounds as though the groups’ words should be decisive in ending any dispute or argument. But the group is storing arms near Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque, among other places.

Many who have studied the group’s behavior, both past and present, do not think the Brotherhood’s public praise of democracy is a reliable guide. Suffice to say, if we look back at the positions the Brotherhood has taken since 2011, including its actions during its year in power, there are enough reasons not to trust their political promises or public discourses.

How can a serious analyst simply believe what the Brotherhood says without subjecting their words to careful examination, scrutiny and criticism?

Egypt has fallen on hard times, and it will have to choose between a bright future and being mired in the mud the Brotherhood and its allies in Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiyya are creating. This is the same group whose leaders glorified Sadat’s assassins, calling them “martyrs” and not criminal killers.

In its confrontation with the state and the Egyptian people, the Brotherhood relies on one strategy: keep lying until people believe you.

Intellectuals, media figures, the elites and others who are watching and commenting on Egypt today need to read more about the group’s history and discourse. If they find this difficult, then they should read the writings of some Brotherhood defectors. They must understand that the Brotherhood and the extremely autocratic way it is run are highly dangerous.

The Brotherhood’s top leadership are all hardline hawks; some of them were even imprisoned with Sayyed Qutb in the mid-1960s in connection with his plans to stage an armed coup. Key Brotherhood figures who attempt to portray Qutb as another Nelson Mandela know by heart Landmarks on the Road, his most dangerous book due to the pervasive extremism expressed therein.

As part of their tactics, the Brotherhood has launched a rumor war. It has spread, and continues to spread, innumerable rumors about the new political situation in Egypt. It verbally attacks political dissidents, tries to distort the image of the army, antagonizes Al-Azhar, and issues statements hostile to the Copts and their church. The group clearly believes in that old saying, “Anyone who is not with us is against us,” and it is fighting accordingly.

Another tactic the Brotherhood often relies on is discourse about dreams, miracles and judgment day. They mix this religious imagery to make stories and speeches that convince Brotherhood adherents and many even some members of the general public. For example, the angel Gabriel was said to descend to Rabaa Al-Adawiya especially for the group, and the Prophet Muhammad was seen praying beside the ousted president. They claim to carry the banner of Islam, but clearly these lies can only work on fools and those of limited knowledge and understanding.

And the group continues its illusory and imaginary war by pretending to be the enemy of the West and Israel, but it maintains strong links with both. It has longstanding ties with the US and other Western countries, and the West is flocking to Egypt in order to protect and defend the Brotherhood. It has also protected Israel against Hamas missiles and spoken to Israel in nothing but the most decent words.

The Brotherhood’s imaginary war must be met with action, and its speech and rhetoric must be confronted with enough firmness and determination to achieve stability. This is an all-or-nothing battle.