Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The spoiled revolutionaries in Egypt | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Some people subconsciously believe, even if they don’t say so out loud, that the popular Arab revolutions that have taken place in our region are free from any defects as if they perfectly represent the desires of the masses. However this belief is disastrous, especially if those driving public opinion do not stop courting the masses, instead of telling the truth. The problem is that when you criticize a particular phenomenon; the mob suddenly view you as a proponent of the other extreme. If you criticize al-Qaeda and its carrying out of the 9/11 attack, you are deemed to be “Americanized”, even if your opinion is motivated by the damage done to Islamic Dawa and charitable work. If you said that the destruction of the Israeli embassy wall in Cairo has harmed the prestige of the Egyptian state, and that any objection to the presence of a foreign embassy must be carried out in a legal and civilized manner, you would be thrown in with the Zionists. Even if you later said that you were “against the presence of the Israeli embassy in the first place”, you would then be told that “now you are contradicting what you said before, so not only are you a Zionist but you are a hypocrite!” Whilst if you said that a “few” rotten apples amongst the Egyptian demonstrators have corrupted the goals of the noble Egyptian revolution, you would be told that you were defending the former regime, and that you were standing against the oppressed masses.

They may appear to be “the masses” on the surface, but each of the 80 million Egyptians has his own goals, needs and views. It seems that people can do whatever they want, however they want, so long as they say that they are acting in the name of freedom and democracy. They can make right what they believe to be crooked and take the law into their own hands, at the expense of security and peaceful stability. The hatred towards Israeli arrogance, which pervades the hearts of the Egyptians and the Arabs, meant that the Arab masses were sympathetic with the attack on the Israeli embassy, but should the support of the majority of the revolutionary masses signal an end to this matter? I previously said that the issue would not end with the demolition of the Israeli embassy wall, and that the rebellious masses would now direct their attacks towards the embassies of America and Britain. At the time, some people objected to this and said that the masses would not be so primitive as to act in such a reckless manner. The real surprise came with the attack on the Saudi embassy [in Cairo], which clarified that those who dared to [attack the Israeli Embassy] in the first place would now deem it easy to attack any institution, even if the reason behind this attack was as trivial as a mistake committed by “Saudi Arabian Airlines”, or whatever other petty reason springs to mind. Is this backward manner the way to solve problems and address deficiencies?

I wrote on Twitter that: “revolutions, just like governments, parties, and groups, must address criticism, dues and evaluations with complete transparency; otherwise they will be hijacked, corrupted and overwhelmed by others”. I went on to describe the great deal of simulation and pretense, which currently surrounds everything, as a symptom of “indulging the revolutionaries”. Inevitably this phenomenon will divert the people and the government from solving their major crises. If the revolutionary masses move to simply amend the errors and corruption of the pre-revolution government in whatever manner that each member of the masses favors then this will undoubtedly result in overwhelming chaos. A segment of the masses would go to the cinema and burn it to the ground, because it displays scenes of obscene language and sexual content and nudity; whilst another segment in the opposing camp would deem religious groups to be the source of extremism, isolation, and sectarianism, and thus believe they must be targeted in order to nip civil strife in the bud. This horrific scenario must be strongly confronted through the rapid implementation of reforms demanded by the people after long years of fruitless tyranny.

Revolutions can be betrayed not only by supporting corrupt, outdated regimes, but also by the revolution itself being reluctant to face criticism and evaluation in an honest and transparent manner.