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Opinion: A Frightening Drug | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Egyptian soldier is seen manning an armoured personnel carrier (APC) outside the Egyptian Constitutional Court in Cairo on August 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI

I was one of many who predicted the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood. But I was also expecting and hoping that two or three of the verdicts in the trials their leaders were facing would come through. These would reveal a clear and sufficient picture of their inability to solve the nation’s problems. With that, everyone—the Brotherhood’s scholars, fools and followers—would be aware that the religious parties are not equipped to deal with contemporary problems. Then all the people have to do is seek to remove them—fully and completely—and set the story straight.

But it appears that the Egyptian military leadership contemplated the matter and felt that the Mursi government itself had done enough to demonstrate its own inadequacy, and decided to save the people from them. Their decision was encouraged when the popularity of Mursi’s government fell to 30 percent in the polls in June.

All of this followed rising unemployment among Egyptians under the age of 24 (which reached 40 percent), the deterioration of security—to the extent that the number of deaths had tripled—and lengthy queues, especially at Cairo’s petrol stations, for which Mursi himself admitted he had no solution.

At this point, it appeared that a threat loomed on the horizon, which was that the Brotherhood would survive for a longer period of time. This would give them an opportunity to implement serious changes in society and the structure of the state—guarantees for them to stay in power. In the course of two or three years, they would have brainwashed the population through curriculum changes and replacing the departments of media and culture. The Egyptian public would be reduced to believing that hunger, poverty and unemployment were natural, and that objections to them are invalid. What is a Muslim to do except sit, sleep and wait for salvation in the afterlife? They quelled the peoples’ rage with drugs, such as imposing the veil and oppressing women, closing beaches, banning discos and cabarets, persecuting minorities, covering, breaking or selling Coptic statues and churches, building more hospices, fundraising for the liberation of Palestine, and so on.

At the same time, Brotherhood cadres infiltrated the military, security and intelligence services, so that they could remove any dissent from their rule.

It seems that the leaders who moved to keep Mursi from power acted preemptively. They would not wait until complete failure for something wise or feasible to take place, so they made their move and it was welcomed. The problems, however, will require a long time, great effort and a heavy cost to solve.

The Brotherhood’s epidemic has plagued Egypt and some other Arab countries since the 1920s. It took advantage of simple faith, spreading its viruses to other parts of the body, causing the loss of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of people, and billions of the national economy. They distorted the country’s mind and nervous system. People began to claim that illusion was reality, and started talking about things they did not know about. They dreamed about the possibility of returning to the Middle Ages, establishing a caliphate from East to West, and victory over Israel, thinking that all the worlds’ problems would disappear by reintroducing things that ended centuries ago. It’s a frightening drug, and it’s not easy to treat its victims.