Look around you, specifically at the Arab Spring states, and you will find grievances highlighted today not from those ousted by change, but from those who contributed to its occurrence and were eager for it in the first place. Now they are condemning all that goes against their original opinion or vision. Today this is most obvious in Tunisia, the country which sparked off the Arab Spring, and in Egypt as well, which represents the most prominent case given the country’s size and influence.
In Tunisia we find President Moncef Marzouki accusing the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Ennahda movement, which leads the ruling coalition, of seeking to control all aspects of the state and criticizing its “insistence” upon adopting a parliamentary system rather than an amended form of governance. He added that what the Ennahda movement is doing now “reminds us of the previous era”, i.e. the era of ousted former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Mocef Marzouki is not alone in accusing the Ennahda movement of trying to control all aspects of the state; even Tunisian intellectuals, and specifically journalists, are accusing the movement of trying to impose its control over the media. The same applies today in Egypt, but the only difference is that those complaining about Brotherhoodization in Egypt, and the Brotherhood imposing its control over all vital aspects of the state – legislative, executive and of course the media – were former allies of the Brotherhood in the recent Egyptian revolution. They consist of intellectuals, media figures and different political forces, and now in Egypt we are witnessing demonstrations against the Brotherhoodization of the state, and clashes with supporters of the Egyptian President.
Remarkably, in both Egypt and Tunisia there is a frantic race between the dominant political forces, in the name of the people and under the cover of the revolution, to control the media, and to punish anyone who criticizes the President in the case of Egypt, and the Ennahda movement in the case of Tunisia. Meanwhile, there is no punishment for those who denounce critics of the Brotherhood and its leadership, whether Egyptian or Tunisian, as infidels. I say this is remarkable because the revolutions and mass movements that took place in Egypt and Tunisia were intended to consecrate state institutions, and likewise ensure the independence and separation of powers. The intention was not to create a similar situation to what life was like before, whether in Egypt or Tunisia.
All this tells us is that what happened in the Arab world, specifically in Egypt and Tunisia, is not what some used to, and indeed continue to, portray as a democratic revolution aimed at strengthening state institutions and so on. Rather we are facing the declining power of some forces and the rise of others in the same conditions unfortunately, practicing the same exclusionary tactics and absolute control. This was expected, as was noted and pointed out by a few, specifically in this newspaper, but it is remarkable to see some, especially intellectuals, continuing to promote illusions about the Arab Spring. Some intellectuals in the Gulf States are among the most deluded about what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt, whether in good faith or otherwise, and it is clear that they have not realized that the majority of critics of the Arab Spring today are those who contributed to it in the first place. Their error lies in oversimplifying matters and suspiciously glossing over the historical, political, economic and intellectual facts and realities, especially in their understanding of the Brotherhood and what it really thinks about democracy and the transfer of power. It is suffice to consider the stances of both Egypt and Tunisia today towards what is happening to the unarmed citizens of Syria!
Of course the intention here is not to prevent change, this is impossible, but we do not want change for the worse.