Opposition in Egypt has won even if it loses
In the Egyptian arena rages the biggest political, intellectual, popular and elitist media battle. Parties are now fighting over authority, positions, history and the future.
The disputed proposed constitution caused bloodshed on both sides, but did anyone expect people to die over constitutional differences? They are happening because the battle is about the future of Egypt, political camps, trends and issues which could possibly lead to more severe tensions. We are in the third quarter of the Egyptian revolution. The first quarter was about the toppling of Mubarak’s regime, the second about the removal of military rule and now the dispute is over the distribution of power and positions.
Whether the majority of Egyptians approve the constitution or reject it, the biggest loser is the ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood. They have been harmed politically and their image tarnished during the unrest of the past few weeks. The dramatic developments like the removal of the attorney general, the autocratic constitutional declaration and then the brewing of the battle over the constitution in just two days have divided Egyptians and sentenced the remaining three years of the presidency of Muhammad Mursi to function with great difficulty. The Brotherhood has corrupted the elitist and popular sympathy they mustered in the last 40 years.
The language of the street stirred the intellectuals and expressed growing anger. Director of the Middle East Forum Magdi Khalil, for instance, wrote, “This constitution is detailed to suit Islamic trends and establishment of a religious dictatorship. It is a despotic constitution and people who witnessed the voting process realized that it is about the seizing of power and not a dialogue about its rationale. Following this, Vice President Mahmoud Mekki claimed that it is a battle for the survival of the fittest. This after the federal battle, after categorizing the blood of dead Egyptians (who died a “martyr” and who didn’t). After warning of massacres between Egyptians by Khairat Al-Shater, intentions have surfaced, forcefully imposing the vision of a single political faction on the Egyptian people as a whole.
This stance reflects the state of anger that unites all opposition parties despite their differences. By virtue of the new constitution, the honeymoon has swiftly ended between partners of the revolution. The Brotherhood has become an easy target to discredit and Mursi has become a “persona non-grata.” The mistakes made by the Brotherhood since assuming power are not the result of necessity but a result of their religious training that does not separate between religion and the secular world. They want to transfer the concept of blind obedience to politics whose defining characteristics should actually be change and difference.
The recklessness of Mursi’s team and the superiority is exhibited by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Muhammad Badee himself. The latter used vulgar language to criticize his opponents, calling them blind followers and foreign agents, although the controversy and objections are within the framework of the law that brought them to power.
Egypt is a big country and cannot be controlled by a single team that tries to impose its vision on everyone. What brought down Mubarak was young people who joined the opposition, and this will also make life difficult for Mursi in the next three years. It is not simply a battle over the constitution. The opposition has become a reality in Egyptian life and a pivotal figure. The Brotherhood were proud to be party possessing 80 years of experience in mobilization and political organizing only to be surprised that the opposition is defeating them in their infamous specialty of crowd gathering and propaganda incitement.