The Big Pharaoh
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why the Ballot Box Scares Me – Part 3

When I conveyed my shock at the elections results, several readers told me not to worry since elections allow for correcting previous voters’ mistakes. In other words, if the Muslim Brotherhood reached power one day, the Egyptian people can always vote them out if they didn’t approve their performance.

I am afraid this reasoning does nothing to ease my doubts and my concerns. The logic behind this notion is theoretically correct, yet I am very skeptical towards its practical implementation in a country like mine. Here is why.

One: The Egyptian people never ruled themselves and they rarely revolted or changed their rulers. Ever since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Egypt was treated as the private property of whomever ruled over it.

Take a look at the present day. The people already reached the end of their rope yet I don’t expect a mass revolt or a revolution. I believe the majority of Egyptians are preoccupied with meeting their daily needs and living a decent life. Now, what guarantees that the people will turn against the MB if they jumped to power and installed a theocracy? Future generations might hate the Egyptian theocracy just as they are hating the secular dictatorship today, yet if history is a yardstick, the possibility of internal regime change is so slim.

Two: I based my assumption above on the fact that the MB will install a total theocracy upon reaching power. This could not be true. The MB is an organization that learns. They have been around for 80 years and managed to coexist with the existing status quo until they finally became the most powerful political force in the country. So, most probably, the MB learned from the Iranian, Sudanese, and Afghani experience and they will not repeat their same mistake. Instead, they will rule by what I call “Khatami Style” or “Islamist Light”.

Khatami is the former “moderate” president of Iran who introduced considerable personal freedoms that weren’t there before the masses voted for him. I consider him to be a curse on Iran! He provided “breathing space” to the youth who eventually got busy with listening to pop music, polishing their nails, and covering only half their heads, yet forgot that this system should be uprooted and not accommodated.

The MB could do the same. They could rule by an “Islamist Light” system. They can introduce religious laws that will curb freedoms yet they won’t be bad enough to trigger a mass revolt against the system. The MB will be bad for me, someone who blogs while listening to Frank Sinatra, yet they won’t be bad enough for the poor masses who accommodated Mubarak and is now accommodating the MB.

Three: If the MB managed to reach power, the first thing they will do is change the constitution and the laws of the country. They will reshape the country’s sociopolitical structure according to their understanding of religion yet they will still run the country “democratically”. In other words, elections will still be held provided that all candidates operate within the system that the MB has created. And again, we have no guarantees that this system can be changed.
I might be wrong in regards of the above three points, yet I believe they stem from the existing facts on the ground and very possible scenarios that could happen in the future. I am very pessimistic towards the future of this country and I won’t draw a pretty face just because I am blogging. All what I can do now is to continue speaking my mind, to continue offering possible solutions, and eventually hope for the best.

Why the Muslim Brotherhood Fared Well? - Part 1

What should be Done Now? - Part 2


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