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Change Egyptians Believe In - Abdenour Toumi

Change Egyptians Believe In

Abdenour Toumi

The time has come for a true change in Egypt, and for action from U.S. officials regarding the new dynamic of change that is emerging from the Jasmine Revolt in Tunisia and the ongoing Egyptian revolt. These revolts are shaping the region’s geo-political landscape and its domestic socio-politics, yet, the latest developments from President Moubarak’s palace are leaning toward a classic scenario in the Arab world’s political struggle. The military steps up actively for the sake of “stability and national security.” So far, the army has shown a perplexed role in the unfaltering political dispute. Some analysts see this passive position as a political ruse in order to offer more time to President Moubarak, and for his cronies to turn the tide in their favor.

Seemingly, a plausible outcome will relieve the U.S. and its allies in the region from the nightmare of having new political forces coming to the light that care for most about the Egyptian people. Reports from Egypt and analysis in the U.S. are alarming American public opinion about the winner of this popular uprising against injustice and an oligarchical system; it is el-Ekhouan who would take over the country’s destiny. Well, doesn’t the U.S. and Israel have an Islamist government ally in the region that belongs to the franchise of the Brothers? Doesn’t Israel encourage the creation of Hamas, which is also a tiny branch of the Brotherhood in the region? At the same time, the reports coming from T’hrir Square are saying the protesters are apolitical and the Brothers have not any major say in this up rising! Just yesterday President Obama said: “They [the Brotherhood] represent only 20% of the population...” The question is not whether the Brotherhood would take over in Egypt; the real question is whether the U.S. and its allies want to see change that Egyptians and Arab masses believe in.

Subsequently, the U.S. administration is missing a golden opportunity to become a credible peace broker in the tiring Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a fundamental geo-political player in the region. The U.S. administration should take this chance in its global vision of fighting radicalism in the region and its ramifications on U.S. national security and geo-economic interest. For instance, here is a massive contingent ready to operate and to fight dystopians in the region en masse -- this civilized contingent is waiting for U.S. officials to support its actions because the Djehadists are waiting to find a position, and waiting to see how this crisis will end. At this point they are losing, but if the situation in Egypt turns sour Ben Laden and Edhaouhiri will send a message to their delusional sympathizers, “we told you,” they will say, and they will excel again to silence the 98% of the Arabs and Muslims. Equally, it is a moment for the Israeli establishment to find a better attitude in its so-called “peace” negotiation strategy: “Tell me more, give me more [...]” to look for a real peace partner among the Palestinians, to help the narrative of democracy thrive in the region as the Israelis enjoy establishment and civil society in their country, while also helping to review the war and peace equation in the region. Alas, behind the scenes, the U.S. prefers the status quo, yet paranoiacally are still afraid of the Brotherhood. 

The Brotherhood is a real political force, not Djehadists but Edjtehadists (Constitutionalists), which is ideologically similar to the Christian democrats in Europe. They are well incorporated in Egyptian society, and the majority of them are not clerics, but representative of a large portion of the Egyptian middle class. The Egyptian Revolt is far from being compared to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran -- Egyptian Islamists do not have a Mullah-Imam leader who thinks he is infallible, nor any influence in the military institution. In contrast, if the U.S. wants the Arabs to have their reforms as it has been calling timidly before cameras and microphones during the ongoing crisis, it must support the reformists and the political parties left and right-wings -- to stabilize the region, strongly encourage the dynamic of change that is taking place, and allow a true orderly transition which could lead to a parliamentary system, as in Turkey.

In sum, the Arab masses are not simply asking for bread, but are asking to remove the dread of the dictatorships. For them, a new and relevant leader is one who gives them hope and respects their dignity, not by manipulating them, stealing their wealth, and fooling his Masters. People in the region are accustomed to anything, but gradually will get to real change and refute the change in the continuity as the U.S. wants, by giving them extra money to buy bread. Egyptians now want the cake of their revolt and not the croutons of the regime.


The views expressed in the articles published here are those of the authors alone. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Sociology of Islam or Portland State University.