I’ve been brewing in disbelief and disappointment for the past two weeks and thought it may be better to just get it all out. As I elections neared and the Mubarak trial verdict became clear, the exact opposite of what I would except happened all throughout Egypt.
For the trial, Mubarak was given a life sentence while mainly everyone else involved in the corruption (including his sons) got a free pass. That much I expected, given that the judge was pro the Mubarak regime. And while people were unsatisfied with the results, it didn’t change the one thing I assumed it would change: who they’re voting for. Let me just that I’m not a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) by far. That’s not to say I oppose the brotherhood either, but I’ve always believed that they run better as a religious organization rather than a political one. However given my definite and firm stance against the old regime, I could never bring myself to have any liking for Shafik, who represents everything the old regime did. Coming from a guy who’s declared and will keep declaring that Mubarak is his idol because he was able to keep his personal views from his work, I didn’t understand how that could sound appealing (or even logical) to anyone. I mean, if the judge was pro-Mubarak and the president is pro-Mubarak, then isn’t it very likely and plausible that Mubarak’s so-called sentence will be nullified? With or without public knowledge?
So when I say I expected people who were undecided to shift their stances to be anti-Shafik (thus pro-Morsi in the elections but not necessarily supporting him as a candidate), I suppose I was only deluding myself at the much larger power at work: the media. So, here’s my interpreted breakdown of what happened/what’s happening ever since the revolution.
There are five major powers in Egypt: president, parliament, supreme court, military (SCAF), and government-sponsored media. The revolution took away two of those powers: the president and the parliament. Ever since then, the military, which was still with the old regime, vowed to take over until elections. Then, voting for the parliament happened, with majority votes going to FJP and Noor (Salafists) party members. This gave the “Islamists,” so to say, one of the five powers. Then, with the presidential elections, the pro-revolutionaries (who I supported but can’t help criticizing anyway) were too greedy and power-hungry, which left votes divided votes between the two candidates (Aboul Fotouh and Hamdeen), deeming neither in the final race. With backup from the other three powers, the old regime was able to establish a well-strategized propaganda program that was anti-MB. This allowed a lot of people to favor Shafik over Morsi for the re-runs (for Egyptians living in Egypt) because people became scared that FJP would take over everything, when in reality they would still only hold two of the five major powers. In addition, the old regime also knew that parliament would be a problem with their differing views, so the supreme court took away their powers as of Thursday June 14th, and Egypt’s left with four pending five major powers back in the hands of the old regime.
I have no faith that the elections won’t be rigged this time around. And even if they weren’t, the anti-Morsi/anti-FJP stance engraved within people is so strong, Shafik will most definitely be the victor. The only surprising thing about this to me is that the decision of parliament was taken before the final elections. I expected it, but not this early.
So, with all the media manipulation, I can’t tell whether Egyptians are ikhwanophobic (ikhwan means brotherhood in Arabic and is popularly used to refer to MB) or just plain islamophobic. Even if about 90% of the population is Muslim. It’s kind of ironic, but I see it as an extension to what’s happening in the U.S. with regards to Islamophobia. But can you imagine wide-spread Christianophobia in the U.S. when it’s the main religion there? Not likely, which is why I say I can’t differentiate whether the hate and fear stemming in Egypt is against the Muslim Brotherhood and FJP or against Islam. Although given that FJP stands for an Islamic ideology, I suppose there may just be a gray area there. No one wants Iran 2.0 or even Saudi Arabia 2.0. And no one wants obligatory female circumcision (YIKES!), but the media has been very tactical in what’s being spread about FJP. Even as FJP members continue to denounce this seeming nonsense. It’s honestly gotten to the point where people now believe that FJP and Muslim Brotherhood members were the ones who killed the martyrs of the revolution. Uh…nevermind that most of them were still in jail at the time due to oppression from the Mubarak regime. Or the reports given that they were protecting girls from being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square. Or that the military and the Mubarak regime was behind all of this. One politician has said “if you listen to local news, you’d think that Morsi was the former prime minister under a corrupted regime,” which is absolutely spot-on. I’ve honestly began to wonder whether people think Shafik is some kind of God-sent angel who will apparently restore the country to a chimerical nirvana.
Honestly, if Morsi is elected, people will easily revolt against every little mistake he makes, and given that all other powers (including the supreme court) aren’t allied with FJP, he will likely be punished. However, if Shafik wins, then his trial will look something like the Mubarak trial. Which is neither fair nor even true. For all we know, Mubarak is in “jail” at a beach resort somewhere having the time of his life while media outlets claim he’s in life-threatening condition. Right. He was also in a life-threatening medical condition last year during the revolution, but he seems fine a year later.
Most Egyptians living outside of the Egypt, whether Christian or Muslim will not vote for Shafik. Many of the higher academics who were closely affiliated with the revolution, and many of whom are opposed to FJP, are voting Morsi because to them, Shafik is not an option for a continuing revolution. Amr Moussa, the other candidate in the preliminary elections who stood for the old regime, is even opposed to Shafik! I totally understand that FJP comes with bad baggage, but guess what? We tried the other option. FOR 30 YEARS!
Einstein said that insanity is repeating the same actions over and over expecting different results. So, if you want to vote for Shafik, fine. But please don’t be so disillusioned that it will be different than the regime he stands for. That said, nothing short of a miracle will declare Morsi the victor in this unfair race.