A year ago, your organisation was riding a wave, you had it all. Just over half of the Egyptian people put their trust in the hands of your presidential candidate Mohammad Mursi; the rest were apprehensive but willing to give him a chance. They counted on him to preserve their newly-born democracy; they believed him when he said he would be a president for all Egyptians. He failed dismally on all counts - even you wouldn’t argue with that because no one among you has even attempted to gloss his miserable record.
You feel cheated, but if anyone deserves your anger it is Mursi, who was driving the nation towards bankruptcy and polarisation. He lost the confidence of the police, the judiciary, the media and the revolutionary youth. He was blind to his own faults, comforted by assurances from the American Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson that the US had his back. And with the specter of civil war looming, he ignored advice to adopt a more inclusive style of governance from members of his own cabinet, EU envoys and the man he appointed Army Chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi who, with great reluctance, acted on June 3rd to rescue Egypt from a crippling downward spiral.
If the man you still refer to as “president” were a true patriot, faced with tens of millions calling for his ouster on June 30th, he would have stepped aside to prevent turmoil and bloodshed. He could have resigned, thus retaining his dignity while permitting the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to compete in upcoming elections. That would have been the decent thing to do; it’s called being an honourable loser. However, I’m sorry to say that Mursi has been less than honourable; to this day, he insists that he’s still his country’s legitimate president – or so say those international dignitaries who’ve been afforded access to him. But I would respectfully contend that the words ‘honour’ and ‘patriotism’ are absent from your dictionary as well.
While the interim government is doing its utmost to put the nation back on track, politically, economically and socially, and has urged you to take part in this process, you are bent on destroying their efforts. Worse, you seem to be actively courting civil war. You only have to look at Syria’s devastation to know that bloodletting serves benefits no one apart from Al Qaida and other terrorist groups that circle around corpses like vultures. You maintain your sit-ins in Rabaa Adawiya and Nahda are ‘peaceful’, representing the democratic right of citizens to protest. If that were the case, then why do your speakers who take to the stage at Rabaa urge your following to embrace martyrdom and encourage children as young as five-years-old to march carrying their own shrouds?
Is it right that your clerics label their fellow Egyptian Muslims “Infidels” deserving of being killed? Why do you send your minions with weapons to storm national security installations, police stations and the media city when retaliation is a given? And how do you answer those victims of your torture who appear on local TV channels severely bruised with broken limbs and, in some instances, minus their fingers, their lurid accounts supported by Amnesty International? There is no honour in hiding behind the skirts of women and the innocence of children - many removed from orphanages according to the head of Egypt’s National Council for Women Mervat AlTallawy - to oil your PR campaign and deter the police from using force to dismantle your encampments.
Your set-in-stone demands cannot be met. You know that. Let’s suppose the government accepted the reinstatement of Mursi, the Islamist-weighed constitution and the Upper House. How do you think the 30 plus millions on the other side would react? Would they simply shrug their shoulders and fade away? Of course not! There would be yet another revolution. You have fed unrealistic expectations to your frenzied following that will not forgive you unless they can hoist “President” Mursi on their shoulders. You’ve backed yourselves into a corner, discredited the concept of political Islam and fomented inter-community hatreds. The tragic outcome is that men with beards and women wearing niqab complain of verbal abuse while out and about and taxis/minibuses passing them by. Visibly devout Muslims, both those with you and those who do not support you, are being victimised as a result of your outpouring of bile.
Now that you’ve lost the support of just about every friend you had, including the US, the EU and Qatar - even Hamas is distancing itself from you - you need to take stock. Eschew revenge on your own Egyptian brothers and sisters. Accept this political fait accompli and retain the shards of your credibility by sending home those poor indoctrinated people camped out in Rabaa and Nahda. Use these coming months to re-group, re-strategise and reconcile in preparation for upcoming elections. A bright future awaits all Egyptians. Economic fundamentals are in place and democracy will be restored with or without you. The choice is yours. Embrace this new dawn in Egypt’s history or become a pariah with no place to go except underground.
Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org