It was 5 years ago that the proud nation of Egypt was going through its parliamentary elections, the first in forever with any semblance of fairness. We had the opposition mobilized (kinda), the ruling party actually faced a real challenge in the ballot box, and the Muslim Brotherhood was the roaring monster that we all feared and sorta expected them to be. That was 5 years ago. Democracy was on the tip of everybody’s tongue, and the whole world seemed to be invested in making it happen, thanks to the strong resolve of one man in power everyone likened to an idiot Monkey, who- with the help of 300,000 of his own soldiers in a nearby country- put the pressure and fear of God in the hearts of those who ruled us. That man was George W. Bush, and today, I miss him so.
You see, today a different guy is in charge. A man, with a smooth-tongue but very few principles, who changed the name of the game forever. Democracy was no longer the topic of conversation, but rather relegated to that of an after-thought. As strategic objectives go, it was no longer a priority. Stability, real politick, friendships with life-long dictators were the new objectives. The American people wanted it that way, or so it seemed to us, when they voted him into the White House. They just wanted to be liked instead of feared, and they ended up with neither. And they lost whatever respect that people had for them along the way.
But this post isn’t about them. It’s about us. Egyptians, and what the future holds for us.
Today, the people are encouraged to vote, even though they already know who is going to win, which is an amazing achievement since no one actually knows who the fuck the candidates are. You see, we were given all of 3 weeks to have people nominate themselves and run and win. To be fair though, the same thing applied to the NDP’s candidates, who found themselves in the weirdest of all political situations: The ruling party decided to field 2 candidates on the majority of seats, resulting the cartoonish situation where NDP candidates are running against NDP candidates. It’s not that the NDP doesn’t believe in primaries or favors one candidate more than the other. Au contraire, they already know amongst themselves who is going to win. But it helps to give the other guy hope, as he spends millions in below-the-line advertisement and vote buying. It stimulates the economy. It’s how the NDP gives back to the people.
Today, the Muslim Brotherhood will officially be declared politically dead, an announcement long overdue. They won’t win today, and not because of voter fraud or bullying (that’s just, ehh, bells and whistles if you may), but because the people in their districts are sick and tired of them, and have been for a long long time. Their districts are poorly serviced, the people’s requests fall on deaf ears, and the elected MP is more interested into playing opposition with the government over banning Books and censoring immorality on TV than actually the welfare of his people. Not to mention, their mobilization efforts are seriously lacking this year, since they have steadily lost recruitment in college campuses to Islamic charities, who allow islamicaly minded people to actually do development work (make things better for Egypt’s poor under an Islamic banner) without the stigma of belonging to an Islamic political movement that has vague objectives or guidelines, and one that doesn’t allow democratic elections in choosing its own leaders. What made it worse was the MB’s decision to abandon the flat organizational structure that benefitted them for so long (How are you to crush a movement that has no clear leaders?) and went with a Hierarchical organizational structure that is easily collapsible by taking out one floor from the echelon of command. The MB can no longer mobilize the youth effectively, because the youth have abandoned them, and the few who didn’t, well, they don’t exactly have leaders anymore. Disarray defines now what was once the most impressive grass-roots political operation in the country. Khalas. No more.
Now, the questions that some idiots who read this will ask: Well, if the MB’s candidates are so unpopular, why doesn’t the Government just allows for a fair elections where the MB will be humiliated, instead of all the soldiers, the arrests, and the shutdown of independent media outlets? Well, because all of this isn’t about the elections. You might think it is, since you can’t read the signs all around you, and the election date was coming up quick, but you are wrong and naïve. You see, the government has been going through a realignment of its own, and the Good old Boys at the National Security are back in charge, and they are not lazy or reactionary as the State Security apparatus that has been ruling us for the past 15 years. Nah, National Security people are plucked from the military and the intelligence apparatus (State security are chosen as the brightest the police have to offer, which is funny considering that intelligence was never the hallmark of the Egyptian police), and those puppies are into the long game and they want to showcase their power. Here are the new rules:
- We are not going back to the pre 2005 days, where no dissent or opposition or independent Media outlets were allowed to exist. No, these things will exist, but they will be better managed from now on. That door won’t be closed, but it won’t be totally open either; just enough to let some light in. The playing field will shrink, and the players will be given just enough freedom to move around in a very small circle, no more, no less. Those who attempt to play outside, will be crushed. End of Story.
- The Muslim Brotherhood will not die, but it will be capsized. It will retreat into the trenches, or sewers if you are me, from whence they emerged. The new Islamic movement now is Ansar AlSunnah, salafists who are more concerned with covering up their women than whomever is in power, and who believe that if you want a better leader, you should pray harder, and God will give us one. Praise Allah.
- The conversation with DC will be different from now on, thanks to the state of disarray the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in at the moment. Egypt is now the top Sunni player again in the region, and it has entrenched itself in the playing fields DC cares about the most (Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and , of course, Ghaza). They were behind Alawi winning the majority of seats in the Iraqi parliament and not a day goes by in the Lebanese circles where someone doesn’t mention the games the Egyptian intelligence are playing there in favor of the Sunnis. Hell, Saad AlHarriri is in Egypt twice a week now.
- The opposition will still be allowed to exist and to be an ineffective and inefficient as ever. The government needs them as a tool to showcase its strength, the same way they need the government to crush them so that they can continue soliciting money from whomever they can and issues statements on the net. There will be some approved opposition, like AlWafd party, mianly because they know they have them by the balls. They know their place, those Wafdis, and they will never forget it. The rest soon will.
And that is all.
Have a lovely day, and don’t forget to go to the polls and vote for two people on your ballots. That might invalidate your vote, but at least it won’t allow them to steal it. And in case you are wondering, this is how high the ceiling is now. Get used to it.
PS: You will notice I didn’t mention ElBaradei once in this post. That’s because he is irrelevant. A media invention. Sarah Palin without the organizational effort or the ground support, but with the same goal: Milk this Bitch dry. The more the Media talks about him, the more eligible he is for USAID Democracy funding, whatever is left of that. It would be nice if actually was in Egypt like 10% of the time though, instead of him leading “the change” from a first-class plane seat heading to some European country, where is slated to talk about the change he is symbolizing. Thanks Europe! You guys have always been the smart ones!