Reconciliation

Right now, we have an Egyptian President who holds the executive powers, the legislative powers, power over the military, and the power to veto the drafted constitution or create another constitutional committee if he wishes. If this alone wasn’t disconcerting enough, let’s add to it the fact that there is no organized opposition to him, he seems intent on continuing the time-honored tradition of hiring loyalist unqualified hacks and lackeys for important government positions, he doesn’t seem to have any intentions of being democratic or even create a government out of the coalition that he created, with his supporters viscously attacking anyone who criticizes him, sometimes with religious overtones.

One would think that such a president must have a huge mandate to be able to pull this kind of crap on all of us, but surprisingly enough, he doesn’t. He won with 51% , with almost half of his votes coming from secular revolutionary voters who simply didn’t want Shafiq to win. In reality, if someone did the math, one would realize that at least 17 million of the 25 million voters who voted in the presidential elections did not vote to have the Muslim Brotherhood take over the shaping of the Egyptian post-revolution state, and actually belong on the secular side. The Problem is, this secular majority is so divided amongst revolutionaries and Shafiqistas, that a reconciliation, despite its utterly logical necessity at the moment, is completely out of the question. Why? Only two reasons: perspective and political symbols.

Let’s start with the perspectives problem, and outline the 3 major points of contention: 1) The Mubarak state, 2) presidential elections and 3) character, and tackle them one by one. Shafiqistas believe that a corrupt and possibly murderous state is better than having no state, since they believe correctly that millions would suffer at the absence of state institutions, and incorrectly that such a state can be reformed with time, while Revolutionaries believe that no state is better than having a corrupt and murderous state, and that such a state would need to be brought down and rebuilt correctly for the sake of our long-term benefit, even if in the meantime millions end up suffering the absence of what little state they had. Shafiqistas will not forgive that revolutionaries have chosen to invalidate their votes or vote for Morsy in the second round of the presidential elections instead of voting for Shafiq, while revolutionaries will not forgive Shafiqistas for voting for Shafiq in the first round of elections instead of Sabahy, or Amr Moussa or even Abulfotouh. Shafiqstas believe that it should be apparent for anyone by now that the revolution was a mistake, and that the revolutionaries are too cowardly to admit this, while revolutionaries believe that the revolution was right and had to happen regardless of the consequences, and that the Shafiqistas are too cowardly to face our problems, hence why they always supported security forces oppression as a solution to our countries ills, instead of fixing them, which brought on the revolution. In conclusion, Shafiqistas are pragmatist realists to a point that is unacceptable to revolutionaries, and revolutionaries are Utopian idealists to the point of naïveté to Shafiqistas, and both sides believe that the other side owes them an apology and should uncompromisingly adopt their point of view immediately. Did I also mention that both sides are silly? No? Well, they are. Ridiculously so.

Both sides are silly because their point of contention doesn’t matter anymore, and what unites them is so much more than what divides them. The argument over the state is moot, because we live in a Mirage state and in reality no longer have one, so, the focus should be how to build it right this time around and not over who dropped the ball. The argument over the presidential elections is stupid because they are over, and if we are truly democratic, we should be able to respect each other’s choices and not hold it against them now. As for the Character debate, well, besides the ridiculous notions that each side has about the other, if you are serious about loving this country and rebuilding it, you need both. You need utopian idealists and pragmatic realists if we hope to make something of this mess we call a country. We don’t live in Switzerland. We have so many problems one doesn’t even know where to begin, and we are stuck in this country together. And here is where we agree: We want a state that respects all of our rights, one where government services function, one where corruption doesn’t rule supreme and where the arts are not considered satanic distractions. We want a country that we can be proud of and that has a future. But If this is the case, why can’t we reconcile?

Well, we can’t reconcile primarily for the second reason: Our symbols. Both sides are not only silly mirrors of each other when it comes to organization or personal beliefs so strong they border on demagoguery, but also when it comes to our political symbols and leaders: They all suck. Reconciliation is a process that requires both sides to have mature respectable political leadership, which is lacking for the revolutionaries and the Shafiqistas. The revolutionaries symbols are big on platitudes, but have no real experience or solutions beyond theoretical ones and are too cowardly to take risky stands, and Shafiqistas symbols are so nonexistent, that they have to pretend that people like Okasha, Abu Hamed and Mostafa Bakry are respectable representations of them, which they are not, but it’s all they have. It should go without saying that those symbols and leaders, on both sides, should be retired by their respective audience due to their utter failure to do something productive, but for some odd reason this is not happening, and hence our current state of limbo.

But here is a thought: maybe we shouldn’t push for reconciliation just yet, but support things that are in our common benefit, like pushing for the next elections law to have a nation-wide closed-list voting system. Under this system all of Egypt would be considerd one district, with each party offering a list of 500 names, and based on the total votes nation-wide a party receives, they are allocated a proportional amount of seats in the parliament. This would ensure that every vote everywhere counts, and give people the freedom to vote for whomever they truly support, instead of having to compromise and vote for the least evil in their district, like the current system demands it. Think about the voting results for the presidential elections in the first round, and imagine if each candidate represented a party, and got allocated seats in parliament based on their total votes, and then ask yourself this: how appealing would such a parliament be, compared to the alternative? The first round showed that Islamists have 35% maximum of the vote, but due to superior organization and districting, they manage to beat everyone else. Let’s put an end to this, and have a voting system that leaves no vote behind, no matter if you are a revolutionary or a Shafiqista or anyone else for that matter. Let every faction get equal representation to its side first, and then we can worry all we want about reconciliation.

 

Comments

  1. One point in this blog item got me ROTFL.

    Egypt has district based election system. You propose switching to the single-district election system, like the one being used in Israel.
    Before pursuing this, bear in mind that in Israel, people are not too happy with their election system and would like to switch to hybrid district/national system.

  2. As long as half the population (or more) can’t read or think properly then how much can actually be changed? You need a sizable pool of reasonable people to build a reasonable, functioning society. So for Egypt, the three Rs should be a top priority, as well as installing crap detectors in the people’s minds.

  3. You play fast and loose with election results to suit your beliefs. you claim 17 million, some 70% didn’t vote for the Muslim brotherhood to take over. Well no one voted for the Muslim brotherhood to take over!… However in the election for parliament and the shura around 70% did vote for parties with an obvious Islamic bent. In the presidential elections few believe the results were completely real but we heaved a sigh of relief that even with the fraud we all suspect SCAF couldn’t hide that Shafiq lost. Mursi won and took not only MB votes but also many of those who had voted for AF. or Sabbahi To claim that those are “secular” voters is bollocks! Again most have an islamic bent and may prefer other options such as the current or wasat or AF but they are no way “secularists” in the sense you imply. Then we have the Salafis….some of them voted for Shafiq if anything in Egypt can be believed!!! And then you have Sabbahis voters many also voted for Shafiq (though not as many as the results indicate I warrant)

    So who do you actually think should be party to this pact you describe….the real rump NDP and the fundamentalist secularists and communist/socialists…. Well good luck to you. You probably have around 20% of the electorate that might back you. Well done and good luck in future elections. Personally I see the FJP perhaps winning another election before it inevitably splits into at least two more parties and we will see a political landscape with the following parties dominating the landscape. FJP Right, FJP Left, Salafi Loons, Salafi Trendy, AF Modern Muslims, Even More Modern Young Muslims and Slightly Boring Middle of the Road Wasat. Of course there will still be the corrupt fundamentalist secularists in opposition, hand on heart do you really think Egyptians will freely elect that lot ever again??? Experience in the region has shown the scum have only risen and stayed at the top with violence not free elections. Stuffy and unimaginative as the MB may be we can now count on elections and an opportunity for civil society to have a voice and the majority want a role for ilsmaic morals in our society. I know this must hurt for some like you who despise talk of morality…I am sorry for you and hope you can perhaps address you anger and hatred and tackle you nafs!!! good luck

  4. Latifa says; “I know this must hurt for some like you who despise talk of morality…”.
    Do you imply that MB talks of morality? Is morality only defined by what to wear? eat or drink? . What the MB & supporters positions on treatments of servers/maids in the gulph states& Saudi Arabia? arethey morally correct? What about treatments of christians in Egypt and ME are they morally correct? Morality comes from individual within not by government chosen headlines sponsored by outside money to help lead the country in divisive direction .

    • Definitly Domo, the practice of morality comes from within and from each individual doing his best. Of course the source of morality is both internal (in our fitra or God given conscience) and external. That is moral values are not decided individually but are understood individually. The moral universe represents the eternal absolutes as described by Plato or of course in a muslim context as indicated in the names of God Justice mercy, love compassion. I don’t expect the MB to be 100% saints but what I do know is that the vast majority of Egyptians want their political leaders to subscribe to an Islamic philosophy and to set in front of them and us as the society islamic ideals of behaviour and interaction. How well we do on that path is up to us individually.

      To paraphrase…whoever worships the MB let them know that they will eventually lose power but whoever worships God let them know he is voted for by all in the heavens and earth whether thay know it or not!

      • The problem with Egyptian voters is they are taught to believe that “justice, mercy, love, compassion” are only islamic values.
        These values belong to all religions even some polytheist ones and can even be upheld by atheists!!!!
        And pray tell what does “fundamentalist secularist” mean and couldn’t there not be Non corrupt secularists? One does not have to be religious to be honest….
        Islamic ideals of behavior and interaction? Really? How is that different than say a christian or Hindu ideals except in their dress and cultural habits?
        Any democracy worth its salt must rely on secularism in government and leave religion in the private sphere.

        • what utter nonesense…”any democracy worth its salt must rely on secularism” WHY????? And as to why islam is the choice for Egyptians as opposed to hinduism or such like,……errrr well let me see perhaps because 90% are Muslims….

          • So, Latifa and Domo, how are those clitorectomies working for you? I guess you can not miss what was given too you by Allah and taken from you by greybeards in your infancy.

  5. In the first round of the presidential elections the following 3 candidates achieved the first three positions:
    • Mursi (islamist; ‘Freedom and Justice Party’) – 24.78%
    • Shafiq (secular; military) – 23.66%
    • Sabahi (secular; left-nasserist ‘Dignity Party’) – 20.72%
    On balance, 57% non-islamist votes versus 43% islamist votes
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5723/analyzing-egyptian-presidential-election-vote

  6. The results of the 2nd round of the presidential elections were as follows:
    ca. 52% voted for Mursi,
    ca. 48% voted for Shafiq.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_presidential_election,_2012#Turnout

  7. Given its growing control over key government institutions and its unmatched mobilizing capabilities, the Muslim Brotherhood will likely remain Egypt’s most consequential political actor for many years to come. But who are the men who make up this uniquely cohesive and secretive “society,” and what impact will they have on the country’s domestic and foreign policy? …. read on:
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/whos-who-in-the-muslim-brotherhood

    • MB is the Egyptian/Arab world version of the freemasons brotherhood. They are helping progressing their main objective of establishing New World Order. Their naive supporters my scream in objection, but I whope MB will formally denounce Freemasons. Then I may admit I have been in error!!!!

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