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RANYA KHALIFA: "Democracy Digest"...


From revolution to constitution...who will sprint to the finish line?

Posted on May 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Egypt is definitely in a state of fluidity, fluctuation, exhaustion, unemployment, inflation...you name it, we have it.  And yet, I get this feeling that keeps tugging at my heart that there is a sleeping tiger out there waiting to sprint to the finish line.  That tiger will use everything and every means to win the trophy and be crowned "King".  For the time being, that tiger is not striped with dense black lines, but is rather camouflaged, inconspicuous and laying low, wanting desperately to blend in as much as possible, until the opportune moment, when it will show its real colors....

You may have guessed the true identity of "the sleeping tiger".  I would have much preferred the tale of "sleeping beauty", but I'll keep that notion in mind for another blogpost!!  Yes, I am talking about the Muslim Brotherhood and their seeming nonchalance towards current controversial "hot-spots" in the political landscape in Egypt.  Their every move is meticulously calculated, so as not to draw much public scrutiny or antagonism.  When revolutionary youth went to protest in front of the Israeli embassy in Giza, the MB were mostly absent from the scene, claiming that trying to break into an embassy is against the law and is against Egypt's interests (of course breaking into an embassy is against the law).  When youth decide to march on Gaza in a show of solidarity with their Palestinian brethren, the MB makes a disappearing act and claims that marching onto Gaza should not be a priority now as it could jeopardize Egypt's collective efforts to move forward on our own political and economic development.  Tomorrow"s May 27th (Day of Rage") will also be boycotted by the MB.  Is this a calculated break with the "revolutionary youth"??  Is the MB trying to take the moral high-ground and refraining from any act that would jeopardize its honeymoon with mainstream public opinion, not to mention the MB's appeasing stance with SCAF??

I am not saying that the MB's position is flawed or hypocritical, it is free to carve out its own position on matters, I am just saying that it is desperately trying not to "step on SCAF's toes"...because if the MB is my "sleeping tiger", then SCAF could be considered either my  "wicked witch of the forest" or perhaps, as some surmise, SCAF may turn out to be "Little Red Riding Hood" who's completely naive and lost in the wilderness, but desperately trying to get to save the ailing grandmother who's on her death bed??  You take your pick depending on which side you're on and who you are really rooting for in this story of epic proportions...  One thing is for sure now though, the Muslim Brotherhood will no longer be viewed as Robin Hood, who is fighting off the king and his men in order to give to the poor, justifying his means for his end....the MB has just inaugurated their first "overt headquarters" in Mokattum, boasting grandeur and "handsome interiors"....if anything, the MB is now flaunting its wealth whereas other new arrivals on the political scene are scrambling to make the cut...

If you ask me, I am still of the opinion that the largest and most powerful political party out there is the so-called "Sofa Party", or in twitter terminology, the #kanaba party...despite the number of leftist, liberal and Islamist parties that have colored our political landscape as of late, the vast majority of Egyptians have not yet joined a political party nor are they clear as to whether or not they even want to join a political party at all.  And I am certain that as the parliamentary elections draw nearer, come September, this mighty "sleeping beauty" will wake up and have a decisive hand to deal in our parliamentary elections outcome.  Which way will the wind blow?? Could the MB garner enough support to win 30-40% of parliamentary seats? In my opinion, that will depend on many factors:

1) How the media will portray the different political game-players; mainstream media will have a huge role to play here;

2) How the different political parties will campaign in governorates and rural areas; what do these parties have to offer to the disenfranchised and destitute workers, with the number of unemployed on the increase (700,000 unemployed in the last three months - Al-Ahram Daily, May 25th/2011)?  i.e. what's their economic program?;

3) The potential success of newly formed parties in bringing the voices of their constituents to the those in executive and legislative positions...how much power do these newly formed parties "really" have vis-a-vis the MB's clout? 

4) Could these new parties "displace" or even compete on the grassroots level with the MB in terms of providing services to the needy?? Civil society will have a mighty role to play here.

As the MB boycotts tomorrow's "Day of Rage", the latter may be a decisive day and a public  "litmus test" in terms of the real popularity or support that the "revolutionary youth" have on the ground. Egypt and the entire world will be watching and listening to what the "revolutionary youth" will have to say out there.  Who will listen? Who will heed the message coming out of Tahrir?? It's a big day for political pundits.....

Categories: Egyptian Politics Today...

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