بيانات صحفية / مواقف
An Egyptian renaissance 03/07/2013
By Oudeh Basharat
In 1918, ten years before the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, a delegation (wafd in Arabic) was organized, in order to demand that the British grant Egypt its independence. It was led by Saad Zaghloul, who was called “leader of the nation.” Before the delegation set off, prominent Egyptians signed a petition in support of the group using its power to work peacefully (salmiya in Arabic) to achieve independence and “the implementation of the principles of freedom and justice.” On this basis, the al-Wafd party, which won most elections it contested, was later formed.
This is part of the explanation for the exhilarating phenomenon that is unfolding before our eyes, when 17 million Egyptians from across the country rose up against the Brotherhood. This flies in the face of those who tried to convince us that if the Brotherhood rose to power, total bedlam − a war of Gog and Magog − would erupt throughout the land. Well, the Brotherhood rose and the Brotherhood fell and amazingly the sun continues to shine. Egypt is returning to its roots. And Egyptian roots aren’t buried in violent religious profiteering or in the dictatorship of Mubarak, but in the magnificent heritage of Saad Zaghloul, which itself is the product of the Arabic renaissance that dates from the beginning of the 18th century until the start of the 19th century.
And thus, in January 2011, when the youth instinctually adopted the way of salmiya they were in fact continuing along the path their grandfathers chose 93 years ago. And now, in response to the demagoguery of the Brotherhood, which believes that the electoral ballots give them the power to destroy the democracy that brought them to govern, these youth have adopted the model of the petition from those days, in their call for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to resign. To date, 22 million people have signed the petition.
True, in their return to the magnificent roots of the 7,000 year-old Egyptian civilization they had no choice but to pass through the dark halls of the Brotherhood, but within a year they passed the test. During these formative hours, the Egyptian people are returning to the heritage of their forefathers in its new incarnation: “Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.” All this is expressed quite beautifully in the famous 1919 song by Egyptian singer Sayed Darwish, “Oum Ya Masry” (“Rise, You Egyptian”). Among the song’s lyrics it says, “Love your neighbor more than you love life. What does it mean Christians, Muslims or Jews...we are all the descendants of one grandfather.” Here you have the beautiful Egypt in three lines, which should be brought to the attention of those brainwashed by the nation state.
Last Sunday, Egyptian religious leader Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi pleaded with the masses to give Morsi another year. At present, Morsi is asking for just half a year. To loosely translate an Arabic expression, “His time has passed.” Prominent Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Eissa has urged Morsi’s sons to convince their father to hop on a flight abroad in order to save him and the Egyptian people the shame of removing a president.
During Sunday’s giant demonstrations, the people’s anger was also directed at Ann Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt. According to author Alaa al-Aswany, Patterson is the one who convinced the American administration to support the Brotherhood, arguing that only the Brotherhood could protect American and Israeli interests. This is yet more proof of the stupidity of Middle East experts who see Arabs only through the lens of their dictators.
What’s more, Egyptians see a connection between, on the one hand, the pressure Morsi placed on Hamas to agree to a ceasefire with Israel in December and, on the other hand, American support for the draconian measures taken by the Egyptian president to undermine the legal system, including the passage of the controversial constitution. They see a connection between the love heaped upon Morsi by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres and the steps Morsi took the day after the ceasefire agreement.
The day will come when the dramatic waves of change in Egypt sweep the entire Middle East. Israel, which is taking a position that contradicts the desire of the Egyptian people, would be wise to begin to change its way of thinking if it doesn’t want to find itself going against the current of the Arab Spring that is reawakening.