There is a well-known story about the legendary wisdom of King Solomon, known in Arabic as ”Solomon the Wise”, which keeps on coming to my mind these days. The story goes that two women went to the King, fighting over a baby whom each claimed was her son
There is a well-known story about the legendary wisdom of King Solomon, known in Arabic as ”Solomon the Wise”, which keeps on coming to my mind these days. The story goes that two women went to the King, fighting over a baby whom each claimed was her son. King Solomon called for a sword and gave an order to cut the child in two and give a half to each of the women. At that point one of them cried: “No, no! Don’t cut it! Give it to her” while the other said: “Cut it. Then neither of us will have it.” King Solomon ordered the child given to the first woman whom he was sure then was the mother because she couldn’t bear to see her son killed.
War against Egypt
I keep on recalling this story when I see what the Muslim Brothers (MB) are doing to Egypt. They behave as though they do not care for Egypt; worse, as though the death of Egyptians and the nation’s ruin serve their interest. Since Mursi and his MB regime were overthrown on 3 July in the wake of the 33 million-strong nationwide protest which led the army to step in, the MB have waged a war against the Egyptian people, savagely killing some 20 and injuring about 3000.
True, in clashes between them and the army, some 50 MB members lost their lives, but this was upon an attempt by the MB to break into army barracks.
The MB have vocally threatened a war of terror against civilians; to date three bombs have been found in public places, fortunately before they went off. Two were found in the central metro station at Tahrir Square, one of them one-and-a-half minutes before it should have exploded, and the third near the Giza Zoo. An early morning bus carrying workers to a cement plant near Arish in North Sinai was shot at, killing three men and injuring 17. And it looks like there are more terrorist operations to come.
Putting Egypt first
It is a fact that, once the presidential elections held in May/June last year were over, the MB occupied Tahrir Square in central Cairo and announced Mursi the winner, even though the vote count had barely begun. They noisily dared to threaten to “burn Egypt” if Mursi were not declared the winner. When, some 10 days later, Mursi was declared president of Egypt, his supporters rejoiced while those who had voted for his opponent Ahmed Shafiq—and, far from being few, they were 49 per cent of the voters—kept their calm despite their bitter disappointment. I say ‘bitter disappointment’ because it was not a competition between two presidential candidates as such; it was a battle between those who desired an Islamist Egypt and those who wished to see an ‘Egyptian’ Egypt. Anyway, the result was that the Islamists won. Shafiq’s supporters swallowed their defeat, Shafiq himself congratulated Mursi and wished him success, and Egypt’s non-Islamists kept their calm and gave the Islamist president a chance. It was unthinkable for them to risk Egypt’s safety and interest even if the price was that Egypt was being ‘stolen’ from under their noses.
Mursi’s Islamist hegemony
What followed is now history. During their year in power the MB worked to entrench their authority; impose their hegemony over each and every State institution; exclude non-Islamists and flagrantly Islamise Egypt; and expose their prime loyalty to Islamist non-Egyptians such as the Palestinian Hamas, Gaza, and Syria. Mursi consolidated power in his hands by decreeing his decisions immune to being contested in court, as also the Islamist parliament and the panel that was then writing a new constitution. The MB manipulated the will of the people in shady elections and referendum, and Mursi pushed through an Islamist constitution for Egypt. To cap it all, the economy nosedived; jobs were lost, prices spiralled out of control; and grinding shortages of bread, fuel, and electricity became all too common. The result was that Mursi and the MB lost all public support other than that of the Islamists themselves. Mursi, however, threw all opposition to the wind, and contemptuously and belligerently refused to do anything to show he understood the pain of the people or was willing to meet their needs.
The message to Egyptians was all too obvious. If the Islamists remained in power it was goodbye to democracy and goodbye to Egypt itself. The democratic bodies which in any democracy guarantee that those in authority are responsible to the people and which secure systematic, peaceful power rotation had already been fully Islamised. Now the Islamists had clearly revealed they were determined to remain in power, whatever the cost. If democracy stood in their way, then democracy could easily be reduced to a sham, and this would simply lend legitimacy to their rule. In three years’ time, when it was time for the next presidential elections, Egyptians could be sure of only one thing: the new ‘democratically elected’ president would be an Islamist. There would be no more ‘Egypt’; the country would merely be one among many in what would constitute a wider Islamic caliphate or Dar al-Islam (Home of Islam). The age-old Egyptian identity, culture, pluralism, and moderation would have been things of the past.
Egyptians chose to rebel. On 30 June they took to the streets in their millions to rescue their Egypt and their nascent democracy. What many in the world saw as a coup against democracy was in fact to salvage democracy and Egyptianness.
The ‘free world’
So what did the Islamists do? They savagely turned against Egypt. Noisily, arrogantly and ferociously they declared a vicious war against fellow Egyptians. What a contrast to what the Egyptian non-Islamists had done a year before when Mursi was declared the winner! If we go back to the story of King Solomon, who is the true mother in Egypt today?
Yet Egyptians are being asked to ‘include’ and conciliate with the Islamists who have declared war against them. Ironically, the civic State the non-Islamists are demanding is the only type of State that can include all. Yet those who are waging the war are rejecting such conciliation, even while those who claim to be the ‘free world’ are sympathising with them. The Western media does not even report the savage Islamist attacks for what they really are; they report them as “clashes” between Mursi supporters and opponents. The very word “clashes”—which places victim and offender on equal footing, while in fact the non-Islamist victims are peaceful civilians carrying on with their daily activities or are at best unarmed protestors, and the Islamists are vengefully aggressive—is in itself is a painful insult to those who are beheaded, mutilated, tortured, or abused at the hands of Mursi supporters. And the West claims to be the free world and to sympathise with this kind of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’?
However, Egypt has reached the point where there is no turning back; Egyptians—and they are in the millions—will sacrifice their lives, but will never again hand their Egypt over to the Islamists, who are in the thousands. Did the free world ever forgive, include, or conciliate with Hitler or his supporters, the 1970s Baader Meinhof in Germany or the Red Brigades in Italy? And did anyone ever demand that?
24 July 2013