Standort: / Meldung: "One Step Forward, Three Bloody Steps Back"

Riem Higazi

Cultural mash-ups, political slip-ups, and other things that make me go hmmm.

6. 12. 2012 - 15:27

One Step Forward, Three Bloody Steps Back

The rollercoaster that is Egypt is anything but fun.

Hosni Mubarak resigned Friday afternoon, the 11th of February 2011, to be exact. I hosted a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, one-hour Reality Check Special at 12 noon the next day. It featured live 'feeds' (telephone broadcasts) with people from the United States and Germany (a reaction from Sammy Khamis who has gone on to contribute to FM4 online and on-air since), a Middle East analyst was in the studio with me and then, of course, there was the cautious yet clearly jubilant voice of Abdel-Rahman Hussein, a journalist based in Cairo. The overall tone of the show was that of incredulous joy, boosted mainly by my completely unprofessional inability to suppress the pride I had in young Egyptians and the hope I felt for them.

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood scuffle with Egyptian opposition protesters in front of the presidential palace


Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood scuffle with Egyptian opposition protesters in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, 05 December 2012.

I tried recently but I found I couldn't listen to that show now. It makes me feel sad, angry, and I'm going to come right out and say it, it makes me feel shame. Not so much because of my lack of professional decorum and my giddiness, but because of my incredible short-sightedness when it comes to the prospect of democracy in Egypt.

Since I'm in confessional mode, I may as well go for gold and tell you what pisses me off even more than my own stupidity - it is the fact that the revolutionaries, those social-media-savy, forward-thinking young people of Egypt, have been cuckolded by old-school old men, Mubarak's buddies who go by the convenient name of 'felool' which means 'remnant of the old regime' and that sounds alot like 'fool' in English except the old guys have proven to be quite cunning.

They played on the feeling of hope and accomplishment the revolutionaries had, promised they were on their side, and took advantage of a weary trust the exhausted Tahrir crowd proffered. The Felool then rubbed its conniving hands together and enlisted not the progressive, not even the moderate, but the steadfast and adamently old-fashioned Ikhwan, also known as the Muslim Brotherhood (this is an enlightening article on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood featuring the revelations of a former Big Cheese at the MB) .

The felool will do anything to maintain power so it arranged for a seemingly moderate Muslim Brotherhood President called Morsi who could appease the revolutionaries (even though many knew straight away that they were being played) while satisfying the millions of Egyptians who need a father-figure-type to make them feel assured that Egypt will always stay Egypt, the Egypt they know and love. Just minus Mubarak.


A file picture dated 02 June 2012, shows former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak looking on from a cage during his trial at the police academy in Cairo, Egypt. There are conflicting reports as to his current state of health and where he is exactly.

I know that sounds confusing and it totally is confusing because of the divide - millions of Egyptians want stability and if it means they have a President who gives himself powers above the law, so be it. Then there are the other millions who say NO WAY JOSE, we're done with the Pharaoh Presidents, thank you very much. There is also a divide which no one really wants to talk about for fear of either sounding ignorant or elite - there is also a divide between the formally educated and the illiterate... Of course there are divisions again within those groups but I don't know how many times I have heard resentment from each group due to educational status.

So, here we are. President Morsi gets a pat on the back from the United States one day (for supposedly brokering a peace deal between Israel and Gaza two weeks ago) and gets called out for being a sneaky oppressor by hundreds of thousands back on the square (Tahrir) the next day. He gave himself ultimate powers and then pushed through a draft of a constitution that was written by a bunch of felools and MBs and so the revolutionaries came out for Revolution Reloaded but now, a stand-off is taking place which leads me back to the shame I have for having thought Egypt was finally moving ahead.

The stand-off isn't between police/army and Egyptians, it's now between the revolutionaries and the MB. And we all know that saying: when two parties are at battle, the third party wins and that third party is the good ol' felool.

I've got a vested interest in all this. I'm half-Egyptian as I've proudly told you a gazillion times and large portions of my identity is a direct result of the political climate Egypt had on offer some 40 years ago. This stuff matters to me. It has been a source of frustration for me that I have been unable to join family members and friends on Tahrir but I've tried to do my part by making sure their voices have been heard and by reporting on the rollercoaster ride which has been Egypt these past almost two years.

If I could broadcast my own voice now, not as a journalist but as a half-Egyptian and a supporter of democracy in the country of my birth, my voice would not be giddy or particularly hopeful these days. It would sound forceful and would shout, "TOGETHER!" I think the only way forward at this point, is for the revolutionaries to make a concerted effort to engage the progressive and moderate MBs and for them to give the felool the middle finger for once and for all.

This is obviously an opinion piece.

Karim El Gawhary, ORF correspondent in Cairo, gives a first-hand account of clashes between pro and anti-Morsi Egyptians in Cairo last night...

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