Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ikwhan Interlude

While it is admittedly fun to LOL girl hating Aegypt's self imposed Ikwhan Immolation sans modesty or restraint - Polislam - the polical cache of 7th century m"Hammedism may actually be only an interlude...
Since the coup d’état against the country’s first freely-elected president, Muhammad Mursi, one might have the impression that the Brotherhood’s “moment” in Egypt lasted 12 months, after an eighty-four year prelude. The Brethren, who rose to prominence in opposition to British imperialism and Westernizing secular dictators, have, so the story goes, immolated themselves in just a year of grossly incompetent government. Grossly incompetent governance has been the norm in Egypt; popular sovereignty is new. There is no denying that millions of Egyptians who’d five times voted for Brotherhood candidates and its constitution, turned against the Ikwhan in massive demonstrations. There is also little doubt that many among the Brethren were shocked by the size of these rallies.

The Westernization of the Egyptian poor has been in retreat for over forty years. The vast slums of Cairo—the broken-concrete-and-cracked-brick neighborhoods of low-rising apartments with open sewers, where only mosques and local clerics offer a sense of community and order—are hothouses for m"Hammedism. This is not Facebook Cairo, where alienated, deplorably-educated, unskilled youth express their anger digitally and their community through demonstrations.

Local clerics, let alone the cultish, secretive godfathers of the Brotherhood, do not command Cairo’s slums—though local imams and popular preachers are certainly more influential than any representative of a state institution. The faith, with its traditional, “natural” fusion with politics, profoundly matters among the poor and the lower middle class. Among them the Egyptian army, the security services, and the police—all unreformed since the fall of Mubarak—are viewed suspiciously, if not hostilely. The new-found love affair between the army and Egypt’s secular liberals, who have in twelve months come to the conclusion that they need the military to check Islamist power, will likely do nothing to diminish the skepticism that Egypt’s devout have for army officers and their cohorts.

Saudi cash, which has been pouring into Cairo since Mursi’s fall (the Saudi royal family fears the populist Islamism of the Brethren), will not last forever. Economic judgment day is coming and it’s by no means clear that the secular crowd will do any better than Mursi did.

They may well do much worse. Economic revitalization in Egypt won’t happen unless the poor accept the pain that will come with shrinking the country’s unsustainable subsidies and state-owned enterprises.

The Brotherhood’s senior leadership may not recover from the coup. Individualism and a distaste for hierarchy—both Western imports—have had their way among Islamists, too. The Salafis of the Nour Party, who took nearly thirty percent of the judicially-scrapped parliamentary vote (much more than any secular party), are new-age fundamentalists, who may gain at the Brotherhood’s expense. But only the deluded, the naive, and the politically deceitful (Western fans of the coup come in all three categories) can believe that Islamism’s “moment” in Egypt has passed.

More likely, it’s just having an interlude.

Pic - "The New Chapter Of Fear"