Home
Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  Opinion  >  Current Article

What went wrong in Egypt?

  /   41 Comments   /   23190 Views

What really went wrong in Egypt was how rigid its politics became, Ziad Akl writes

Ziad Akl

Ziad Akl

So, open confrontation is finally upon us. The time where political mediation would have been capable of preventing violence is long gone.

The 10 days that preceded the dispersal were simply a matter of settling on the most appropriate confrontation strategies and timings.

Both involved parties were out of political options. The army on one hand had to deliver what it promised when it asked for the people’s authorisation to confront violence. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood had no political will to reduce the number of casualties in these confrontations.

Suddenly, the time came for both parties to move. The real problem with the media coverage in Egypt’s events is how biased, prejudiced and politicised this coverage usually is. It has become absolutely futile to build any perceptions and/or arguments based on numbers from the media. Hence, your take on what’s going on would depend on the objectivity of your source of information.

The problem with the two distant ends of the media, the pro-army and the pro-Morsi media, is how remote from reality they are. Media channels and most newspapers really outdid themselves in trying to pin down the responsibility for all the violence taking place on either the army or the Brotherhood. What we need to understand is how both parties are equally involved in this and how there are no victors in this lose-lose battle.

The Brotherhood was indeed a violent and deterrent force. The amount of hate speech coming through loud speakers in Rabaa was enough to bring down a whole city. Clear human rights violations that took place in Rabaa, like torture, were becoming too much to tolerate in a society that has any respect for human life.

Recurrent threats by the Brotherhood to turn Egypt into a bloodbath that they have the martyrs for were a discourse so remote from peaceful action. There was an obvious vengeful will in the Brotherhood’s main rhetoric. Moreover, their use of arms was not exactly helping their “peaceful” case.

Meanwhile, the army was not much better. There were incidents that I saw with my own eyes where the army used too much force in an unnecessary manner.

Apparently, it is a sin these days to criticise the army, but when a riot is around the corner, it does nobody any good to bury our heads in the sand. To put it simply, the army could have been much more sensible in its actions.

However, the hatred that’s polluting people’s minds is blocking all paths to reason and logic. Anyone who takes a look out their window would realise how blood is staining all of our hands, one after the other. If what we are looking for is stopping this reckless violence, then we need to understand who stirs up all the hatred behind it.

Ironically, just as the Brotherhood teaches its members that those who rose up against Morsi will one day rise up against Islam, those who are against the Brotherhood do their best to prove how all this violence is neither the responsibility of the army nor the police.

What really went wrong in Egypt was how rigid its politics became. What we are witnessing right now is not the beginning of a Syria-like scenario. What we are seeing is the normal result of mutual hatred, extreme polarisation and absolute lack of objectivity.

About the author

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl

Ziad A. Akl is a political analyst and sociologist. He is a senior researcher at the Egyptian Studies Unit in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

  • Pingback: What went wrong in Egypt? - TalkAfrika.com

  • Pingback: What went wrong in Egypt? by Ziad Akl via Daily News Egypt | When The Road Darkens

  • Pingback: Egyptian Forces Clear Mosque; Nighttime Protests Erupt – Voice of America - The Cream of Internet! - MyNetLike.com

  • Will MacCormac

    the most balanced article I’ve read, spot on about the media

  • wcb123

    Religion, be it islam/christianity or whatever, and the idiots who believe in that rubbish. Thats what went wrong.

    As long as these idiots who believe in fairytales exist there will always be bloodshed in its name.

    • Jon Xavier

      You’re right. And those atheists leading Communist Russia, China, Vietnam, N Korea, etc. Man, we wish we and the Middle East and everywhere had them! Much better if one disbelieves in God and thinks of human beings as just another animal! I mean, look what every single example of a wholly non-religious state has been like! A pure heavenly zoo! Yeah man, we’re the enlightened and need to get out of countries having any religious heritage and values. The facts are so clearly on our side! Will you buy our plane tickets?

      • Anton Masacezzi

        Your argument is so unintelligent that for a moment I paused wondering if it’s even worth my time to reply to you. But I will do it for the sake of others. I feel you’re beyond help…

        Some of the so called “godless countries” you’ve mentioned are in fact more religious than Texas, and it would be naïve for you to think that religion resurfaced and blossomed to such levels in these places only after the fall of communism. Just to

        give you an example, Romania (a former eastern European communist country for those who are geographically challenged) reports the heights level of believers in the whole of Europe (98%). Not to mention Russia: The Orthodox Church drives their entire anti-gay campaign.

        As for North Korea, you must be joking! NK is probably the most religious country on earth. They just happen to worship a living, breathing highly capricious god. And if you ask me having a god that people can actually see and hear is a bonus no other religion does offer. And as you know from your bible studies the very first commandment states “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other God before me.” Therefore, there is no room for any another religion in N Korea. After all, gods do tend to be jealous and vengeful.

        For your info, the most democratic countries in the world are the ones that have a clear separation between church and state. The high quality of living, the excellent level of education that exists in places such as Denmark, Norway or Finland correlates highly with high levels of atheism. If church were to be a driving force for humanity, Alabama and Mississippi would’ve been the greatest places to live on earth. Not to mention Saudi Arabia and, of course Egypt.

      • Anton Masacezzi

        Your argument is so unintelligent that I paused for a moment
        wondering if a reply it’s worth my time. But I will do it for the sake of others. As far as you’re concerned, I feel that you’re beyond help…

        Some of the so called “godless countries” you’ve mentioned
        are in fact more religious than Texas, and it would be naïve for you to think that religion resurfaced and blossomed to such levels after the fall of communism. Just to give you an example, Romania (a former eastern European communist country for those who are geographically challenged) reports the highest levels of believers in the whole
        of Europe (98%). Not to mention Russia: The Orthodox Church drives their entire anti-gay campaign.

        As for North Korea, you must be joking! NK is probably the most religious country on earth. They just happen to worship a living, breathing and highly capricious god. And if you ask me, having a god that people can actually see and hear thy command is a perk that no other religion currently offers. As I presume you learned in your bible studies, the very first commandment clearly states “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other God before me.” So how can there be room in NK for any other religion when Kim Jong, just like any god, is jealous and cruel in his vengeance? As with any church, if the catechisms of its doctrine are disobeyed there’s hell to pay. The only difference is, in North Korea Hell has precise geographic coordinates and it’s called Hoeryong.

        In your ignorance you probably don’t know that the most
        democratic countries in the world also happen to be the ones which also have a clear separation between church and state. The high quality of living, the excellent level of education and healthcare that exists in places like Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, correlates highly with high levels of atheism. If church were to be a driving force for humanity, Alabama and Mississippi would’ve been the two greatest places to live on earth. Not to mention Saudi Arabia and, of course Egypt. But this is not the case isn’t it?

  • John Freeman

    It seems the new Egyptian leaders would get a lot more international political support if they simply tell the world that they reject Sharia law and Islamic fundamentalism that was the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood and intend to develop Egypt into a modern country where women and men have equal rights and equal access to education, where different religions can peacefully co-exist, and where industry and technology can flourish to bring economic prosperity to the people of Egypt.

    • wcb123

      Religions have never and will never peacefully co exist, they can’t. The only way of ending this madness is to stop indoctrinating (abusing) our future generations of children. That will never happen though.

      • tommympt

        Oh yes, the religious rubbish will end in the distant
        future. Science and technology will
        rule, because it is verifiable. The
        religious fairy tales will be viewed as the historic past of humanity trying to
        answer the questions of who we are without the science to verify their
        postulations. We are intelligent beings
        seeking truth and truth will prevail.
        What we are witnessing now is the rage of those that will not admit that
        they have been fooled in to believing the dogmatic rubbish of their respective
        religions. They are backed into a corner
        with no way out but to accept the facts of our existence and by not doing so,
        their every ignorant action will become evident to them, because truth will
        prevail. Bertrand Russell said, “There is something feeble and a little
        contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of
        comfortable myths. Almost inevitably
        some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only
        because they are comforting. But he
        dares not face this thought! Moreover,
        since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he
        becomes furious when they are disputed.”__ Bertrand Russell

        • Jon Xavier

          Uhhhh…..science changes its understanding all the time. I mean, we admittedly don’t understand 99% of what comprises the known universe and cannot cure the common cold. These are the facts. You don’t think future generations will see our science as crude? So, upholding your “truth” that is itself just another fairly tale in the name of just another homo sapient enterprise is as laughable as any religious belief. I mean, every belief makes sense within its own worldview. And if there is no God, there is certainly no logical reason whatever to believe the gray matter in our heads provides information remotely resembling reality. So that, we are always living an illusory existence. I mean, don’t you think that a monkey imagines that it sees the world objectively? Well, we share 98% of our DNA with chimps. Moreover, humans have never peacefully co-existed whatever their creed and belief. And the last time I checked, every single atheistic state has been among the most atrocious in history, even in our day, scientific knowledge and all.

        • Anton Masacezzi

          I doubt! Nowadays,when it comes to procreation the laws of idiocracy tend to favour specimens such as our friend Jon Xavier.

      • Jon Xavier

        Uhhhh…..humans have never peacefully co-existed whatever their creed and belief. And the last time I checked, every single atheistic state has been among the most atrocious in history, even in our day, scientific knowledge and all.

        • Anton Masacezzi

          Turn off Fox news for a while, start doing some thinking on your own. Turn off MSNBC as well. Just stop regurgitating other people’s ideas.

          • Eclod

            So Anton Masacezzi, What the hell is your BIG idea? You slam everyone, but offer nothing in return.

          • Anton Masacezzi

            dude my first comment did not post! try again…

  • mynewsclips

    Clear hypocrisy of western powers, still supporting the military with billions, the secularist and Coptics can stay in tharir square as much they wants, but Muslims even if gather in a mosque will be killed. Akhwan may not be good in political ideology but they are humans, Imagine the reaction of west, if Morsi(the elected president) would have killed hundreds of secularist demonstrators ?

    • Jon Xavier

      When Muslim cultures finally understand that democracy does not simply mean majority rule, but that the rights of all must be recognized and respected, they can begin to both a) envision a peaceful existence and b) comprehend the modern world.

      • mynewsclips

        Well Xavier, the events on the ground proofs that i

  • Maluku29

    What is going on in the Middle East is the the violent manifestation of latent problems in the societies of that region. The Arab world has got to wake up and take responsibility for it’s own problems instead of perpetually blaming a common foreign enemy – most often the U.S., Israel or the relics of colonialism. Once Arab societies become adults (figuratively speaking) and begin to take responsibility for their actions I really do believe that their societies will be able to progress.Nevertheless, it is clear that, with all the upheaval in the region during the last couple years and contrary to what the Arab League would have the rest of the world believe, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not the major obstacle to regional stability.

    The United States of America had its revolution but the entity against which it was battling was on the other side of the ocean. In this of Egypt, and the French revolution, the two sides live in the same territory. It is therefore naive on the part of American governments to believe that the transition to democracy will be anything but violent and brutal.

    • wcb123

      America had it’s revolution, ok but not long ago; and it shows. They are the babies of the West who also have ALOT of growing up to do – waving their guns in the air at any given chance. whilst screaming ‘Praise Jesus’ ‘Freedom’ etc etc. An immaturely patriotic society who think they are morally superior when they are anything but. The world would be far rosier without their infantile minds.

      Add to the mix – the Arabs who are decades, if not centuries behind all of us, who have no problem blowing themselves to pieces in the name of Allah and their seven virgins..

      Recipe for disaster or what!

      • Jon Xavier

        Yeah, you’re right. Without the USA, we’d all be speaking German and upholding that wonderful principle of nature: Only the strong, healthy, and “normal” should be allowed to exist. Or, maybe we’d be speaking Russian and waving our proud atheistic fists at the sky saying, “No God, for see, we have created true heaven! And we’ll continue to exterminate all unbelievers of what is so obviously true” Yeah man, you know your history like Bart Simpson knows algebra and Homer his “Jebus.”

        • Anton Masacezzi

          Your argument is so unintelligent that for a moment I paused wondering if it’s even worth my time to reply to you. But I will do it for the sake of others. I feel you’re beyond help…

          Some of the so called “godless countries” you’ve mentioned are in fact more religious than Texas, and it would be naïve for you to think that religion resurfaced and blossomed to such levels in these places only after the fall of communism. Just to
          give you an example, Romania (a former eastern European communist country for those who are geographically challenged) reports the heights level of believers in the whole of Europe (98%). Not to mention Russia: The Orthodox Church drives their entire anti-gay campaign.

          As for North Korea, you must be joking! NK is probably the most religious country on earth. They just happen to worship a living, breathing highly capricious god. And if you ask me having a god that people can actually see and hear is a bonus no other religion does offer. And as you know from your bible studies the very first commandment states “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other God before me.” Therefore, there is no room for any another religion in N Korea. After all, gods do tend to be jealous and vengeful.

          For your info, the most democratic countries in the world are the ones that have a clear separation between church and state. The high quality of living, the excellent level of education that exists in places such as Denmark, Norway or Finland correlates highly with high levels of atheism. If church were to be a driving force for humanity, Alabama and Mississippi would’ve been the greatest places to live on earth. Not to mention Saudi Arabia and, of course Egypt.

  • bjedwards

    What went wrong in Egypt?

    The satanic false religion of that pedophile pirate Mohammad is what went wrong. In the mid-10th century the proud civilization of Egypt was invaded by Islam and its people force-ably converted from being Coptic Christians to the evil religion of Islam. It is time to cast these invaders and infidels out and restore an Egypt free of Islam.

  • Jon Xavier

    The former election did not result in a democratic state because a very basic principle was wholly unrecognized and likely incomprehensible to the new MB leadership. Democracy does not mean simple majority rule. It also means that the rights of minorities and their viewpoints are respected and recognized (in this case, it would include the same groups of people that helped make a democratic election even possible which, naturally, only adds to their insult and injury). And for its critics, the military was at least feeling something of this tension. Nonetheless, such an obvious democratic principle has yet to be clearly articulated in a single 2nd or 3rd world country. No wonder democracy has yet to work for them (though other factors such as poor education and economic opportunity also exists). And indeed, how can a culture ever get it when they don’t even recognize the essential equality of all human beings? As in the US Constitution, “all men are created equal.” Why? Because the Judeo-Christian God said so. And in their countries, it was eventually recognized.

    • Anton Masacezzi

      I don’t need god to tell me that it is not right to stump your neck, no matter how much pleasure I may get in doing so! Even in the absence of criminal laws or religion doctrine, sentient beings soon realize that the fundamental moral laws reside in the notion that you should treat others the way you want to be treated yourself. This idea, far precedes christianity and it can be found among cultures which have not had any contact with the bible. For most human beings this precept comes as naturally as it would be for a mother to love her child. You don’t need to be told, its already within you. If you need the guidance of any religious text to appreciate this basic concept, than I can only feel sorry for you.

  • Ahmed Bata

    I wish we could roll up our sleeves and talk details about the 2 polar visions for Egypt. What exactly do most Islamists want in our government in order to make it Islamic enough? What do those who oppose them fear and what constitutional guarantees would make them less fearful?

  • Pingback: Egypt crisis: Cairo mosque ‘cleared’ after siege BBC News – You Report

  • Pingback: What went wrong in Egypt? – Daily News Egypt | All About Nigeria

  • Pingback: Muslim Brotherhood faces ban as Egypt rulers pile on pressure – Haaretz | NewSquirt

  • Pingback: Egypt crisis: Cairo mosque ‘cleared’ after siege – BBC News - Shave Head

  • Thomas Denny

    we all have a different opinion and whatever this is a disaster for Egyptian people, when morsi took power one of the things that sent a red flag flying was when he gave himself vast powers then backed off it gave a warning perhaps of things to come for a large number of Egyptians the army jumped on board perhaps seeing itself having powers decimated, goodness knows where this is going to end.

  • Mahmud Abdullah

    What went wrong in Egypt? To answer this question, in a nutshell, I would say that the main cause is that rule by democratically elected authority has been replaced by de facto military-rule. All other causes that can be held responsible for current instability stems from the main cause mentioned here. Many persons will be complaining that the elected authority failed to act in democratic ways or that failed to lead the country towards prosperity; here I refrain from making points in favour or against the complains; what I would say is that if the allegations are at all true, democratic ways and means should have been adopted to find remedies; an attempt to find a military solution of the alleged drawbacks of the freely elected authority has further complicated the problems, moreover has given rise to many more much-more difficult problems. Here it is important to mention that it is known to all that Egypt has been experiencing many problems, both economic and political, for decades, and it will not be pragmatic to state that any government can sort out all those problems, that have been persisting decades after decades, of the country or society within a year or two. At the end, I beg to make a point that democracy, democratically elected authority, patience, respect to all people, inclusion of people from all walks of life in running the country may lead the great Egyptian nation towards peace, freedom, stability, progress and prosperity ; on the contrary, tyrants, dictators, unelected authority, military-rule, whatever be its form or manifestation, will only ruin Egypt.

  • Sally Wilton

    When I see the ‘so called ‘ secular interim government members including the President and PM all praying in the mosque on Fridays along with the ‘non religious’ army leader, I think what the hell? They have Salafists want to cut off hands and feet, Muslim Brotherhood with plans for sharia law and caliphate and Christians who believe that the messiah is coming any day soon from the sky to save them all. There isn’t a sane, sensible, level headed person around. You have a population of 80 million or more people who have no more in their heads than praying and worshiping an invisible thing in the sky. The enlightenment has not yet come to Egypt in any shape or form. Mubarak did the greatest disservice by not promoting a proper education system and using religion instead as a cheap alternative to proper open minded learning. Now they have a largely incapable slave population who all think exactly the same, who believe any slogans, any conspiracy theory and that their greatest enemy is Israel and only the reincarnation of Nasser will be their salvation. I despair of them all.

  • BNorrad

    Until Arabs begin to value human life, there will never be a successful democracy in this land. Tribalism is still in effect and fighting between tribes or religious sects has been going on for centuries and will continue. The Arab world full of blind hatred. They have been oppressed by their leaders for so long they have no idea of how a democracy could or should work. Worse, when the emigrate, they bring this tribalism with them. Only second or third generations of immigrants realize the value of living in a democratic society. In their defence, it has taken the US 230 years and Canada 146 years to reach their current level of democracy. One cannot expect a place like Egypt or Libya to become a mirror of that concept in one or two years. The Brotherhood tried to turn a state, oppressed by a single ruler, into a state oppressed by Islamic Rulers and refused to recognize that 50% of the population were not going to let that happen. No matter what the resolution, this feud will be fought through hatred for decades to come. Peace is not ever going to be at hand. Their complete lack of respect for human life will continue and they will be forced to live under military rule since they have no concept of how to get along. Radical blind faith in their religious beliefs will be their downfall.

  • Tahir

    Two things you described in your article are not clear (1) there is a pro military media in Egypt which is painting MB as a terrorist group, where is pro MB media in Egypt. Please explain it. Do you mean the international media is under the influenced of MB. I think International media is anti coup any where and every in the world. (2) Secondly military did not used excessive force rather commit cold blooded murders, Go to YouTube and you will get that.

  • king0333

    I hate to say this but mullah this time around seems to make more sense than these fake liberals .. these fake liberals have no value for democracy , no value for democratically elected government. I am from Pakistan and i am amazed to see so called ” liberals” calling dictators to overthrow democracy .. I mean in what civilized country liberals call army to take over ? Fine u don’t like Morsi , either wait for next elections or make him change his policies by protest or make him resign by protesting .. this is how democracies work…

  • anotherview2

    Nothing went wrong in Egypt; instead, the existing forces in Egypt have played out their roles. The military wants something akin to a civil order, while the Islamists want a religious order, to predominant in the Egyptian national order. Political dialog may surmount “reason and logic” by accounting for political dynamics and differences in a decision model requiring compromise and recognition of mutual interests. Yet, given the operating assumptions of both sides here, one military and the other religious, even political dialog may fail to reach a peaceful settlement between the two. Without a middle ground possible, each side must push to impose its view of order, resulting in a do-or-die scenario. We have here an old form of clash, between an objectively structured order, the military, and an order arising from religious belief, Islam. If an irony exists, then it lies in the necessity of the Egyptian state to have a strong military for national defense no matter its social, civil, and political order. Whatever kind of order eventually ensues in Egypt, we outside observers may assume neither military requisites nor religious principles will go away anytime soon. No easy answers present themselves in this internal conflict.

  • Pingback: agen bola

  • Pingback: Prediksi Skor Bola


You might also like...

Dr. Cesar Chelala

What would Einstein have said about Gaza?

Read More →