Conservatives in Egypt – whether or not they admit to being so – will find themselves more content these days as matters seem to be rolling back to business as usual. As we live in a lull reminiscent of the Bourbon Restoration in France, a lot of the old is slugging it out with a bit of the new.
As a self proclaimed conservative, I find myself bewildered with the events that Egypt has witnessed in the past three years. They all, however, followed a systematic pattern. I guess it is easy now to act all pompous and utter the word “systematic”; after all, it has been said that hindsight is 20/20 vision.
When 25 January came by, it was comprised of those who believed, those who wanted and were ready to rule, those who found a new sense of purpose and those who where there out of peer pressure. The deep rooted conservatives, who were labelled – also out of peer pressure – as “feloul”, or remnants of the old regime, sat on the sidelines.
Sooner rather than later, it all came crashing when those who were ready to rule have ruled poorly, those who believed became disenchanted, those who found a sense of purpose found something else to do and those who where peer pressured found sufficient reasons to return to their “feloul” roots. All of a sudden the magic bond of the mesmerising 18-days has evaporated into thin air when all the non-ruling factions grapple with the reality that they have been hijacked.
So is it that a democratically elected president has started to rule undemocratically? Let’s put rhetoric aside. We have seen undemocratically elected presidents ruling undemocratically; so here is not the heart of the matter. The 30 June rollback was largely driven by a frustration from the newly installed system’s inability to bring about any material changes. The conservative in the millions that took to the streets on that day has overshadowed the revolutionary fervour of 25 January. It has even eclipsed the very notion of representative democracy itself.
Call it a revolution, call it a coup; no one really cares. Enough was simply enough, and this Muslim Brotherhood experiment was destined to a halt.
The next chapter now involves fortifying the status quo through a hint of self imposed ultra-nationalism to a tune eerily reminiscent of the Nasser era. At the end of the day, the needs are clear and they are all about achieving two superior purposes: national grandeur and a big brother government who solves all the problems. The true problem remains in the fact that we are so focused on the participants and not focused enough on the purpose. Whether you love or hate whoever participated in 25 January, you cannot ignore that so long as the reasons for its occurrence are not addressed, they cannot be swept aside or at least not for long. But alas, in the spirit of the Bourbon Restoration, as Talleyrand noted: “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing”.