The Egyptians Are Asking The Wrong Question! Mubarak Clones Or The Muslim Brotherhood

30 May 2012

By Tariq Alhomayed 

The Egyptian people are today asking: who should we vote for in the presidential run-off, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi, or Ahmed Shafiq, whose election would be a return to the Mubarak regime once more? Of course, this question in itself is wrong! In order for Egypt to take the most logical path, according to the art of the possible, the Egyptians must ask the right question, namely: do I want a religious state or a civil state?

In a civil state religion is for God and the nation is for all, there must also be rotation of power whilst the ruler rules in the name of the people according to the laws and therefore can be held accountable for everything that he says or does. As for the ruler's mission, this is to provide security, stability, and daily bread to the people. Whilst in a religious state, the ruler rules in the name of God, whilst the people must listen and obey, regarding what is permissible and non-permissible. There is no rotation of power and what the unelected General Guide [of the Muslim Brotherhood] says goes, whilst there is no accountability whatsoever; for who can hold somebody who is ruling in the name of God accountable? This is the whole story, without complications. Therefore the names of the candidates are not important here; rather what is important is the political approach that the Egyptians people want for their new post-revolution state. If the Egyptian people are angry with the electoral choices available to them today, then they must acknowledge if only once that they themselves are responsible for the situation reaching this juncture. Is it reasonable, for example, for 23 Egyptians or more to put themselves forward as presidential candidates claiming to represent the revolution? This is truly unbelievable!

If the Mubarak regime was so bad, then the Egyptian people must ask themselves: why? Was this over the issue of bequeathing power, or the result of corruption, or the absence of the rotation of power over the past 30 years? This is an important question that the Egyptian people must answer in order to decide who they should vote for during the presidential run-off, for if the Egyptians hate the bequeathal of power, the absence of the rotation of power and corruption then they must vote for the civil state, even if the road ahead is long, particularly as the next president even if it is Shafiq cannot possible be another Mubarak. This is because ever since the beginning of military rule in Egypt, Sadat did not have the powers of Nasser, whilst Mubarak did not have Sadat's powers, therefore there can be no doubt that Shafiq will not be able to do what Mubarak did. Whilst if the Egyptians want to build their dreams on the Brotherhood's whims and empty promises which they have broken dozens of times since the revolution surrendering the presidency to them, in addition to their control of parliament, particularly at a time when there is no constitution in Egypt, then they should feel free to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood.

However the Egyptians must take into account the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood have failed to put forward a well-known candidate, rather he [Mursi] is a partisan cadre whose candidacy had been forced by necessity following the ineligibility of al-Shater's candidacy. In other words, the Muslim Brotherhood nominated the General Guide's choice, and this represents rule from behind the veil, along the lines of rule in Iran, with regards to the Supreme Leader. This is something that also applies to the Hamas movement, where Ismail Haniyeh is the democratically-elected figure whilst Khalid Mishal is truly in charge, as well as Iraq, where elections may take place but the final decision belongs to al-Sistani. This would see Egypt become a state where rule is based on the General Guide, not the constitution. A vote for the civil state would grant the Egyptians four years to arrange their ranks, and allow new leadership figures to emerge, whilst this is something that will never be permitted in a religious state.

Therefore, logic reveals that the correct question that must be put to the Egyptian people here is: will you choose a religious state or a civil state? This is not about choosing names.


Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. He holds a BA degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is based in London.



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