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Who benefits from distorting the January revolution?

Egyptian writer, Fahmi Huwaidi
Egyptian writer, Fahmi Huwaidi

My biggest fear is that the uprising Egypt witnessed on June 30 2013 will be utilised to attack the revolution of January 25 2011 in a manner that makes aligning with Mubarak and his regime an option.

It is as if we are in the process of re-writing the history of what happened in Egypt recently; as if we are going to revive the ancient Pharaonic tradition, according to which the new pharaoh erases the effects of his predecessor from the obelisks and temple walls in order to begin a new history. This is what we sense in the writings and dialogues broadcast on television nowadays. They began by mocking the Muslim Brotherhood and attacked the president and the government, and ended by insulting the January 25 revolution, distorting its image and calling for turning its page and erasing it from history. This was a victory for the enemies of the real people’s revolution on June 30.

I read the article that referred to June 30 as “a revolution against a revolution” (Al-Masry Al-Youm 6/7), and said that the most recent revolution came after many revisions, followed by regret and apology. Moreover, the article claimed that the January revolution landed in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, who did not take the country forward, but pushed it back centuries.

Another said that what happened on January 25 was not a revolution at all, rather a youth uprising, some of which was funded and directed against the internal ministry of Habib al-Adli to avenge Khaled Said (Al-Watan 21/7). These suggestions were repeated in many writings and dialogues, especially those broadcasted on the channels known as remnant channels, where the lead journalists were Mubarak and his son Gamal’s men.

One of our colleagues smelt their stench in the art scene. He wrote an article saying that some seized the opportunity of the stage of uncertainty experienced by Egypt to restore Mubarak’s reign, considering that the January 25 revolution was a “setback” suffered by Egypt. He cited some of the programs that have expressed this position and then commented by saying “it marks the beginning of an upcoming battle between television stations in order to take revenge on anything related to the January 25 revolution.”
The matter is not random, but calculated; the new “Mubarakians” want to take revenge on the January 25 revolution” (Tareq Shinawi – Tahrir News 15/7).

It is no longer worth arguing over how what happened on June 30 happened, or whether it was a coup or a revolution, because that argument is based more on political passion than on the principles of political sociology. The result was that the world has deemed it as a coup, while our official speeches and some of our intellectuals are swearing that it was a full-blown revolution.

However, if we look past how what happened happened, I would argue that the opposition between what happened on January 25 and what happened on June 30 is not in favour of the latter incident. Moreover, saying that the latter is a copy of the former is a boldness that reaches the point of total insult. If you ask me why, my answer is outlined in the following points:

  • The January 25 revolution is what broke the Egyptians’ barrier of fear and dropped the image of the ruler being a god or a holy pharaoh. The June uprising was a part of the original and was inspired by the courage that had been generated before.
  • The January 25 revolution was under a rare, popular consensus that restored the national unity of the Egyptians. They were united against an opponent (the Mubarak regime and its repressive agencies) and agreed on the objectives (life – freedom – social justice). As for what happened on June 30, it was in light of national division and polarisation in Egyptian society, which hinted at the promise of the civil war that hit the national consensus.
  • The position of the army was completely different in both incidents. On January 25, the army stood by and watched the scene from afar, then intervened in order to protect the public consensus. As for June 30, the army commanders were at the heart of the scene and we connected to them early on. When they intervened in light of the national division, the intervention was a victory for one team over another.
  • The January 25 revolution was essentially against political and social injustice, and therefore brought out the good and nobility in people. However, the June 30 uprising was primarily against the Muslim Brotherhood, and therefore, there was love for the country behind the first incident, but hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood and a desire to exclude and uproot them behind the second, which brought out the worst in people.
  • The January 25 revolution was against a president who monopolized power through fraud and his reign was marked by tyranny and corruption for thirty years. The uprising of June 30 was launched against a democratically elected president. And therefore, the January 25 revolution was against tyranny, and corruption, and the June uprising was a blow to the newly born democratic path.
  • In the aftermath of the January 25 revolution and after the first democratically elected civilian president of the state in Egyptian history came into power, the army was dismissed from politics by the Chief Military Council and the Chief of Staff and the dissolution of the military council. When this matter was resolved, the horizon seemed open to the possibility of establishing a democratic system. In the wake of the June uprising, the army restored its political power, and was not the only political force in the country, which caused confusion and uncertainty about the future role of the army.

If someone were to tell me that President Morsi made huge and serious mistakes, I would not have disagreed, and in order to assure them, I would bring what I wrote in this regard to their attention.

Therefore, I start with accepting his mistakes and my disagreement with his opponents is not based on the existence of such errors, but on how to treat them. While I stand with the support of those advocating treating such errors through the law and the constitution, which both have numerous measure to achieve that, the opponents resorted to the armed forces to overthrow and isolate him, place him in an undisclosed place claiming his protection, and have not allowed neither his lawyer nor his doctor to communicate with him.

If matter remained within the limits of what happened to Dr. Morsi and his group, it wouldn’t have been so bad. And if the result was confined to the Muslim Brotherhood being removed from power and allowing another group to replace it, then we would have temporarily accepted it. However, what actually happened opened the door to more serious and dangerous matters, because if this time the army did it  in response to the demands of the large crowds that took to the squares, what would stop it from doing it again and again in response to the calls of other crowds gathered under different circumstances.

In addition to this, we must also be suspicious of the fierce attack on the January 25 revolution, described by some as a “setback” for Egypt. One individual dared to describe the defenders as “mercenaries” in the context of an ill-mannered satire and a long rant befitting the walls of bathroom stalls. However, the matter is beyond ranting and degradation, because what appeared to be a re-writing of the history of the current stage is being confronted by the horns and fingers of the deep state, who are the real stakeholders in abortion and attack of the January 25 revolution.

The attack scenario I see on the horizon now stems from the claim that what happened on January 25 was a plot hatched by the Muslim Brotherhood, along with Hamas and Hezbollah; a plot that brought Dr. Mohamed Morsi to power and then introduced Egypt to “Ikhwanification”.

As for the killings, sniping, and burning of some public facilities, in addition to the “Battle of the Camel” that aimed to intimidate protesters and spread chaos in Tahrir Square, and the other accidents and crimes that occurred during and after the revolution and were attributed unjustly and falsely to the so-called third party, while they were committed by the Brotherhood, is also a part of my scenario.

These are not my words because most of it is published in the Egyptian press, especially newspapers, that described the defenders of the January 25 revolution as mercenaries, and stated that the Brotherhood were “demons” who deceived the Egyptians and the entire world when they described what happened on that day as a revolution, and used revolution slogans to trick millions while claiming that the revolution’s goal is life, freedom and social justice.

It was this logic that made people hate history and turn it upside down, because they hate the Muslim Brotherhood. The January 25 revolution and the period that followed is, in their opinion, a plot that should be disowned and a crime the effects of which should be erased.

The scenario does not stop here because the attribution of all crimes to the Brotherhood that took place during and after the revolution has a deeper goal, as it clears the name of the Ministry of Interior and the state security agency and washes their hands of the blood and the unrest that occurred in that period. If you noticed that different courts in Egypt acquitted (coincidentally!) the national security officers from the crimes of torture and murder that occurred during and after the revolution, you will discover that we are up against a tightly knitted scenario. It ultimately aims to wash the hands of national security officers from the blood of the revolutionaries and save Mr. Habib al-Adli’s face, while framing the Muslim Brotherhood for the crimes.

This film, which is quietly being directed, and has achieved overwhelming success so far has three objectives:

  • The assassination of the Muslim Brotherhood and removing them from the arena.
  • The acquittal of the state security agency and preparation for its return to the arena (the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry announced it explicitly and said that history was doing them justice faster than they expected.)
  • Opening the door to reconcile with the Mubarak regime, as the Muslim Brotherhood were a mutual opponent and acting in line with the rule that says my enemy’s enemy is my friend. This drives me to wonder whether this is what is meant by national reconciliation, which is being repeatedly brought up nowadays.

In these consecutive scenes, I can smell the Roman scenario, in which the security agencies managed to take over the capabilities of the country after the masses rose against President Nicolae Ceausescu, and was then executed along with his wife at the end of 1989.  The hands of those agencies continued to mess around with the streets and moved within the opposition circles. What was then called the National Salvation Front was formed, and ultimately led to the return of the men of the old regime to power.
We cannot jump ahead of ourselves and say that it will happen in Egypt, but I cannot ignore the Roman scents wafting behind the scenes. I am only warning that the door is open to anticipate any possibility. This doubt is reinforced by the fact that those now promoting disturbing scenarios of Egypt’s future are not above suspicion, neither them nor the platforms on which they speak.

The author is an Egyptian writer. This article is translation of the Arabic text which appeared on Al Jazeera net on 23 July, 2013

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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