“Moshe Dayan did not do to Egypt what the Muslim Brotherhood and the Supreme Guide’s gang did to it.” Someone who is said to be the minister of culture in Egypt made this statement. Forget this witless statement, as the minister belongs to a long line of “intelligent” Egyptians who showed their loyalty and obedience to the military in order to receive a piece, albeit a small one, of the authority cake. The true disaster is the fact that this individual is described in Egyptian media as being an “enlightened intellectual”, a label being generously given to those who appear to suffer from large doses of “Ikhwanophobia”, Islamophobia and Theophobia. The more “phobias” one has, the higher they climb up the ladder of “enlightened intellectuals”, and there are many examples of this. We can start with Gaber Asfour, the former minister of culture. The list goes on and on and includes the Al-Shobashi siblings (Sharif and Fareeda). All of these individuals exercise a type of “intellectual” guardianship over society, which seems to them to be “incapable” of understanding and needs someone to take its hand and lead it to “enlightenment”.
Let’s go back to our friend, the current minister of culture, and his “bright” statement comparing the Muslim Brotherhood to Moshe Dayan. This statement not only provokes disgust and despair regarding the level of deterioration and disappointment reached by the intellectual field in Egypt, but also shows him shamelessly falsifying history. This man, who presents himself as a brilliant historian, is defending one of Israel’s biggest war criminals who killed and arrested thousands of Egyptians during the 1950’s, 60s and 70s and who is associated to a racist and colonial state.
We understand from this that this man suffers from Ikhwanophobia, and it is only natural given his incoherent and weak argument. We can also understand that he holds a serious grudge against the Brotherhood, either because they ignored him and his genius when he was in power, or because of his complete disagreement with the group’s ideas and ideologies. However, what we don’t understand is the fact that this man would go as far as to falsify facts and lie in order to exclude the Brotherhood from the national doctrine, and would instead prefer a racist and violent man like Moshe Dayan over the Brotherhood. This man was the head of the Zionist gang in the 1956 war and the Israeli minister of defense during the 1967 war.
The minister’s speech is part of a general discourse being spread and promoted over the past two years; this discourse has reached unprecedented levels of demonising the Brotherhood, levels not even the Israelis – who they are comparing the Brotherhood to – have reached. Many of the state’s “intellectuals” have gone further than the mind can comprehend in their hostility and animosity towards the Brotherhood, and Islamists in general. This discourse comparing the Brotherhood to the Israelis has reached a group of people, and it has been characterised with fascism, and is being promoted by the media day and night in order to justify the oppression exercised against the organisation’s members. A new “collective imagination” is being created similar to the one created decades ago against the Palestinians, which blamed the Palestinians for surrendering their land to the “Jews” as the public claimed.
We certainly cannot deny the many mistakes that the Brotherhood committed and continue to commit, and no one is obliged to agree with their ideas and ideologies. However, what is happening today has gone past the level of criticisms and blame; it reached the point of justifying their oppression and murder. It has reached the point of falsifying their history and challenging their affiliation to Egyptian citizens. Legitimising the oppression of the Brotherhood has led to the “deepening” of the hostile discourse against them. Their hostility towards the Brotherhood has become proof of their loyalty to the other side and their patriotism. In other words, some intellectuals in Egypt believe that by challenging the Brotherhood, they are getting closer to the authority and that they will get their share given their justification of “enlightenment” and combatting “obscurantism”.
Consequently, the more they defend this “imagined enlightenment”, the more the authority commits crimes against the Brotherhood and other Islamists, given there are those who justify, encourage and bless this oppression. The “state intellectual” is trying to prove his loyalty to the military government and the ruling general, who has become one of Tel Aviv’s closest allies, and therefore he is going as far as he possibly could in falsifying history in order to serve the state’s narrative, which is drowning in rivalry and hostility.
When a minister uses such language and logic, the matter goes past merely an expression of a personal opinion in order to reflect the position of the state and its institutions towards the Muslim Brotherhood, both personally and as a group and political party.
It is true that the state’s position is known and explicit ever since the Brotherhood were overthrown from authority two years ago, however, for a senior state official to use such language is a commission of two crimes. The first is against the country, which has monopolised the classification of the people, and second is against history, which will be told to the coming generations.
Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 1 December 2015.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.