The Egyptians are showing off their ability to manifest their stances regarding the current situation, within a camp that “loves God and adores his law (Shariah)” and another camp that “truly loves God with their hearts and not their throats”; their ability is not limited to their smart selection of slogans and protracted controversies, but also to the mobilization of ten thousands of people, shouting loud their slogans and whatever might arise. Thus, resolving the current sharp division will not be fast, and it will certainly not be quiet, amid all this uproar in the streets and in the media.
Whom who observes the developments of the Egyptian protests can feel how many attempts were made to raise the power of speech and attract supporters, and this is exactly what we all strive for in the “Arab Spring” era, where it has been proven that the main battle in the region is the battle of setting up public freedoms and the ability to express opinions. Nevertheless, the developments of the situation give the impression that things will not be peaceful, especially that there are some who are asserting that the arrival of “Muslim Brotherhood” to power does not mean that they have broken all ties with their historical violent culture that arose in the late twenties of the last century.
Since the battle is initially a battle of opinion, the debates and confrontations are intensified in the Egyptian media, on all websites, TV channels and newspapers. Subsequently, it expanded to the streets, where once again, it went on the media and then back to the streets and so on. It was not a surprise that the “Shariah and legitimacy” rally that was organized by Islamic groups in support for President Mursi, carried a severe unprecedented attack against talk shows’ hosts who are well known in Egypt; their protest reached the extent of claiming to “clean” the media field.
On the other hand, the opposing civilian and liberal currents, are escalating their battle against the Egyptian president’s decisions and against the dominance of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. This is why, newspapers and channels have ceased publication and broadcast for one day, to protest against Mursi’s decisions and the attempts to undermine the freedoms through the new constitution, especially the decisions related to the media and the freedom of the press. This controversy has reached an extent where a well-known TV presenter showed her shroud to the viewers, to protest against the president's decisions.
In fact, the resumption of the protests in Egypt proves that the political struggle will be extended. The forces that sparked the January revolution are back to the streets in a stronger and more effective technique that is based on a smarter presence and that knows more than the brotherhood about the media game; the “Muslim Brotherhood” is substituting their weakness in logical and persuasive capabilities, by luring their shallow followers with religious slogans that distinguish them from the infidels.
Today's challenge will either be controlled by religious fascism under the slogan of “legitimacy and Shariah”, or the Egyptian opposition will have to impose itself and defend the freedoms to ensure a greater equality between the Egyptians. The situation in Egypt should inspire other communities, whose revolutions are stumbling; this is what we are highly hoping for.
(The author is a columnist at Asharq al Awsat, where the article appeared Dec. 6, 2012. Twitter: @dianamoukalled)