Those who are lurking or apprehending the Muslim Brotherhood, will label the events that are happening now in Egypt and Tunisia as the “autumn of the Brotherhood”. They have finally failed. They are finally rejected by the mass. Their besiege plan have succeeded. If we had left them, they would have turned Egypt and Tunisia to Iran, and then expanded to other countries. They would have obliged us to join their adventures and dreams of establishing a caliphate state, governed by their guide in Egypt. (they would say )
As for the objective analyst, who sees the Arab Spring as a historic change movement, he will see that what happened is just a part of the new Arab world’s difficult birth process. He will understand that all the revolutions have gone through these difficulties and that the “the elected government” and not the “Brotherhood” – which by chance are the elected government – is facing a “counter-revolution.”
This was expected to be led by the old regime that refuses to surrender to the historic and inevitable change, therefore they joined the “middle-class” that had benefited from the previous reign and were angered by the rise of a new class perceived as incompetent to rule. Unfortunately, the alliance with the rebels who had lost in the democracy game, had failed, so they brought up lame excuses and plagued that “the others stole their Revolution.”
We must stay away from the smoke of the fires that are burning, from the tear gas, the uproar of unions’ strikes and the revolution youth’s protests, the million-man opposition and pro-government forces’ demonstrations, and most importantly from the media clamor when everyone speaks, but yet refuses to listen to each other.
Let us get out of all this and go back to the main point: what happened? Who won? We have witnessed a revolution, not a coup; elections were held and whoever won has indeed won. The ones who triumphed in the Arab Spring are not the Muslim Brotherhood, but the democracy has triumphed over everything else.
We are witnessing some underlying forces that await the opportunity every time the wall of tyranny shakes, ever since it was established over thousands years of “men to men” rule. It is the energy driving the history forces, do you remember the ruling god? He is the pharaoh, Kasra and Caesar; some honestly said that he was God, others that he was God’s descendant, and the most modest of them, said that he ruled in the name of God. We, as Muslims, have been ruled by some who would think like that, despite the fact that an honest Bedouin predecessor, who has acknowledged Islam from a very first source, stood in front of Kasra and answered the symbolic question: “what brought you out? What do you want? asked Kasra, in an arrogant way underestimating the Arabs, not imagining for a moment that they are the main actors in history and civilizations, so he answered summarizing the whole political Islam: “we have come to save you from worshipping the slaves and help you people worship the Lord of mankind.”
Many centuries after this dialogue and almost at the same place, the Caliph and the jurist claimed that they rule in the name of God.
Democracy had many waves that accelerated in the modern era. Its first wave was launched after the World War II, when the losers found their way to survive and triumph, mainly Germany and Japan, while the victorious witnessed their reform and renewal, Britain and France, but suffered a setback and then the rise of communism threat. But after the latter’s deficit to offer an alternative, its momentum triumphed once again and searched for a base in our elected constitutions and parliaments, and was subsequently confronted by the military, with the legacy of the old tradition that we, Muslims, have inherited and which legitimizes the acceptance of the “winner’s ruling.” Therefore, the democracy completely collapsed in our world, so we got out of history for more than half a century.
Meanwhile, a democratic wave had hit European parties that survived communism, but fell under the military rule; It started with Greece, Spain and Portugal, and then spread to Latin America, that had witnessed a Latin Democratic Spring in the eighties. And with the fall of the Soviet Union, it was Eastern European countries’ turn to fall one after the other, in the third wave of democracy.
We should perceive what is happening in the Arab world as the fourth wave of democracy, not as a “Brotherhood” wave. We should understand that it is affected by its environment, for instance, in Latin America this wave couldn’t but be affected by the leftist touch. In the Arab world, this touch happened to be “Islamic” so far.
The fifth wave may take place within the Central Asian countries, the weak point of Russia and China together. What explains their stubborn and “Erronous” position refuting the Syrian and Libyan revolution, is that they have foreseen this fifth wave. Those nations are governed by totalitarian regimes similar to the ones prevailing in the Arab world before the Arab Spring. Maybe the explanation of the winner’s rule acceptance in the Islamic heritage community and not the legitimate one, shows the similarity of these regimes and makes Islam Karimov (President of the Republic of Uzbekistan) the missing twin of Husni Mubarak.
The constitutional crisis in Egypt and unions’ protests in Tunisia do not target the “Brotherhood”. It is directed against the new elected government without disregarding the personification of the conflict, which will be used as the point of weaknesses and strength of the opponent. It uses the debates about the “Brotherhood”, the religion, the religious and civil state, and the supreme guide. Adding more tools into the conflict will not be stopped until it reaches the Turkish series “Hareem al-Sultan”, and accuses the Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi of inciting his Turkish counterpart.
What is happening is only a struggle to absorb the new force, which is also not used to rule. The revolution surprised everyone in the political desert, in addition to the ability of the various parties to accept the unique tools of democracy to control the conflict, and the willingness of the old regime to accept its defeat. The old regime sent to the new ruling force, a draft project of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, inspired by what the black people have done to the whites in South Africa, reminding them of what they can do together, to improve their countries in case they have accepted the principle of co-existence. I am confident that the Muslim Brotherhood –did I say Muslim Brotherhood? – I mean I am confident that the new elected force is ready to face the situation.
(Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi columnist for Al-Hayat newspaper, where this article was published on Dec. 8, 2012)