Through rigging, mobilization, bribery, or religious manipulation, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood managed to deceive simple-minded people that voting “yes” for the constitution is the ticket to heaven and that “no” is only for the enemies of Islam. This way, they were able to pass a document that is going to drag Egypt to an uncertain future. It is through this document that the group plan to take control of Egypt and crush its rivals. We are now facing an ominous reality that we need to deal with and find the ways to change. Surrendering will only take us backwards and that is why we are left with no option except resisting.
For the past few months, I had seen everything I dreaded coming true and every time I struggled to remain hopeful, I was dealt another blow. Liberal powers were not able to overcome their short-sighted ambitions and unite in one strong front and none of them was able to fill the vacuum on its own. Those powers were torn between rivalry, vengeance, and revolutionary romanticism and therefore gave room to groups who claim to represent religion to prevail and to even neutralize the one power that had at the time been capable of making a difference: the army. The end result was they managed to monopolize power and to become the sole players in the political scene.
The group that has not yet emerged in its full power is the silent majority, commonly known as the “couch party.” It is true that members of this party have started breaking their silence, but the magnitude of their influence remains to be demonstrated. Those are the real majority, a majority that is not linked to rigged votes and bribed voters. They are the actual challenge. If we want to change the reality in which we have been forcefully placed by the Muslim Brotherhood, we need to instigate this majority into positive action.
We are suffering from what came to be called the “broken step” culture. When one of the steps in the staircase of a building is broken, the wife asks her husband on his way to work and her children on their way to school to “beware the broken step” and the same applies to guests. However, no one thinks of fixing this broken step and we find ourselves adapting to the problem rather than solving it. This is exactly what we need to get rid of. Instead of adapting to reality, we have to work on changing it and we have to resist falling pray to exhaustion or despair. It is, therefore, important for prominent political leaders to reject adaptation.
January 25 is approaching and I believe it could be a good opportunity for alerting this majority into fearing for the future of this country. The new rulers need to realize that the people will not accept monopoly and exclusion and that the majority that had been made silent for long is now back to take part in the decision-making process. The question is: how can this be achieved? Through utter dedication and faith in the necessity of preserving the civilian character of the state, through giving up personal ambition and prioritizing the welfare of the country over personal grudges and endless incrimination, and through realizing that if the ship is to sink everyone will drown. Before all this, it is absolutely important to rally under one common goal.
This needs to be done not only quickly, but also sincerely. Sincerity is what moves the people and is what this silent majority needs to take an action. We are only weeks away from the first opportunity to put that to the test.
(Abdel Latif el-Menawy is the former head of Egyptian Television’s news center. He can be found on Twitter: @ALMenawy)