Political violence has returned to the streets of Egypt. Walaa Quisay argues that it is the revolutionaries, who haven’t provided an alternative to the elites, who are to blame.
Throughout the post-Mubarak revolutionary period, we were always worried that the counter-revolutionaries were working to abort the revolution. We were right; the counter-revolutionaries had been working tirelessly to do so. But ever since that famous 30 second Omar Suleiman speech the revolution became a reality and it was our responsibility to shape it in the way we saw most fitting. I was, as most, disappointed to see that the second round of elections was between Shafiq (the representative of the counter-revolution) and Mursi (the Muslim Brotherhood’s back-up candidate). I did not see AboulFotoh as some sort of Che Guevara or even Allende but to me he represented the dissolution of elites. I have argued this before and I firmly stand by it. The people were only able to successfully overthrow Mubarak when the dysfunctional ideologies and practices of the elites were nullified by the masses. The elites were only able to survive the Mubarak regime because they were a part of the status quo; they were a part of the authoritarian pseudo modernist nation.
One can talk about the flaws of the current regime in power and the Islamist and secular elite endlessly. The fact of the matter, however, is that they were not able to gain power on their own in the past for a reason. I, as a firm believer in an Egyptian Revolution before 25 January 2011, will only concern myself with the revolutionaries. I firmly believe that the success or the failure of the revolution depends on the success or failure of the revolutionaries. The counter-revolution is only relevant in the kind of power they exert on the revolutionaries. Unfortunately today we see Egypt break out in massive and abhorrent societal violence. The current reality of Egypt was created by a mass façade cooked up by the elites and misdirected disillusionments of the people. The revolutionaries, to put it simply, were stupid. They bought the ideological and organisational lies sold to them by elites whose only job is to smile to the cameras and then update their twitter accounts.
Many people, especially on the dogmatic left, have always criticized the revolution’s lack of motivating ideology. I believe the people were on point when they rejected all ideologies. It was the job of the revolutionaries from then on to recreate new ideological structures that would replace the old, dysfunctional and out of touch elite ideologies. Now you see the leftists supporting Sabbahi, the liberals Baradei, and the Islamists the Muslim Brotherhood and those in between supporting Aboulfotoh (who has become famous for not having a real opinion on anything at all).
What does this rant have to do with the violent events in front the Muslim Brotherhood Headquarters? It is very expected that the incompetent and out of touch Egyptian elites would make a mess of the political life in Egypt. By using the revolutionary bases, they gave themselves a legitimacy they do not deserve. They were able to have a bloody imprint on the society. On the surface, it appears that politics has been democratised when in reality the irrelevant debates of the elite (both secular and Islamist) were thrown at a grassroots level. The battles that the elite start on Twitter end up in blood on the Egyptian street where it is one brother fighting the other. And of course, we can see the military’s bloody inspiration in these disgraceful acts of violence. For once, now, we see a man in a civilian attire drag the lifeless body of another civilian because of a difference in politics. I don’t blame the elites. I don’t blame the government. I blame the revolutionaries.
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