On 30 June I was suffering from a dislocated shoulder, which is quite painful by the way. However, I managed to make it to Kasr El Nile Bridge and join an anti-Morsi demonstration. Getting rid of Morsi and everything that he represented was certainly a pleasant thought that I was willing to do anything to see it happen.
And it happened! Perhaps a little bit too perfect than one would have thought, but nonetheless, there was a definite victory in removing Mohamed Morsi from the presidency because he proved to be unfit to rule.
But as soon as the pleasure of achieving that which you’ve wanted to achieve fades away, you start thinking about the price you paid for your big achievement. In our case, the price was well known to pretty much everyone. Since 2011, different events and situations demonstrated that Egyptian politics is no more than a bipolar game of pushing and pulling between the state, represented by the army and other security and bureaucratic institutions, and the Muslim Brotherhood, the only political force in Egypt that was organised enough, resourceful enough, diffused enough and backed up enough. It was either the army or the Brotherhood; unfortunately this is how poor the Egyptian political scene is. Therefore, we reached where we are now, an army-monitored road map and a new transitional phase that keeps getting more violent with time.
A few days after the actual ousting of Mohamed Morsi, questions that should have been asked earlier started to be heard here and there. Was 30 June completely spontaneous? Was there an element of state intervention in organising and empowering the day? Are the “Tamarod” guys constantly connected with the army? Are we replacing religious fascist state with a military one? Does the army have a promising political track record over the past two years? Are we slowly turning into everything that we criticised in Mohamed Morsi and his administration?
While you were thinking about reliable, reasonable and true answers for those questions, you were hit by an acute patriotism campaign and a national propaganda in all possible forms of media. I know very well how much of a failure Mohamed Morsi was. I wrote every week in this paper about how disastrous Morsi’s administration is to Egypt. However, it is very strange when you realise that Egyptian media from its extreme right to its extreme left, private and state-owned, all agree on the very same discourse. It is equally strange when you see how orchestrated the media is with the 30 June political elite to create a special bubble around the army.
To cut a very long story short, what happened after 30 June was not all perfect, and personally, as someone who could be labelled as a pro-revolutionary, I am no longer represented in 30 June because of all the political corruption, the organised conformity and the justified violence that 30 June has openly endorsed.
However, this is where the real problem with Egypt’s revolutionary forces unfolds; they are always marginalised by the “majority”. If you are against the army’s political interventions and the possibility of having a president from or controlled by the army, and the Muslim Brotherhood and all their pseudo-resistance and politically blind actions, it is definitely very difficult for you to be represented in the post 30 June pushing and pulling around.
You have to belong to one of the extremes in order for you to be able to relate to what’s going on in Egypt. You will be labelled a “traitor” by both extremes, you will be silenced by both extremes as soon as your ideas cross a certain line of conformity and you will be asked by both extremes to accept truths that are not necessarily true. It is not that the space left for you has been reduced; it actually never existed. Egypt’s revolutions did not produce anything except radicals on both sides.
Once again the focus of revolution is lost. The principles we one day chanted, the slogans of bread, liberty and social justice became imprisoned in one question and one individual. Once again, revolutionary forces prove they are much too weak and scattered to challenge Egypt’s bipolar political status quo. January 25th was a political revolution, a sudden wave of protests and demonstrations that aim to create change through political processes, but the only forces that actually engaged in those processes were the very same forces Egypt has always known and has equally suffered from.
Sisi does have lots of supporters, and so does Morsi. But for a small group of people, both men represent incomplete revolutions, both belong to institutions that have shown signs of tyranny and violent intentions and both are very far from the president who was once envisioned. Morsi’s administration was a joke and his democracy was not representative. Sisi might win an election or a referendum, but he will always be more privileged than anyone who would dare run against him. Any presidential election where Sisi is a candidate will indeed lack any meaning of equal opportunity. Morsi’s return (although practically impossible) will be more catastrophic to this country than anything we could possibly imagine. A Sisi presidency or an army-controlled administration will be nothing but a recreation of a system that has brought Egypt to where it is now.
Therefore, those who represent a third trend are stuck between very bitter options, while lacking any political tools to actually help that trend materialise. Another problem is how the radicals will always threaten non-radicals, who will always be displayed as a threat to national security and a part of a foreign plan to deconstruct the fundamental principles of Egyptian society. Just look at the anti-Bassem Youssef campaign and you will know what I mean, and as soon as the Brotherhood reaches an agreement with the regime (which they will) the different weapons of discrimination will be aimed at revolutionaries.
Those who are not represented by the two main streams are in need of serious internal restructuring. The important battle now is not a macro one and it is not over who will be president. The appropriate battle is one of political organisation, social consciousness and collective action. There is no need for revolutionary enthusiasm; revolutions are a matter of tools, resources and capabilities, which this third trend needs to start working on acquiring before it can engage in changing the sad political reality that presides in Egypt. The real challenge for those who are against Morsi and Sisi is offering an alternative, which is a process that will require years since there are none now. But until then, all this trend could do is hold its ground and keep from turning into a new revolutionary extreme.