It is true that there can be no comparison between the Egyptian Army and the Assad regime armed mafia and security apparatus, but in the end, the army in Egypt did a great harm. To begin with, the political crisis that was brewing in Egypt, deep as it is, remains a classical political crisis for a developing country just about to join the free world. It is not uncommon for a political party in such situation to believe that its ballot box victory, even with a slim margin, gives it license to launch major social and political engineering and starts to exclude everyone else, in the absence of firmly established democratic practices and institutions.
This of course is not to belittle the gravity of the MBs failure in Egypt. And there are many Egyptians and perhaps Syrian refugees living in Egypt who can far better describe the failure and political suicide of the MBs over the past year than I could ever do. Yet, what the army has done is no less than an anti-democratic military coup despite of the fire-works, and the millions of cheering people in the streets, on TV talk shows, or in living rooms and coffee shops where trendy people tend to discuss the “islamists” threat and their inability to govern.
I always believed that islamists can not govern in a truly democratic and plural manner, and recent events be it in Turkey or Egypt, along with the abysmal despotic record of Hamas in Gaza, and topped with the criminal, prehistoric, and stupid practices and decrees of self imposed illegal sharia courts in some liberated areas of Syria did not reinforce my belief, but only gave me more illustrations of different flavors and degrees of bitterness.
Yet, in Egypt, there was a unique opportunity to solve a brewing major political crisis through political process. The masses, gathering again in Tahrir square, and with no threat of regime use of military and security forces to squash their movement, had within reach many peaceful and democratic political tools and actions that could have been taken to force the government and president to resign. This includes but not limited to continued protest, boycotts, and even wide scale nationwide extended civil disobedience. The army’s rapid, and premeditated interference preempted a political process that would have given the people power even over the army itself. Perhaps that is exactly what the Generals feared.
Some may argue that the political leadership in Egypt failed miserably in establishing the political dialogue required to solve the crisis. But in my opinion, as a Syrian witnessing the catastrophic failure of political leadership within the traditional opposition, or better yet, the complete absence of such leadership, such failure is the hidden silver lining of the tragedy for it gives the opportunity for the young generation to assume its natural leading role in politics especially in societies as young as those in the Arab region. I know that for fact, for I have met some of the real political leaders of future Syria. Those who are working on the inside, and are tuned to the pulse of their people with no slogans or long poisonous speeches. The military coup has just preempted the rise of the political youth in Egypt in no lesser way than the first military council did by turning a national conscious forming action and movement into a mere election campaign, which is merely a tool.
Then, there is the risk of turning the islamists, once more into the eternal martyrs and victims and the demonstration, once again, that for Arab secularists, democracy is a relative term since this is the third time in the very recent memory when the islamists favorable ballot box results are thrown away in an Arab country. Echos from Algeria are humming, and knowing what we know today about the dirty role of the Algerian army in that civil war, and the many war crimes committed by both sides of that conflict, the gravity of the military coup in Egypt begins to sink.
A sad song, a song sung in 1970 by a great poet called Amal Donqol seems very appropriate on this occasion. It is an Arabic warning shout about armies and soldiers. I could not find an appropriate translation, but I hope one day soon to translate this great poem. I hope I am wrong regarding the intention of the Egyptian national army, but nevertheless, damage to democracy has been done. I could not let the Fourth of July, such a great day of my beloved adoptive country; pass without shouting a warning to the land where civilization was born.
قلت لكم مرارا
إن الطوابير التي تمر ..
في استعراض عيد الفطر والجلاءْ .
(فتهتف النساء في النوافذ انبهارا)
لا تصنع انتصارا.
إن المدافع التي تصطف على الحدود , في الصحاري
لا تطلق النيران .. إلا حين تستدير للوراء .
إن الرصاصة التي ندفع فيها .. ثمن الكسرة والدواء :
لا تقتل الأعداء
لكنها تقتلنا .. إذا ما رفعنا صوتنا جهارا
تقتلنا , وتقتل الصغارا
قلت لكم في السنة البعيدة
عن خطر الجنديّ
عن قلبه الأعمى , وعن همته القعيدة
يحرس من يمنحه راتبه الشهريّ
ليٌرْهبَ الخصومُ بالجعجعة الجوفاء
لكنه .. إن يحن الموت ..
فداء الوطن المقهور والعقيدة :
فرَّ من الميدانْ
وأعلن (( الثورة )) في المذياع والجريدة !
قلت لكم كثيرا
إن كان لابد من هذه الذريّة اللعينة
فليسكنوا الخنادقَ الحصينةْ
(متخذين من مخافر الحدود .. دورا )
لو دخل الواحدُ منهم هذه المدينة :
يدخلها .. حسيرا
يلقي سلاحه .. على أبوابها الأمينة
لأنه .. لا يستقيم مَرَحُ الطفل ..
وحكمة الأب الرزينة
مع المُسدّس المدلّى من حزام الخصر ..
وفي مجالس الشورى
قلت لكم ..
لم تسمعوا هذا العبثْ
ففاضت النارُ على المخّيماتْ
وفاضت .. الجثثْ !
وفاضت الخُوذاتُ والمدرَّعات
أمل دنقل 1970
Just as I finished writing this post, i received the note of Amal Hanano’s first piece on her recent trip to Turkey and to Liberated Syria. As usual, my wonderful and inspiring friend Amal, thank you once more.