Whilst a number of things still remain unclear about the future of Egypt, there is some incorrect reporting that needs to be addressed.
Western Media, particularly the BBC, naturally represent the viewpoint of the journalists, which is the capitalist viewpoint. Far from merely reporting the facts of the events, they appear to have a predefined goal, then hunt for events and people to interview who will help them to achieve that goal. Either it is deliberate or just a plain inability to honestly evaluate their own thinking, hence they assume all others to view the world as they do.
The reporting of the events in Egypt have been no different. The demonstrating Egyptians have had so many words put into their mouths, all aiming to achieve personal objectives of those commenting, but none of them accurate. Little attempt has been made to understand Egyptians as they are, rather than as we would like them to be.
What is clear is that America is now planning for losing Mubarak, which means that they are working on his replacement, perhaps ElBaradei or Nour, or another ambitious Egyptian. Time will tell. Just as Mubarak’s decision to re-shuffle his government is in reality no change at all, and the Egyptian people are unlikely to be satisfied with this, the same way that the Tunisians are not satisfied with Ben Ali’s replacement.
However, the Egyptian protesters are asking for real change, of the complete system, not only Mubarak himself. This has been repeated over and over, with Mubarak as the symbol of the old system that they are seeking to replace.
We may hear an Egyptian protester saying that we want liberation, but he does not mean the same thing as an average Westerner means when he says this. He is not complaining that Mubarak’s regime prevented him from having many girlfriends, or from wearing what clothes he wants, or from being allowed to insult the prophets for example. Western protesters may value such things, but this is not a concern for most Egyptians.
There are always a few Egyptians who have been infatuated by the American University in Cairo or Western media, who may desire such matters. These are mostly from the circle of the Egyptian elite, which includes the government officials and their families. These are not likely to be instigating the demonstrations, as the government has never held them back from such aspirations. Some may hate religion, as Westerners do, so may desire to change Egyptian culture, but again the government has never been an obstacle to this, as they share in the same goals. There have been some Egyptian protesters who are driven by ideological thoughts of increased democracy. These are the ones who make up the bulk of the interviewees or whose tweets and emails are selected, as they suit the agenda of the Western journalist. Such people do not make up the majority of Egyptians, nor the protesters.
When such people do call for change, they are complaining about a system that excludes them from political life. They are similar to opposition parties in Egypt, who do not really want to see a complete change, but rather a partial change that includes themselves. They are not about to serve the interests of the rest of the Egyptians, but only themselves, whichever Western colonialist puppet master can lure them, or satisfy their own personal ideological bent.
The Kifaya movement which started ten years ago had its origins in the old socialists of Cairo. This does not mean that today’s protesters should be viewed as calling for socialism. Kifaya merely tapped into a great deal of underlying frustration in the Egyptian people. There slogans for change have hit a nerve, initially with students, and now with average Egyptians.
Looking at the Egyptian public, it is necessary to consider what the underlying complaints are and hence drives them to demonstrate.
Most Egyptians cannot claim to be directly targeted by Hosni’s regime, as in fact, it is the religious Muslims that the government have been fighting extremely harshly, on America’s behalf, for the last fifty years. These people have a real grudge against the government, so the kind of change that they desire is for Islam to be implemented and not attacked. If the change is only partial, to another Western sponsored puppet, then they will not be satisfied, although they may be fooled and hence pacified temporarily.
The average Egyptian is moderately religious, meaning that he cares about the Quran and his prayer and does not desire for it to be abused or abandoned any further. He does not share the Westerner’s ideas of freedom, but does want liberation from oppression. He witnesses the West’s war against Islam, under the name of a war against terror, and feels offended and that he is the target of the West’s hatred. Furthermore, he sees his own government’s complicity with America and how it does nothing to defend his honour. He also sees the huge injustices done on Palestine and how his government assists the Americans and Israelis in this.
The oppression that he feels is multifaceted. He feels the oppression of the religious Muslim activist, as they are his family and neighbours. Every Egyptian knows someone who has disappeared or been tortured by the regime, hence they are acutely conscious of and feel the oppression in the fear that it creates. The huge distrust and fear that they could become the next victim, is something that they desire liberation from.
Furthermore, the hopeless economic situation is without a doubt felt by most Egyptians, and they want liberation from it. This situation requires some examination into its true causes. Mubarak built the economy on tourism, which is never going to be a stable basis for economic growth. In industry, while Egypt has factories, these are primarily Western foreign companies’ assembly plants used to access Middle Eastern markets. The factories are nominally owned by an Egyptian individual, but the company profits still exit the country to the real Western owners’ bank accounts. The fact is that Mubarak’s regime has never built any serious industry, nor developed any serious technology. Had he done so, then there could have been real economic progress in Egypt. America does not desire such an independent economy, so Mubarak was never allowed to build one. He even used every means to stop Egyptian innovation, such as corruption, imprisonment of potential rivals and allowing Alaa’, his son, to extort vast sums from anyone starting a business in Egypt.
Here is the critical matter for the protesters; if they accept any partial change, including any new regime that continues to court Western approval, then nothing will actually change, as no new heavy industry will be built. Nor will they be allowed to undermine Western colonial objectives for the region. As these are the true causes of Egyptian misery, then unless they are addressed, nothing will actually change.
Were the Egyptians to be allowed a superficial token economic boom, like Singapore’s or South Korea’s, they would remain no more than a satellite of the US economy, hence extremely vulnerable as has been demonstrated in the recent US economic crisis.
Egyptians also suffer corruption and bribery in their daily lives. This is a direct consequence of the hopeless state of the economy and of a consequent increasing culture of distrust for each other to build a functioning society. Without real change to the ruling system, then even this will not be resolved.
So, the real call of the Egyptians is to end the colonial subservience of their regime. Unless they call for a total change then nothing will be different in this regard. The colonialist Britain and America are working day and night to support dictators in the Middle East, to serve their own interests and never those of the people. Egyptian and Arab nationalism is a colonial invention and was the main legitimising excuse of Mubarak’s regime. To continue to call for it, as the basis of change will only lead back into the hands of the Americans. Anyone taking leadership of the country on a nationalist basis must be accused of being an American agent, even if he is naive and blind to it. It will only be a matter of time before he is the subject of Egyptian protesters’ anger. His rule will be a lot shorter than Mubarak’s however.
The test for all new regimes, as to whether they have really changed, is how do they treat those Islamic activists working for a state which will implement the shariah, expel the colonialists’ influence and bring success to the people, in this life and the next.
Being as the protesters are overwhelmingly Muslim; not only nominally, but actually caring about their deen and their place in this life and the next, then it is ludicrous to suggest that they will be satisfied with anything less than the full implementation of the shariah. It may take some more time until the exact details of what the shariah expects of Islamic rule is well understood, but it is only a matter of time. Until then, the US and UK governments and media will continue to delay the inevitable, supporting despicable dictators and pseudo democratic rulers in Muslim lands. The da’awah carriers will continue to be oppressed, as will the rest of the people. The difference is that now the fear has been taken out of the people’s hearts and put into the hearts of the rulers, especially those nationalist and secular colonial stooges who may take over from the current outgoing dictators.
A Reader’s Contribution from Yahya Nesbit who lived in Egypt for 5 years.