Monday, March 19, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Youth and Elders.. Generation Gap or Conflict?

Despite their best efforts to conceal it, there are indications that there is an eminent internal conflict within the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB is a strict hierarchy of elders who deliberate decisions at the Guidance Bureau and pass them down to be zealously adhered to by the members of the Brotherhood, as per a strict oath of allegiance of obedience ~ السمع والطاعة  or hear and obey. Not anymore it seems.. The winds of change are finding their way within one of the oldest Egyptian Muslim fraternities in modern Egypt.

Since toppling of Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the MB council has strived to play politics as they emerged as one of the most influential forces in Egypt. While basking in their newfound fame and landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, they are not oblivious to the powerful SCAF and are keen not to ruffle feathers or step on any toes. After Mansour Hassan, ex-Minister of Culture in Sadat's cabinet and Chairman of the Advisory Council created by SCAF, popped up as a potential consensual candidate - to the great dismay of Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq who expected to be bestowed with such honor - most liberal parties scrambled to endorse him. Al Masreyeen Al Ahrar and Wafd parties were among the first to announce their support and there were strong rumors that MB was due to join. But when the Wafd Party was humiliated by its youth who rejected this endorsement and forced the Wafd chairman to retract it, MB was quick to learn the lesson and didn't announce its endorsement.

Some MB youth have vocally announced their staunch support of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who was a prominent member of MB Guidance Bureau but was unceremoniously expelled after he announced his decision to run for president, against MB's decree. Since then MB youth have rallied around Aboul Fotouh, considering him the perfect choice for president especially in the absence of MB's own presidential candidate. The youth were troubled when MB Guidance Bureau vehemently and openly denounced Aboul Fotouh and that they wouldn't support him. But this didn't stop the youth.. They continued to work on his campaign, issue letters of attorney. Now a showdown might be in progress and the MB youth might emulate the Wafd's, and are slowly challenging the Guildance Bureau decisions.

And if that's not enough of a headache, the youth are now joined by other "elders" within the MB who announced today that they are endorsing Aboul Fotouh and who further did the unthinkable: they openly criticized the General Guide:

رفضوا الامتثال لقرار الجماعة بعدم إصدار توكيلات لأبو الفتوح..أقطاب الإخوان ببنى سويف لـ "المرشد": "اتق الله .. وعد إلى رشدك"

If the MB play their cards right they'll avoid a showdown with their youth and other important leaders within the fraternity. Not only to avoid internal conflict and undermining of their movement, but also to avoid loss of face. Everyone's watching. Everyone..

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hamdeen Sabahy ~ Issues and Concerns
This video gives a quick preview of Hamdeen Sabahy..

The reporter is possibly Lebanese or Palestinian with obvious admiration for Nasser, nationalism etc so it's almost like a promo for Sabahy. And although one can't deny that Sabahy is a patriotic and honest politician with integrity, I wasn't too comfortable the last couple of days with his last statements:
1. That he'll build skyscrapers in random areas سنبني ناطحات سحاب في العشوائيات
2. That if elected president, the government would buy off large land from landlords and redistributes it to peasants..
This raises several uneasy concerns:
Who said that skyscrapers are the best solution for random areas.. They're actually the worst! I won't even delve into the economics or logistics which should nip this ridiculous proposal in the bud, and would therefore have to assume that it's a fallacious campaign promise to attract and appease the lower echelons in society; that's not a very promising start.. Actually that's very worrying.. As for redistribution and reallocation of land: what will be the purchase price, how will it be determined, and will it reflect a fair market rate or a random evaluation? And what if landlords refuse to sell their land? Is it obligatory, by force, what..? And most importantly where will the funds come from to finance these purchases? One can also safely assume that what applies to land can also apply to factories and other large private ownership, which would be also "bought" and redistributed in the form of shareholding ownership to the workers..

Sabahy's comments smell of masked nationalization and confiscation of property which brings back bitter memories of the Nasserite era, which although in all fairness had its advantages, it still had a dark and evil side that many of us can't forget..