Who is afraid of the Big Bad Brotherhood?
For the past weeks I have been one of the egyptian bloggers who panicked and cried foul over the fact that the MB is gaining seats in the parliament, but that was just the reactionary person in me speaking and I know that I have been acting like a drama queen over the whole thing. In reality, however, the fact that the MB is winning those seats is not something to be worried about or fear, but in actuality will be a very good thing in the long run. Surprised that I am saying that? Well, just hear me out then. First of all, let’s agree on one thing: the democratic process is working, despite all of the thuggery, forgeries and fraud that are being enacted by the NDP. This is what we wanted in the first place: a more democratic Egypt, right? The fact that the results are not the ones we fancy is part of what living in a democracy is all about. We may not like it, but the people chose them, and if we want to live in a democratic society we have to respect that, even if we don’t like it. And hey, talk about an incentive to get up off your ass and vote the next time. So maybe it’s a good thing that the Boogeyman that is the MB had won this way this time, it should scare everybody else to vote them out the next round, No? Second of all, let’s be objective here about the size of the winnings they made, ok? They ran on 150 seats, and they will likely end up around 100 seats from a parliament of 444. That’s less then 25%. They can’t really do much damage the NDP doesn’t want them to do. And yes, they have more then 65 seats, so they can have a presidential nominee, but that’s not all she wrote. They have to win seats in the shura council and the municipal elections as well, and chances are the NDP will ensure that they don’t get the right percentage there. Not to mention, there is a huge chance that this elections results will not affect the next presidential elections at all. The next parliamentary elections is in 2010 and the next presidential elections is in 2011. In order for them to have a candidate then they have to have at least 65 seats next time and not this time. And who knows, they may not get it next time; a lot of things could change in 5 years. So as far as panicking over the 2011 goes, it’s really premature for us to do so. And let’s also be clear on something: there is a good reason why the NDP is acting so stupidly this time and couldn’t curtail the MB like it did in the other elections and it’s called In-Fighting. The NDP is currently a mess because the Old Guard is teaching the new guard a lesson in manners. The old guard are all from the military-intelligence-Tanzim Taleeay apparatus, they were all raised in the Gamal Abdel Nasser school of dirty politics. The new guard are civilians, businessmen, cronies and sons of connected people who think that all the NDP needs is a good marketing campaign and a couple of hollow slogans about democracy and reform and the people will just believe it and support them. The old guard was like: “You think that’s all it takes? Fine. Go and run without our help and see what will happen to you. You need to be taught a lesson.” And they were taught a big lesson. Biggest evidence of that is the fall of Hossam Badrwai in front of Hisham Khalil. Hossam who is Jimmy’s best friend, got his ass handed to him by a novice playboy, who was the favorite of all the old guard. It’s no accident he won this. At all. Plus, add to that equation the ex-NDP independents who are running against the candidates of their own party, the ineptness of the opposition parties of fielding candidates that can win, the other independent candidates who are saturating the ballot and a judiciary that is still pissed off over them getting sidelined during the presidential elections and you will realize what a fine mess this election has been and that the NDP candidates’ losses are something to be expected. The MB didn’t have that problem. They were unified, they had a clear message and name recognition. Why wouldn’t they win? Third of all, their win will give the egyptian people a chance to try them out and expose them for who they really are. The MB’s line has always been that the people should try them out and see what they stand for, and I support that 100%. I want people to see what kind of issues the MB likes to tackle. The MB MP’s in the last parliament had a list of achievements that ranged from protesting that Nancy Ajram concerts were on TV while the 2003 war on Baghdad was on, to the censoring of certain books they deemed immoral, to submitting a request for an investigation on how the a sanitary products company embarrassed a school of girls by coming over and talking about periods and menstrual cycles and what kind of sanitary products they should use. That’s the kind of stuff they do in parliament. Sure, it’s funny, and they can claim to be fighting social battles, but the people don’t really give a damn about books or concerts. They have serious problems and they want someone- i.e. the MB- to solve them. And they probably won’t. They are too busy demanding that the internet gets filtered from Porn and that ruby puts her cloths on, to actually propose anything meaningful. They could do it, but chances are they won’t. It’s not what they do. So the people will try them out for 5 years, and seeing how they are a group of people who don’t tackle or solve any of the real serious problems that we are facing, I am not sure they will have confidence in them to vote for them again. People voted for the MB to be the NDP’s opposition on the stuff that matters. My bet is that in 5 years they will change their minds. Finally, the MB’s winnings should act as a necessary wake up call to all of the old political parties. It should inform them that they are out of touch and need to reform, restructure themselves and reach out to the people. And that they need to show that they are actual opposition parties, even if they don’t have enough MP’s to actually effectively oppose anything. If they start reaching out to the public, and re-organize and structure themselves for the 2010 elections, and the people start seeing that the MB won’t really do anything, chances are the parties can win big then. Just in time for the 2011 elections. They will have to if they want to survive in the egyptian political arena, and I think the majority of them do. So yeah, this is why I am not really worried about the MB winning. Let them have their 100 candidates in the Parliament. Let’s try them out. Let’s see what they are all about. Let them annoy the NDP MP’s with their silly laws, requests and investigations. Let them scare the shit of the opposition parties to get up off their asses and do something. Either way we can't lose. Let them be who they are and let’s just enjoy the show. It’s one I bet will be worth watching.