Followers of Egypt’s political scene must be holding their collective breaths in apprehension and trepidation as things take a turn for the worse.
The Muslim Brotherhood has consolidated its power and is slowly but surely taking over, changing the identity of what was perceived to be “Egyptian”.
The alliance of the Brotherhood with hardcore right-wing religious parties has created an unprecedented divide within Egyptian society on the basis of secular versus sectarian inclination. The president, Mohammed Mursi, is very quickly losing touch with the pulse on the street and with the country’s people. It was only a year ago that he was elected president by a narrow margin of 1 percent.
Within a very short period of time he has managed to alienate his advisors and many of his sympathisers, and has also given the opportunity for members of former president Hosni Mubarak’s now-dissolved party to rise from the ashes and carve out a place in Egypt’s new political scene.
Already, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are out in the streets from both sides, trying to preempt each other’s dominance of key venues. It seems like both sides are playing a very dangerous game of chicken, neither side willing to back down from the inevitable confrontation on the street.
The president’s latest speech, which went on for a long two-and-a-half hours, disappointed many as it failed to bridge the divide with its uncompromisingly threatening tone. In an unprecedented show of outrage, 13,000 judges and district attorneys have decided to sue the president for libel after a general accusation he made about corruption in Egypt’s judiciary in his public speech.
Back on the street, several have already died in the ongoing clashes which started on 28 June. These deadly incidents have not reached the capital, Cairo, yet, where the largest numbers of demonstrators from both sides are amassed.
Al Azhar, Egypt’s highest religious authority, has warned of civil war if both sides refuse to compromise and listen to the voice of reason. Egyptians would be well advised to learn from other nations that have succumbed to civil war in recent memory.
What’s so civil about war anyway?