I’ve written before about this subject, but there is something that prompts me to ask these questions again.
Are all those who criticise the regime considered opponents of the government? Are all those who are opponents of the government put in a box and dubbed “Muslim Brotherhood”? Do we consider all Brotherhood members to be terrorists?
These are important questions at the heart of the political, legal, and moral dilemma that we face at the moment. The writer of this article criticises the state’s policies in dealing with young people and university students. I cannot imagine how we will free young detainees after several years. I believe they will be so alienated from society. They will refuse its general system, symbols, and people.
They don’t need to be treated as criminals—we are not even sure if they should be in jail in the first place. They need to be rehabilitated socially, intellectually, and politically. They need to complete their education. We don’t want them to be aides to the enemies of our homeland. They cannot be imprisoned forever. It’s not possible to exile them, and it’s not possible to ignore their presence in prisons.
Am I classified as a resister or opponent because I criticise the situations that don’t serve the public interest, the society, and the homeland?
I don’t classify myself as an opponent of the current system, believing that it requires a full opportunity to address this appalling numbers of challenges on different levels. However, opponents have the right to express whatever they believe in as long as it’s a national opposition.
The national opposition does not hate Al-Sisi more than it loves Egypt, and it is not ready to destroy Egypt in order to remove Al-Sisi.
The national opposition differentiates between one who talks about religion and religion itself. The national opposition differentiates between being against a specific law or article and the ideology of the law. Each law and each institution represents the interests of the economically dominant class against the other classes—reminiscent of Karl Marx and his students.
The patriotic opposition should refuse help from foreign countries. The liberals think that foreign countries have the right to intervene in the affairs of Egypt to ensure human rights and freedoms under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some Brotherhood members think that they are able to invade Egypt and destroy its people so that they can rule the country. They did not review the stupid and evil results that they inflicted on the country.
In the beginning, the state rejected the Brotherhood while society accepted them. Both the state and society refuse them now. Those defending President Al-Sisi should not liken the national opposition to the Brotherhood which has become unpatriotic.
There is also a question about the limits of likening Brotherhood members to terrorists. It is a serious issue. I have written an article titled “Muslim Brotherhood: terrorist, oaf, and wanton”. The Brotherhood members include some oafs and wantons who need a special religious, political, and educational discourse, so as not to turn into professional terrorists.
Let us always remember that the Brotherhood raised its youth when the state failed in that mission, and offered them medical treatment while the state also failed in that. So we need to recover quickly. We need to pay more attention to the poorer provinces in Egypt, such as Assiut, Sohag, and Qena. The president should enable the governors to allocate land for the establishment of new factories through beneficial interest and profit sharing systems, without the need to obtain approval from the central government in Cairo. The president should direct the minister of education to give licences to those who want to establish private schools, on the condition that one third of the students will pay lower fees in order to support the spread of literacy. Otherwise, the current regime is working in favour of the return of the Muslim Brotherhood to power.
So those who criticise the regime are not necessarily opponents, the opponents are not necessarily affiliated with the Brotherhood, and not all Brotherhood members are terrorists. Finally, there will not be a new Egypt without new Egyptians.
Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah is an Egyptian professor of political science. He previously served as an adviser to the prime minister of Egypt, and professor of political science at both Cairo University and Central Michigan University.