In Translation: Eissa on the success of Egypt's revolution

We are back with translations from the awesome Industry Arabic, purveyors extraordinaire of linguistic services. It's been a while, and I wanted to capture the reaction to Morsi's rise in the last month from a major voice in the Egyptian media, Ibrahim Eissa, long one of the most strident critic of the Mubarak regime and a figure of the revolution.

The piece below seems to me somewhat extreme, but it is not necessarily from an anti-Islamist perspective — although certainly an anti-MB perspective. Eissa occupies a limbo between nationalist, socialist and Islamist in the Egyptian commentariat and has emerged as one of strongest non-felool voices in the media. I think it speaks of the disappointment of many of the revolutionaries, if not necessarily of a majority of Egyptians.

The Success of Our Failed Revolution

Ibrahim Eissa, al-Tahrir, August 28 2012.

The moment of truth has arrived.

We must be courageous and recognize that the January 25 revolution has failed up to now.

I don't want to injure anyone or break the cocoon of illusion inhabited by many of those who marched in the protests of January 25 and the Day of Rage, or who rejoiced and praised the day Mubarak stepped down, and those addicted to applying the label "revolutionaries" to themselves on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts or in café squabbles. Those people can remain in their cocoon, since that is the best place for those with special – revolutionary – needs to reside.

Let's have the honesty of a surgeon who tells a patient that he has a tumor that will kill him within three months, and say that the success of the revolution does not consist in the number of participants, the justice of the cause, or how many sacrifices and victims it leaves. Rather, its success depends on seeing its aims realized.

In that case, the revolution was launched in order to topple the regime. So was it toppled?

Please do not make me laugh and tell me how Mubarak stepped down and was imprisoned along with his cronies. This joke does not bear out the seriousness of what we are talking about, as this was not the regime that we are trying to bring down.

Also do not parrot the notion that President Morsi's decision to remove Field Marshal Tantawi and Lieut. Gen. Sami Anan has ended military rule. The revolution is obviously what ushered in Tantawi and his elderly Military Council with thanks and praise through its chants that "the Army and the People are one hand!" That chant had been true until we discovered that we are disabled with that one hand, since one hand alone cannot clap, or tear down and rebuild.

Moreover, Mubarak's rule was not a military regime, but a corrupt police state par excellence. As a result, there was no military rule to topple, since it was not ruling. It was only present in the slogans of our enthusiastic young people, who had been stifled by oppressive and stupid actions.

However, the one response to your silly question about the success of the revolution is that the advent of Morsi was warmly welcomed as in the famous Eid song. It pains me to say that Morsi is not an indication of the revolution's success, but of the electoral success of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Bringing a religious brotherhood to power in place of Mubarak's brotherhood was not among the revolution's aims.

The election was a conflict between two different ways for the revolution to fail: the clear, obvious failure of a Shafiq victory and the failure represented by a Morsi victory, which was concealed and ambiguous to many people.

The country now suffers from a state of chaos and a security vacuum marked by tension and intolerance; accusations of being infidels and traitors are bandied about; strikes and clashes rule the day, gas is burnt and citizens are crucified on the electric power lines. The country is rife with rumors, insults, rudeness, hypocrisy, escalations and depression. This distressed, aggravated, tense country does not let out a laugh; it worries for the future and fears the unknown. Sinai is the lodestar for those coming from Peshawar and Tora Bora and for those who accuse even the birds on the trees of being infidels. Meanwhile, we are still ruled by the IMF and the dictates of Washington, and are under the thumb of the tight relationship between the Muslim Brothers’ turbans and the White House's dome. The Muslim Brotherhood is drunk on its power, is rude toward those who disagree with them and threatens its opponents that it will carry out a plan of "come on, let's ruin their lives." Personalities govern the country who have not yet completed the psychological treatment necessary to remove the impact that long years of prison have had on their behavior. They traffic in religion, and contemptuously play off of people's ignorance of Islam, while demagogues control the gateways and exits of political life.

The revolution has failed to achieve any of its aims as of yet. Please do not tell me that it has made us free, since for my own part, I was free both before and after the revolution, while the slaves and cowards who were freed by the revolution did not preserve this freedom, but turned it into anger, spite, highway robbery and reports filed with the Public Prosecutor containing accusations of treason and apostasy.

We are not saying that the revolution has failed in order to lament and receive condolences in a pavilion befitting an important figure, but in order to be able to recover our power and ability and to continue the revolution – naturally, without the help of the parrot-like revolutionaries and those who have been marred by the revolution.