The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

48 hours of bliss, fear and anger – in that order

Nour The Intern writes in with some personal thoughts... 

Following the military's earlier-than-expected ultimatum, protesters in Tahrir and elsewhere, and their supporters at home, let out a collective sigh of relief and smiled contentedly. The military had just promised to get rid of Morsi, they just have to stay put for two short days. No one has to die or sleep on the asphalt. All they have to do is wait.

The ultimatum, which people are treating as if it were employment termination letter, gave the channel Al-Kahera Wa Alnas, who already shared Mahmoud Saad's views on the importance of a neutral media - which he summarized last night in two words and a sound: "Huh? What neutrality?" - the courage to rid themselves of the last pretense of it. The channel now has a 4-split screen coverage of protests: three anti-Morsi protests by "the Egyptian people" and one by mere, probably foreign,"regime supporters," topped with a timer counting down the hours to Morsi's ouster.

While many, like the editors staff of al-Destour newspaper, for instance, have been praying for a military intervention for months now, not everyone greeted the news with open arms. 

Shortly after the ultimatum was delivered, pictures of the "blue bra girl" resurfaced on Facebook with the caption: "Remember this?" 

"The SCAF conducted virginity tests, they dragged, beat up and killed people, this (meaning the intervention) should not be cause for celebration," according to my brother. His objection to toppling an elected president aside, he believes, along with the presumed majority of people, that no one other than the SCAF can run the country, given the continued lack of alternative leadership. "(The SCAF) is a necessary evil," he concluded, after cursing out the people for being deserving better, the president and the SCAF for not being better.

Regardless of their repeated claims to the contrary, many worry that the SCAF will overstay its welcome.

Meanwhile, the salafis are believed to be scared and purposefully vague. On one hand, some of the Nour Salafi Party members have joined the Rabaa Adawiya protest to support what is, at the end of the day, a fellow islamist. Others have signed Tamarod. Also, the party itself refused to join the official MB pro-legitimacy protest two Fridays ago. The fact that they have not sided with anyone yet after the military's ultimatum is adding to the general confusion. 

Naturally, anger was palpable at the islamists' counter-protest at Rabaa al-Adawiya, where they all seemed ready, if not eager, to "sacrifice their money, women and lives for Allah," who apparently would be hurt if Morsi left office.

"I won't accept the military, not even for one second of my life," said the nearly-famous and fervent Gofran Salah, a Brother who helped dismantle the tents of protesters at the Etihadia sit-in and lost it when he found a box of cheese.

What Salah, and the Brothers altogether, plan to do to put an end to a military rule that hasn't begun yet, remains unclear.

PS: it seems the MOI has been offered a golden opportunity to redeem itself. Having stuck up for the anti-MB protesters and even joined a few marches, it seems everything they have done has been forgotten, if only temporary, and they're one step away from being pronounced the protectors of the revolution. 

You know what they say: "I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers".

Oh, and here's Nader Bakkar's uninspired statement: Don't kill each other. The people have legitimate needs, even if some of them resort to violence, which they should really cut out. We don't mind helping out, you just gotta ask Morsi (and say please). Something something Allah, something something Egypt. 

If Bakkar wants to regain the 25% of parliamentary seats they had last year in the next elections, he should turn against MB. Public opinion > alliance with a fickle partner that has done nothing but disappoint you. Just sayin'  


OK, last email. Hey, don't sigh at me. Sigh at the revolution.

The islamists who are standing by Morsi are the islamist coalition, as it turns out. Al-Nour and the Salafi Da'waa are distancing themselves from him a bit. These are their suggestions/shy-demands:

1) Despite supporting legitimacy, we think early elections are in the best interest of Egypt to prevent bloodshed and civil war. 

2) We want a neutral, technocratic government to solve problems and supervise the parliamentary elections. 

3) Form a committee to amend the constitution, but not come near articles relating to the (religious) identity of Egypt.