On Khairy Ramadan’s program Momken, a caller affirmed his charitable foundation’s disassociation from the Muslim Brotherhood; he vehemently denied having Brotherhood members on the foundation’s board or working for it. On Studio el Balad, the talk show host, Rola Kharsa, was unable to hold back her fury at a remark Abou Traika had said. Abou Traika happens to be not only one of the best football players in Egypt but also an MB member. She suggests he goes and plays for Hamas or Qatar, insinuating that he isn’t welcome in his own country.
Resala, a charitable foundation similar to the Salvation Army in North America, had to issue a disclaimer on most Egyptian TV channels, “Resala is not affiliated to any religious group or party,” the disclaimer explained. Business had plummeted as a rumour surfaced associating Resala with the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Facebook discussions ensue about several stores: Seoudi, Ragab and sons, and El Hassan Wel Hossein amongst others; ownership and funding of all are questioned. Some Facebook followers deny the association; others verify them. If Brotherhood ownership is confirmed, the patrons stay away. A Big Brother stance hovers over how Egyptians transact today.
Egyptians saw so much vile from the Muslim Brotherhood that a vendetta was imminent. The prevalent feeling is loath resulting in an urge to disown, curtail, boycott, or sanction anything and everything remotely associated with the MB. This attitude may have been logical as the Brotherhood was a dominant force. Now, as it dissipates, is this feeling justified?
At one level, these public figures and popular stores are Egyptian as much as everyone else is; they participate in creating work and bringing in money; they pay their taxes and hire workers. While at another level, as members of the MB, they may lobby for the gamaa, organization, fund it, and who knows, maybe even lend a hand to inciters.
Egypt is seething with hatred. Rightfully or wrongfully is not what matters here. Egyptians may be justified in the hatred; however, this translates into an inability to coexist. It would be interesting to see how neighbours, colleagues, and peers will continue to live together in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood will not disappear; they will continue to live in Egypt, as they are Egyptians. Egyptians can’t load them off on buses and send them to the border. Without an offence, no one can imprison every single MB member. I would think very carefully before I try to exclude all Muslim Brotherhood members from society, especially those who did not commit any offence or those who don’t carry a grudge. The hatred will backfire and will resonate with more malice than not. Indeed in the long run, they will become the victims instead of the victimizers.
The other extreme is how Egyptians see the army and, in particular, the Commander in Chief, Abdel Fattah El Sissi. A couple of photos on Facebook and Twitter show a bride surrounded by her bridesmaids all adorning the Egyptian flag and carrying El Sissi’s photos. If this isn’t “over,” a word Egyptians often use when matters are magnified and exaggerated, I don’t know what is.
Songs attributing Egypt’s security and triumph to the army and El Sissy are played relentlessly. Even more so, the repertoire of jubilant songs sung at weddings has an addition: “Teslam el Ayadi,” a song hailing the army, its men, and its commander. And when Egyptians are asked about the next president, El Sissi is named without hesitation.
In all fairness the man has proven that he is thorough and rational. All his decisions were carefully thought out. He has been firm with wrongdoers while protecting Egyptians, and he is bringing Sinai back after Morsi had almost lost it as well as the men guarding it.
Still, Egyptians either love or hate; when they hate, they hate unequivocally, and when they love, they love blindly. The fine line between what standard behaviour and what fear mongering, or blind worship for that matter, are has been stepped over.
However, overcoming these acute emotions can’t happen while the MB still pursues terror, its hateful venom spewing all over Egypt. Egyptians can’t overlook downright terror. This must happen first, but once it does, and though it won’t be easy to live and let live, Egyptians have to move on. They have to become vigilant but not vicious; they have to remain alert and wary but not blind and spiteful.
They have to draw the line.