Wednesday May 22nd, 2024
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From Arrogance to Patriotism

Growing up in the UK, Adam Mowafi had long considered it as the pinnacle of democracy and perfect political processes. It turns out he was making the same mistake many analysts looking at Egypt are still making today...

Staff Writer

From Arrogance to Patriotism

I grew up in the UK which I still define, when compared to the US, as the free world, and was always fascinated by the inner workings of parliament and the state. I was rightly proud to be a citizen of a country where one could see the democratic process evolve throughout the years. Even though I classify myself as Egyptian, having been born in the UK and living there until I was 24 years old, my background made me guilty of what many commentators seem to be guilty of: an air of arrogance when comparing Egypt to where I grew up. I was guilty of assuming Egyptians were uneducated and that the West knew what was "good" for Egypt. Five years later, after being immersed into Egyptian culture and Egyptian politics; just a revolution or two later (depending on your perspective) I have completely changed my attitude. 

Egyptians are not stupid and, despite our obsession with conspiracy, we have a well-grounded sense of logic. Frankly, western hypocrisy is just not something we will accept and for this we get called naïve.  We see Americans kill hundreds of thousands if not millions in several wars over the last 30 years to fight so-called extremism, yet we get told we Egyptians are acting like animals for doing the same thing. We get told we are harsh in dealing with protests but we remember the US’ brutal crackdown on the LA riots and the unarmed Occupy movements where the police over there were not facing small but heavily armed contingents within them. I shudder to think how the US security forces would react to protestors trying to storm police stations or military installations, but we are Egypt, so we are told to accept these scenarios and act with restraint.

The US speaks with huge authority not because people look up to its convoluted "democratic" system, where lobbyists means those with money make policy and those without get trampled, but instead because the US holds the biggest stick. The reality is US defence and it's military influence policy from the behind the scene, but they freak out when they think the Egyptian army does the same. I often find it amusing when commentators talk about Egypt's military’s economic standing, while essentially the US Army is one of America’s biggest businesses. What they make selling arms, which goes directly back to the military coffers, would make all the Egyptian military businesses put together look like a tiny drop in the ocean.

We are told to reconcile with the Brotherhood but in the US, New York policemen are busy spying on mosques and arresting "extremist" Muslims under the Patriot Act whenever the feel the security situation demands it.

Fact is, unlike many Middle Eastern countries, Egypt has a sense of self. This, of course, does not mean we are perfect; far from it. But it does mean we are aware of what goes on globally and we are no more guilty than any other country. Egyptians will not accept people who are guilty of the very same mistakes they accuse Egyptians of, telling us what is fair. 

We understand the world we live in today is ruled by the law of the jungle; those who are strongest have the biggest say. For this reason, no country has the right to call Egyptians naïve for the near-unquestionable support for the army especially when we see what happens to nations where the US propaganda machine tells them they will be better off when they obliterate their military. With 1.2 million deaths and counting in Iraq, I fail to see where US has saved anyone's life or made the Iraqi population better off than they were under Saddam.

Egypt has a multitude of serious problems and defining our identity, our religious values, our relationship with the state are all challenges we will face. Nevertheless, Egypt has been around for millennia and ingrained in its people is a sense of patriotism that is impossible to shake; one thing for sure is nothing drives us as crazy as an analysts telling us to reconcile with a group we perceive as a threat to our security and beliefs, especially when that analyst comes from a country which kills millions for exactly that same reason.I would hazard that Egyptians would react far better if analysts tried to understand why the majority turned against the elected Morsi after only a year, before they go off blaming the ‘deep state’ or ‘media propaganda’.