Egypt: the destruction of a nation

Bassem Youssef
Bassem Youssef
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I have decided today that I will no longer be neutral. I will not grab the stick from the middle. It would be easy to direct my anger at both sides, to free my conscience from the practice of the police, criticize the performance of the interim government for its stupidity and insistence on the security solution and scream at the top of my lungs, “down with military rule!” I could dedicate the remainder of this article to cursing the Brotherhood and showing how their actions led to our current suffering. I could extend my condolences to the martyrs and emphasize that “all the blood is sacred” as I curse both sides and put my pen down with a healthy conscience because I have preserved my humanity, cursed the universe and raised myself to a moral high ground from which I could drop my curses, disdain and loathing for the army and the Brotherhood.

It is a nice, easy and inwardly comfortable solution.

However, today, I have decided to take a side: I will take one side for there is no room for lenient and undecided stances. I have decided I will take the side of the Brotherhood. What? Did I shock you? Just bear with me.

Brotherhood supporters are screaming all over the place; “this is a war on Islam and religion, so the choice here is clear.” I will take the side of the sacred; I will take the side that is never wrong. I will suffer a little of the crisis in understanding their contradictions, but that is okay. Let’s take it step by step, and – God willing – I will reach their convictions.

The first step is very easy: I will agree with the Brotherhood that the police are stupid and monstrous thugs. How can they disperse a sit-in with such brutality? Even if there were weapons at the sit-in, that will soon be forgotten and the Brotherhood can use these videos [of sit-in dispersals] forever. So thanks are in order to the Ministry of Interior for its life-long service to the Brotherhood. Besides, were there not weapons and were not the roads blocked in Tahrir Square over the last two years? Why single me out? It is true that the Brotherhood’s stance regarding the police used to be totally different; they demanded the murder of everyone who came near the Ministry of Interior and recited verses to us from the Quran about punishing bandits who block the roads. They embraced the police and the Ministry of Interior; the devout bearded president gave them privileges, weapons and unprecedented support. He made them “partners” in the revolution of January 25 and his supporters chanted at his infamous conferences: “Strike them Mursi, we are with you!” But that was back when the Ministry of Interior belonged to them. Yesterday’s allies are today’s murderers. Had the masses of June 30 not been able to depose him, it is possible those chants could have manifested into action and their media would have celebrated reporting the forced dispersal of the Tahrir sit-in. Those protestors were thugs who wanted to terrorize the nation. When the Brotherhood has a sit-in, it is for a higher purpose, higher than even the nation; it is for the victory of faith, Islam, Shariah law, and of course democracy. Repeated violations to legitimacy and democracy do not matter. Besieging the institutions, hitting and killing the violent protestors at Ittihadeyya Palace does not matter. And it does not matter that the “greatest constitution in the world” was written overnight and it turns out that it gives the army unprecedented privileges. This can be fixed with time because when Mursi resumes power we can get rid of the murderous military and replace it with patriotic Brotherhood leaders who can make good use of these privileges.

Voltaire says: “He who tells you to believe what he does or God will curse you is saying: believe what I do or I will kill you”

Bassem Youssef

I try to transfer my sympathy for the Brotherhood to the people around me and make them look at the incredible numbers killed in Rabaa Sqaure, al-Manassa, and the Republican Guard. Unfortunately, they focus on other insignificant things such as the residents [of Rabaa] who were killed, terrorized and tortured by the Brotherhood. However, the Brotherhood claims those people are thugs so I have to believe them. I try to show my friends how stupidly the Brotherhood sit-ins were dealt with and how we need to stop this despicable hatred from controlling us, but they respond by yelling in my face the number of civilians killed in governorates and the dead soldiers in Sinai. One of them even reminds me of the nine citizens murdered in cold blood when they tried to break into the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Moqattam; therefore, we need not be sad over those who die while trying to break into the army’s institutions. Another yells the number of charred churches in my face. Nevertheless, I believe the Brotherhood and Al-Jazeera that the Copts themselves burned down the churches. The Brotherhood holds no hatred or malevolence towards the Copts. Ignore the hate-speech on their channels and stages and forget that time when the Brotherhood viciously attacked a Coptic engineer who was too scared to even mention his name; these are all exceptional incidents and do not represent the peaceful and moderate outlook of the Brotherhood.

I have decided to reject all manifestations of the security state with its lowly fascist media, which has outdone the media of the Islamist Hafez and Al-Nas channels in spreading hatred and inciting strife. Instead, we have Al-Jazeera, which does not lie, agitate people, or fabricate news. I have decided to support the Brotherhood even if this leads to the burning of Egypt, the spread of armed groups and the realization of their precious dreams of a divided army and foreign intervention. It does not matter if we are a revised copy of the Syrian scenario; all of this is for a higher purpose, which is the victory of the Islamic state or what is left of it. Do not weep over the Egyptian army, do you remember all the talk about us having the best soldiers in the world? The Brotherhood used to repeat that during their honeymoon with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces but it turned out to be empty talk. It will become right once more when the Brotherhood creates its own army.

The Brotherhood has fallen prey to the media

Honestly, I am facing a challenge in defending the Brotherhood in front of my friends; they have unfortunately fallen prey to the continuous brainwashing by the media. Regrettably, they cannot understand the higher purpose of defending Islam, Shariah law, and how it takes several forms that are difficult for people like us to understand. I remember when Hamas, the Brotherhood supporters in Gaza, faced a very complicated situation. They had killed Sheikh Abou Nour al-Maqdesy and a hundred of his followers in Ibn Taymeya mosque when he considered Hamas lagging with implementing Shariah law and announced the formation of the Islamic emirate. As a result, the Hamas militias raided the mosque and wiped out everyone in it. A legitimate justification for what happened was required so Sheikh al-Qaradawi publicly supported what Hamas did with all his might and he cynically commented, “what Shariah and Islamic state are you talking about? When we free the land first we can sit down and talk.” He made it clear what Hamas did was necessary and after sending people to negotiate with them and they rejected, he said that the people at Ibn Taymeya mosque “misunderstood Jihad”, and because of them, jihad jurisprudence was created. This is the same Qaradawi who demanded the jihad of Muslims in Egypt and praised NATO and the United States for liberating Libya. Do not be consumed by this contradiction, for they are a stream that understand how to make Shariah and religion suit them- thus they kill those in Ibn Taymeya mosque because it serves an interest. Moreover, this applies to al-Fatah mosque in Ramses when they use it for a sit-in, raise the holy books and snipe people from the minarets because this too serves an interest. Is not it a beautiful thing to take the side of the group that is always right - and all through Shariah and religion?

Unfortunately, my friends have turned into neo-fascists who want to crush the Brotherhood and think that it is only a matter of days until we get rid of them forever. People on the street do not value their blood just as the Brotherhood does not value the nation. Phrases such as “negotiation,” “political solution,” and “the impossibility of wiping out an entire group and its members and sympathizers” have become worthless in the midst of the Brotherhood rhetoric.

It appears, therefore, that the only option is for me to join the Brotherhood to the end so we can bring down the army, police, deep state remnants and everyone who contributed stupidity and prejudice to reaching our current state of infighting. The solution can be found with the Brotherhood, their Islamic state and their principles that change according to their interests and to interpretation of religion. They are absolutely right and they lounge in God’s shadow on Earth. Voltaire says: “He who tells you to believe what he does or God will curse you is saying: believe what I do or I will kill you.”

Consequently, since killing is ensured either way, and there is no hope in reconciliation, it is probably best that we choose how we want to die. Moreover, how beautiful it is to die for the sake of building a caliphate specifically tailored for the Brotherhood. Maybe then their sheikhs would pronounce us martyrs after spending a lifetime of disbelief and delusion.

Perfectly prepped for the Brotherhood

The scene now is perfectly prepped to give the Brotherhood what they want, because the unplanned decision on the part of the current authority could pave the way for international sanctions. It seems the current authority is playing its part well: its media, interior ministry, and police violations will all be up on YouTube which serves the Brotherhood’s case well; video footage of random shootings and excessive police violence. These videos will find their way out and will cover any violations from the Brotherhood’s side or hate-speech against Copts; the army; the police and justifying the police deaths, or footage of the police showing kindness towards people. State violence is always more desirable and, thankfully, the Ministry of Interior has not been touched with any reform during Mursi’s era; in fact, it grew more cruel and unjust so do not be surprised when prisoners were killed and the official explanation is a joke. Such violations can externally cover anything the Brotherhood does. As a result, thanks are in order to the Ministry of Interior.

As a new Brotherhood member, I can now understand how it serves our interests to have an increasing number of casualties, as well as from those who are not Brotherhood members or terrorists but simply people who are afraid of the return of the security state; we can also benefit from their blood and we will later pronounce them martyrs. But now, at the height of the cruelty of the police monster which was fed and nurtured by Mursi’s regime, political and rights activists who were once accused of heresy and disloyalty will join us. We now need them and their good intentions and principles. Consequently, we will be able to build the country that we dream of. We will start, as usual, by apologizing and asking for forgiveness then we will have to show our true colors. All these are but stops whose ultimate aim is to reach our goal.

I cannot find words better than Egyptian Islamic theorist Sayed Qutb’s to explain what I mean about things falling in order. Sayed Qutb says: “Our mission is not to reconcile with this pre-Islamic society or to show it loyalty for its pre-Islamic/ignorant traits that make it invalid for reconciliation. The first step on our path is to rise above this pre-Islamic society; its values and conceptions and to not alter our own values and conceptions, not even a little to meet that society half-way. For we are both at a fork path and if we take their path we lose our entire system and path. It is high time that every Muslim provide his head as a price for the announcement of the Islamic movement and unauthorized planning to build the Islamic regime, by whatever means necessary”.

Have you ever read more beautiful words? “By whatever means necessary…” which means we could have burned the country down if Ahmed Shafiq had won the elections, for the Selmy document, the constitutional declaration, the revolution, Mursi and his legitimacy, or for the African Cup. The important thing is that we burn down the country and from the rubble we will build our state on the remnants of the land.

So thank you to all those who cooperated with us from the state or the media or the kind people who always take the right side.

For when we get what we want we will redefine this right. Do not weep, my dear reader, when you find your nation destroyed, crumbled, and torn apart for somewhere in the literature of the Brotherhood, their convictions, and sheikhs’ fatwas they consider a victory from God and support for Islam. So join us now instead of suffering later in the return of the police state. If you die, we will issue you a bond of forgiveness for your efforts with us.

This article was first published in Egypt-based al-Shorouk and translated by Nadine H. Hafez.


Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian doctor, satirist, and the host of El Bernameg ("The Program"), a satirical news program broadcast by a private Egyptian television station. The press has compared Youssef with American comedian Jon Stewart, whose satire program The Daily Show inspired Youssef to begin his career. Despite all controversy and legal debates it has sparked, El Bernameg has been a major success. It is constantly topping the regional YouTube charts, making Youssef's YouTube channel one of the most subscribed to in Egypt.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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