Learning the art of losing wars from the Brotherhood

Bassem Youssef
Bassem Youssef
Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
11 min read

Suppression and prohibition have been two permanent aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood. For more than 80 years, the Brotherhood continued to exist and to be influential despite the fact that many of its leaders have been imprisoned and that the interior ministry and state security have frequently pursued its members.

The current legal ban imposed on the Brotherhood has not really influenced their interaction with society and does not really affect the ordinary citizens’ view of the group. On the contrary, many sympathize with the Brotherhood, either because they want to take a stance opposing the interior ministry or because they believe that the Brotherhood does not deserve all this injustice against it or maybe because of the manner in which the Brotherhood dealt with the people.

We all remember Brotherhood fraternities at university and how they used to sweep the students poll. We all remember their efforts to organize trips and print pamphlets and exam questions.

The Brotherhood’s political activity at university did not bother anyone. Their gatherings opposing American intervention in Iraq and condemning Israeli violations in Palestine did not represent a threat to anyone and did not upset anyone. On the contrary, we all sympathized with these principles which supported our brothers in Iraq and Palestine.

The Brotherhood was united and balanced despite acts persecuting it and pursuing its members. You actually used to sense that this group possesses experiences. Even the groups’ fiercest opponents used to admit that the Brotherhood’s youths are moral and well-raised people.

After the revolution, many people put their hopes on these youths. The expression “the Brotherhood’s youths are different than its leaders” spread. We believed this statement unaware that the different young men it refers to have in fact left the group already!

The polite and moderate Brotherhood youths vanished and were replaced by youths who insult people via social networking pages, obstruct traffic and education and publicly insult the republic’s mufti

Bassem Youseff

People began to realize the change that has befallen the group after the latter attained power. Morals transformed into arrogance. The group thus acted superiorly with those who disagreed with it. The Brotherhood youths who used to complain of their leaders’ backward ideas turned out to be worse and led chants encouraging Mohammad Mursi to strike protesters.

We thus realized that the expression stipulating that the group’s youths are different is actually a myth and that the struggle between doves and hawks within the group is a mere delusion in our head! We realized that there was no difference between Sobhi Salah, who considered that marrying someone from outside the group was treason, and the young man who used to calmly approach you to encourage you to vote for his fraternity at college. Both believe that they are closer to God than you are and therefore have the right to look down at you and govern you.

Hasn’t one of their young men stated that we are wrong if we think they want to rule Egypt as in fact they want to rule the entire world? Hasn’t one of their leaders appeared on T.V. via Hala Sarhan’s show to say that Egypt is the first of countries they rule and that in less than 50 years, Islamic governance (he means Brotherhood governance of course) will control the world despite everyone’s will?

Imagine that all this comes to an end within few days! Imagine that no one cares! Imagine that the 75% they attained at parliament evaporated before their eyes and that they turned from being the country’s rulers to men being pursued by security apparatuses!

Isn’t this enough to make them lose their minds?

In fact, this is what happened as it seems that the Brotherhood has lost its mind. There is no one to guide them and direct them. Even the one who used to perform this role lost his mind before and incited, insulted and clearly called for army defections and foreign intervention.

After their leaders fled and got arrested, only the youths remained behind. But they are youths who lacked a proper leadership. So what did they do?

Committing mistakes

Amidst the lack of direction, they began to lead initiatives and specify goals. As a result they committed all the mistakes which the revolution youths committed over the course of two years. They imitated the youths whom they accused of treason and infidelity before! Their slogans, marches and chants stupidly imitated the revolution’s youths in a stupid manner.

When you block roads, invent campaigns to create traffic jam or weaken state facilities, you are not revolting against the temporary authority which eliminated you from governance. You are placing yourself in a confrontation with the ordinary citizen. You are rather granting the government which you want to topple a golden opportunity to use you as an excuse for its failure.

Do you remember what happened at Tahrir Square during the first year after the revolution? The Tahrir compound was shut down upon “the revolution’s command” and all problems in Egypt were blamed on the people “obstructing the country” even if the problem was one linked to fuel somewhere in Upper Egypt.

This is exactly what’s happening with the Brotherhood today after they sacrificed themselves thus granting the authority a chance to blame any failure or reluctance on it by stating that the latter is obstructing the country’s affairs.

The Brotherhood youths are also overlooking terrorism in Sinai, Kardasa and Dalja. They are also referring to the Black Bloc as a model. The Brotherhood forgot that no one supported the Black Bloc when it blocked roads and that ordinary citizens blamed their daily crises on the revolution and “those behind it.” But even during the peak of their enthusiasm as they chanted for toppling the military rule, “those behind the revolution” never sought army defections, foreign intervention or a scenario similar to Syria’s situation like the Brotherhood did and continue to do.

The polite and moderate Brotherhood youths vanished and were replaced by youths who insult people via social networking pages, obstruct traffic and education and publicly insult the republic’s mufti.

Does the Brotherhood think that people will comprehend their demands and support them if they insult a religious symbol like the mufti?

Hasn’t the Brotherhood bragged that they do nothing “shameful?” How come they brag now about their immorality towards people?

The Brotherhood member who was insulting you yesterday appears before you today and calls on you to sympathize with him! What is he thinking?

You have placed yourselves in one trench against the army, police, judiciary and media and accused everyone who opposed you of being against God, religion and Islam. You sought confrontations and placed the entire country on the line of confrontation.

In the end...you lost!

This is the truth that must be confronted. You made your bets, confronted others and lost.

Brotherhood protests before June 30 carried giant photos of media figures hanged. Brotherhood media outlets accused opposing media outlets of spying and of being loyal to Zionism. How do you want these to defend you now?

The Brotherhood spent its years of miserable governance displaying its strength and superiorly acting towards people. During their protest, they defied the army and police “together.” Safwat Hijazi confidently said: “if the interior minister is [a real] man, then [let him] come and get me.” But the interior minister did not have the chance to practice his manhood towards Hijazi as the latter fled and the interior ministry freed itself to kill those who don’t deserve to die. Those who do not deserve life escaped and security apparatuses practiced their manhood against other men.

Banning the Brotherhood during 80 years did not harm the latter as much as its own leaders harmed it during one year of governance and as much as its current members are harming it now.

The Brotherhood has lost its mind, and its members freed themselves to achieve one goal which is to lose everything.
In all fairness, we’ve learnt a lot from the Brotherhood during the past year. We learnt how power can alter one’s fake humbleness. We learnt how you curse your opponents when you’re in power then have no problem in cursing them again when you lose and then lament because these opponents do not back you up. We learnt how you display your strength, make threats and place the entire country on the brink of the abyss and then when you lose, you are surprised no one wants to help you and no one cares about you.

We learnt from you how to lose battles, how to lose people and how to lose yourself.

This article was first published in Egypt-based al-Shorouk on Oct. 2, 2013.


Bassem Youssef is 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.
Top Content Trending