Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Egypt’s Brotherhood

The huge mistake committed by the Brotherhood’s leaders is that they decided to antagonize the people

Abdel Latif el-Menawy
Abdel Latif el-Menawy
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For months now, we have been expecting that the Muslim Brotherhood will escalate their attacks and that more assassinations and explosions will take place in Egypt. We knew that their level of violence would increase as the referendum date nears since they can sense that the situation is approaching stability. To them, stability will end their hopes of succeeding at undermining the state. The terrorist attack in the Mansoura was not surprising, but its violence, defiance and bloodiness were shocking. It was not surprising because when the Egyptians overthrew the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood leaders took a stance which was politically nonsensical. They decided to go against logic and against the popular will rejecting them. Thus, they became hostile towards society and attempted to harm the foundations of the state for the sake of destroying it.

The huge mistake committed by the Brotherhood’s leaders is that they decided to antagonize the people. As a result, the group lost people’s sympathy. Those who were willing to understand the Brotherhood’s stance and to support it in returning to practice peaceful work decreased in number. Protests held in sympathy with the Brotherhood, in the wake of its overthrow, included thousands of people and sometimes even tens of thousands. But the size of such protests today, even before its designation as a terrorist organization, shrank to dozens and the number can barely reach hundreds. These protests are now met with clear popular anger. This is simply due to the group’s acts of targeting all citizens, and not only state apparatuses. The Brotherhood is attempting to punish the people for overthrowing it by obstructing their daily affairs.

Resorting to destabilizing Egypt and attempting to destroy the state’s foundations appear to have been the group’s major aim ever since its removal from power. Here, we recall Mursi’s threat that shedding blood has not begun yet and that the Brotherhood will not remain silent. Let us recall the threat which Beltagy made when the Brotherhood occupied Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. Beltagy said that violence in Sinai will not stop unless Mursi returns to power. Such threats reveal which path the Brotherhood has taken when dealing with the Egyptians. The path can simply be summarized as such: The Brotherhood has given the people two choices, to either let it rule or to get killed. So far, it seems the group is practicing the second option.

The huge mistake committed by the Brotherhood’s leaders is that they decided to antagonize the people

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

In a statement, the cabinet considered the group responsible for acts of violence and terrorism committed in Egypt during the past few decades. It may be noticed here that crimes throughout its 83 years have been pinned on the Brotherhood. Some may think this is prejudice. But one can understand the limits of the Brotherhood’s responsibility for these events by recalling that even if it hadn’t directly participated in some of these crimes, it didn’t actually taken a clear condemning stance. The Brotherhood has also not apologized to the Egyptians for the acts of violence and terrorism it was involved in for years. Another important fact is that all violent groups which directly implemented these operations have branched out from the Brotherhood which has always adopted an opportunist style of sponsoring and supporting these operations - but without directly getting involved in them.

Some websites posted a poll asking people whether they agree or disagree with the Egyptian cabinet’s decision to consider the Brotherhood a terrorist group. Results on most websites were in support of the decision. What this simply means is that the Brotherhood antagonized the state and the people. Therefore, they’ve found no one to support or mourn for the group.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Dec. 28, 2013.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy

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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