Hijacking Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions

Why did the Muslim Brotherhood rush to participate in the Egyptian protests after Jan. 25?

Abdel Latif el-Menawy
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The controversy is ongoing regarding what Egypt witnessed more than three years ago on Jan. 25 and in June of last year. I don’t think the controversy will come to an end, and I will not engage much in it. But I will highlight some points that I think are major and I will quickly mention them in order to expose the truth as I witnessed it.

What Egypt witnessed more than three years ago was an expression of rejecting a state of serenity that reached the extent of a deadlock as a result of insisting against change and considering that change means either chaos or toppling the regime. What complicated the situation is the people’s feeling that this situation will go on. They felt as such because of hints that the regime will stay even if the president leaves as his son will take over as president - either upon the president’s orders while he’s still alive or by some arrangement after his death.

Regardless of whether this is true or not, what’s certain is that the general public have adopted this story and that it’s become more real than it would’ve been if it had been frankly announced. This road, which many saw as a dead-end and as the opposition of change, is what prepared the ground for people to take to the streets to vent their anger. Regardless of whether these youths, who took to the streets, were trained and prepared for this day or not, the truth is that the atmosphere was appropriate. Most of those who took to the streets back then did so for the sake of venting anger and expressing the desire for change. The ceiling of demands back then was low but the administration, which wasn’t politically smart, contributed to raising the ceiling on what the protesters wanted.

What about the Muslim Brotherhood

But what about the Muslim Brotherhood? It’s become absolutely known that the Brotherhood announced they wouldn’t participate in the Jan. 25 revolution. And it’s also within the context of political opportunism that they ended up participating at the end when they realized that the protests were huge and that by not participating, they would be held accountable. So they participated although they had a prior agreement with state security not to.

The Brotherhood acted with a great deal of cunning and opportunism, and they exploited the regime’s mistakes

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The question remains: why did the Brotherhood rush to participate in the protests after Jan. 25? The answer here is also linked to the stupidity of the political administration of the then-interior ministry. The ministry issued a statement at mid-night that almost completely blames the Brotherhood although everyone knows that the latter did not participate until the very last minute. But it seems the then-interior ministry’s administration thought the time was right to target the Brotherhood by accusing it of being totally responsible for the day’s events. The Brotherhood analyzed the situation and realized it was placed in a position where it must fight back. To them, the situation was a battle of survival where they either emerge victors or losers. Therefore, the interior ministry’s statement mobilized them to defend their survival. So since Jan. 26, anyone from the Brotherhood and its allies from outside Egypt infiltrated the country via airports, naval and land borders and tunnels. The international organization’s leadership was put on a state of alert announcing zero hour to implement the already-prepared plan.

The Brotherhood acted with a great deal of cunning and opportunism, and they exploited the regime’s mistakes back then. Most importantly, they exploited some opportunists who joined youth groups. They also exploited the innocence of many Egyptians who took to the streets to express their anger and desire for change. Back then, what could be noted was that the Brotherhood did not raise any religious slogans. But at the same time, they almost totally controlled activity in all the different squares. All this happened upon the direct support and supervision of the command of a country which was claiming to be a brotherly country. It also happened with American support and blessing for the sake of achieving its new strategy in the region. On Jan. 28, the Brotherhood controlled all of the revolution’s activities. They exploited the youths and their knowledge of how to confront security forces and launched their mission to burn Egypt. The Brotherhood implemented their mission by exploiting the state of anger by which many were blinded. Many were deceived by what happened and the problem is that they remained deceived for a long time. Some of them were unaware they were being deceived and others knew but they had wanted to continue down the path of destroying the state. Those continued as such until they realized what they had done so they tried to repent and withdraw from what they involved themselves in when they supported the Brotherhood. They had not only hijacked the people’s dreams but also hijacked the entire country and took it towards the unknown. It’s only then that they woke up and joined the real Egyptian revolution for the sake of restoring Egypt to its former glory.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on Feb. 15, 2014.


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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