Ever since religion as we know it was brought unto man, kings, queens and generals assumed divine power as being the representative of God on this earth. They waged wars in the name of God, they dispersed largesse in the name of God and they meted out injustices and untold horrors in the name of the same God.
This unholy power ceased to exist in Europe when the people, hungry, poor, downtrodden and driven by desperation finally rose up in revolt and challenged this so-called divine right. It started in England, then France and later Spain.
Nowadays we have symbolic kings and queens in Europe who rule but do not govern. In other words the divinity of kings was abolished and power transferred into the hands of the people in the form of parliamentary democracy. It’s not perfect by any means, but until we come up with something better it is the best available.
Now, let us have a close look at us, the Arabs and see what has become of us since the advent of Islam and the message of the prophet in the 7th century. We were mostly pagan tribes, with a minority of Jews and Christians living amongst us. Mecca was the centre of our universe. It was a prosperous city, with the ka’aba at its heart where all the pagan Gods the Arabs worshipped were situated.
Then came The Prophet Muhammad with what is perceived by Moslems as the final message from God to all mankind; a religion that was based on equality, justice and security for all under the one God, Allah. Of course, Islam, like any other new doctrine faced challenges but by sheer determination and deeply held beliefs in the oneness and divinity of God, not man, Islam gathered momentum and spread all over the world.
Of course, in Islam there were no kings. The ultimate ruler was The Prophet, Muhammad and when He died his close companions and confidantes became rulers of Islam known as the Caliphs and then Sultans until the demise of the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 20th century. Enter the kings and Emirs of Arabia.
Despite the message of Islam and despite the uniting influence of the religion of Islam, tribalism was and still is very deeply rooted in our society. This was seized upon and exploited by the new masters of the universe at the time, the British Empire. They selected a few acquiescent chieftains, allotted them a piece of land and called it either a Kingdom or an Emirate and named them either kings or emirs. It was that tried and tested doctrine of ‘divide and rule’.
These kings and emirs and all their offspring are still ruling until today on behalf of their western masters while pretending to be serving the interests of their people through the one and mighty Allah and the rule of Islam. And there is where the problem lies. What they have been and are still doing is ruling their subjects with an iron rod and trying to curtail any liberation movement, be it nationalistic, secular or religious at any cost. As a result most of the secular and nationalistic movements have been crushed to near extinction. The exceptions are the Islamic groups, like The Moslem Brotherhood, which was born in Egypt in the 1920s and accepted by most of those kings and emirs as a tool to be used against each other. The Moslem Brotherhood cleverly exploited the divisions in the Arab ranks and went underground, where they have been organizing and consolidating for the best part of a century. When they were barred in one country in the Arab World, they were welcomed in another. This still goes on till this day.
Then came the Second World War and the rise of the generals in our ranks. They rejected the dominance and colonization of foreign powers in our lands and the revolutions started to mushroom all over the Arab World, disposing of kings and replacing them with generals.
What happened in Egypt in June 2012 was remarkably similar to what happened in Algeria in 1991, triggering the Algerian Civil War. The Islamic Salvation Front won the election outright and the army moved in and cancelled it. Just an army obeying orders from its masters, the French.
This momentum of Islamic movements gaining power as a result of the populace losing faith in the so-called secular leaders gained another victory in Palestine in 2006. Hamas was swept to power with an over-whelming majority. What happened later is very well documented and there for everybody to see. The division of the Palestinians, the bloodshed between Palestinian and Palestinian and the rivalry between the secular and the religious were to serve but one purpose. The survival of Israel and the interests of the United States of America. That is still going on as I write.
And look at Tunisia where the so-called Arab Spring was born. Al-Nahdah, an Islamic movement akin to Hamas and The Moslem Brotherhood won the election in Tunis. What followed? Mayhem, because the west, and particularly America and the Zionist were not happy with the Islamisation of North Africa and the Middle East. The confrontation in Tunis between the various factions is still going on and the situation can be described, at best, as precarious.
Egypt is a different kettle of fish altogether. Egypt is the most populous, the most powerful, the most cultured and the most pious country in the Middle East. Egypt is the house of learning and as such the home of learned Islam. The Moslem Brotherhood, which was born in Egypt in the 1920s, is the most organized political party in the country. There is no escaping the fact that they have a huge following in Egypt, estimated to be 35% – 45% of the population. They won the election fair and square in June of last year. Then the generals came in. A scenario that has been repeated over and over and over again.
Those of you who follow my thoughts and writings will know that I try very hard to avoid discourse over religious matters from a deeply held belief that religion and religiosity are private and between a person and his/her God.
The Moslem Brotherhood winning the election in Egypt and what has ensued should serve as a very good reminder that religion and the business of running the state should always be kept separate. Religion should be used as a moral compass not as a driving political force.
The Moslem Brotherhood is new at government. To rule a country like Egypt is not an easy task. Diseases such as poverty and illiteracy undermining the fabric of society in Egypt cannot be cured in one year. The people in Egypt, in their diversity, went out into the streets in their millions demanding democracy, the end of the Mubarak dynasty and the rule of the army. Yet when the Moslem Brotherhood won the democratic election and started to govern the country, after just one year those same people went out into the streets again because they didn’t like what their newly elected government was doing.
This is not democracy. This is the rule of the mob and it is anarchy. In my opinion the best that could have been done would be for the political opposition to get together a united and coherent policy from the grassroots up and prepare for the next general election, presently scheduled for February 2014. That would be the time to give the Moslem Brotherhood a bloody nose at the ballot box. Not a catastrophe of blood and destruction on Egypt’s city streets. And not inviting the army back in to rule over the country yet again. This cannot be seen as serving the interests of Egypt and the Egyptians. It is serving the interests of the ultimate masters, the USA and Israel.
Revolutions succeed, flourish and prosper by persuasion not coercion, compulsion or demonization.