There are two Egyptian revolutions. The one marketed for Western consumption by Egyptian bloggers and the American media– and the real revolution. The rape of Lara Logan brought that second revolution out of the shadows for the first time. This was certainly not the first sexual assault arising out of the Jan 25 protests. It won’t be the last either.
The Western educated Egyptians promoting the protests have always managed to sell the press on the story that all the violence, from the looting of the Egyptian museum, the attacks on reporters, the prison breaks and the mass rapes and robberies were all the work of pro-Mubarak forces. But when Logan was attacked, she was among a crowd celebrating the fall of Mubarak. These were the very people that she and her colleagues had come to Egypt to support.
The actual Jan 25 revolution was wildly different from the one depicted in news reports. Behind the veil of English speaking Twitter feeds by young activists, is an angry and bigoted population which hated Mubarak not because he is a tyrant, but because he maintained ties to America and Israel, and refused to aggressively persecute Egypt’s Christians. Egypt is not looking for a Western style democracy. What the Arab street really wants is a tyranny that reflects its values.
Few of the gullible Western supporters who follow the revolution by Twitter, understand just how much the ordinary Egyptian taking part in the protests hates them. Behind all the English language signs produced for the foreign press and the articulate bloggers cultivated by the US and EU governments, is the angry mob who believes that Mubarak was a puppet of the CIA and the Mossad. And who believe the same thing about all the earnest CNN and CBS correspondents who came to be photographed against the background of a revolution.
No matter how much the reporters propagandized their cause, the mob was certain that they were there to support Mubarak. That belief is part of the xenophobic identity of Egyptians, and so many others in the Muslim world. The only popular cause in the Muslim world is fought against the Americans– even when the Americans are on their side.
The cries of “Yahood, Yahood” or “Jew, Jew” reportedly shouted at CBS’s Logan while she was being sexually assaulted, reflect two things. Yahood is a common insult in the Middle East. American soldiers in Iraq are referred to as Yahood or Jews. (Some have drawn geopolitical inferences from this, but you only need to turn on South Park to see ‘Jew’ used as an insult in our own hemisphere.) The difference is that in the Muslim world, ‘Yahood’ is far more ubiquitous, and often accompanied by conspiracy theories and violent threats. The negative depiction of Jews is rooted in the Koran, making it ubiquitous through the Muslim world.
The other aspect of it however is the prevalence of conspiracy theories throughout the Arab Muslim world. In Egypt, Nazi propaganda merged with traditional Islamic beliefs to give rise to Islamofascist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood. While Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are given little credibility in civilized nations– they are still highly popular in the Muslim world. Conspiracy theories are the best refuge of failed societies, and the panoply of conspiracy theories in the Muslim world have one common element, the theme of a vast Anti-Muslim conspiracy involving the CIA and the Mossad which prevents them from succeeding.
Pundits like to claim that this is due to the special relationship between America and Israel– but then how does one also explain the ubiquity of “Yahood o Hunood” in Pakistan. “Yahood o Hunood”, which replaces the Mossad-CIA, with a vast Jewish-Hindu conspiracy against Pakistan. While Lt. General Jacob-Farj-Rafael Jacob, a Jewish-Indian, did play a key role in defeating Pakistan in 1971, there has been no extended alliance along the same lines. ”
Yahood o Hunood” like the taunts of “Yahood” at Lara Logan or US soldiers in Iraq arises from the xenophobia and bigotry of the Muslim world. That bigotry is fed by the Muslim need to blame their failures on a vast conspiracy against them by people who are their inferiors. The parallels to Nazi Germany are too obvious to even be worth going into.
The real Egyptian revolution was mob violence against the targets of their conspiracy theories, rather than a movement toward democracy. Assaults on Western reporters are not an aberration, but the norm. As often as CNN cheers on the revolution, the average Egyptian will still call them Yahood and CIA. Because the average Egyptian is fueled by hate for outside forces, rather than a striving for progress and reform.
Egyptian activists are apologizing to Lara Logan on Twitter, and assuring everyone that this does not represent Egypt. But there are far more Egyptians who harass women, than use Twitter to promote democracy. The assault on Logan represents Egypt far better than Jan 25 hashtags.
What the Jan 25th revolution really showed was the deep undercurrent of violence in Egypt, and the impossibility of keeping order without force.
Like the Weimar Republic, any liberal government will be forced to put aside its principles and rely on authoritarian means to keep order. That means turning either to the police, the military or the Muslim Brotherhood as the only forces capable of maintaining order. The police are hated, a permanent military deployment in Cairo will mean a junta and the Muslim Brotherhood will be happy enough to police neighborhood after neighborhood, and eventually the whole country. Democracy lovers are cheering on the promise of a liberal Egypt. But there will be no liberal Egypt. Only a state of temporary chaos broken by spurts of violence, as was the case in Germany between the wars, and Russia between the revolutions, ending finally in an absolute tyranny. Either that of the military or the Muslim Brotherhood.
Learning about the Jan 25th revolution from Egyptian Twitter activists is like learning about the future of Weimar Germany from literary magazines. Forget all the Jan 25 badges and enthusiastic revolutionary rhetoric. The reality is a narrow wedge of activists claiming credit for a much wider range of public anger, and pretending to be able to turn it off with their policy proposals. It’s a shameless scam that will collapse with the collapse of the first liberal government. And the same neo-conservative pundits and journalists will look on baffled, not understanding what went wrong. What went wrong is that Egypt is not England or America. It is an unstable Muslim country with a booming population, which wants low prices, social services and the repression of women and infidels under an Islamic system. They will support anyone who can give these things to them, and bring down anyone who doesn’t. That is your Egyptian democracy.
Liberals and their media damned America for the rapes, robberies and the looting of Iraq antiquities after the fall of Saddam. But exactly the same thing happened in Egypt after the fall of Mubarak– robberies, rapes and the looting of Egyptian antiquities. And the media has taken no responsibility for their participation in the overthrow of a regime. The media which loves to harp on the WMD issue, heavily pushed claims that Mubarak had stolen 70 billion dollars from the Egyptian people and was the richest man in the world. A week later those estimates are down to only a few billion. And that billion will of course never be found, because “sources say” that the money has been moved secretly out of the country. Which makes it conveniently untraceable. And the media will never have to apologize for spreading a lie.
Egypt is the liberal’s Iraq. Except that the regime they overthrew was pro-Western, not genocidal and did not gas children. After having spent 7 years condemning the Bush administration, they orchestrated a far more senseless wave of regime change that opens the door for the Calphate to rule the region.
ElBaradei and his little megaphone have already faded into the past. The Muslim Brotherhood has its own political party now. And key liberal players like Ayman Nour are already pandering to them. If the Muslim Brotherhood can form an alliance with aspiring businessmen, the way Turkey’s AKP Islamists did, then it will be well on its way to taking power. If it can also bring the military and the nationalists on board, the way the Nazis did, then it will have absolute power. But the military’s strategy may be to encourage the chaos, and feed the violence, until America and other revolution have no choice but to ask them to step in.
That is the final question. Which totalitarian force will Egyptians choose to order their affairs? The army or the brotherhood.