Rahim Elkishky has a smart piece in Egypt’s Al Ahram arguing that liberals who think the Islamists hijacked their revolution are mistaken. The liberals, he says, “never had the numbers to carry it off.”
Egypt used to be a much more liberal place than it is now. That era was ended by Nasser. History has no rewind button. Post-Nasserism will not restore the status quo ante. Political liberalism may well be in the country’s future, but Egypt will first have to pass through an era of Islamism. It may not be Iranian-style Islamism, but Cairo ain’t Prague.
Elkishky’s entire piece is worth reading in full, but I want to highlight one paragraph in particular because it points out one of the reasons why so many still have a hard time grasping the gravity of what’s coming next.
In a PBS documentary aired 22 February called "The Brothers," correspondent Charles Sennott followed a certain Mohamed Abbas, the person leading the Brotherhood youth wing's agitation for Mubarak's resignation. Abbas took his American viewers on a tour to show off his organisation, the food collected, and the medical stations strewn around Tahrir. During the tour something came unbidden into view. A follower of Abbas had come out flashing a copy of the Quran in front of a camera. Abbas immediately rushed over and asked him to put away the Quran then returned to the TV correspondent. When the latter asked him what had just transpired, he replied -- in paraphrase -- "We don't want to show the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology to the press, it will be bad for the revolution."