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Monday, June 05, 2006

The Man and the Journey (I)

What do we need to bring about a change in Egypt? Do we need our suppressed “desires” and maybe thoughts to flush out? What is it that we really want to change? What alternates do we want to implement? And how will we implement them? Actually, the question that must be answered firstly is that: who are we?

For fifty four years till now the ruling regime is continuing its very clever play of guarding power in Egypt. Yes fifty four years, not less. It just changes its names and faces but never its essence, never its hierarchy. It is not Mubarak's ruling that is the cause of all that we suffer but it is the chain of the very logical extensions that creep one after another in a very boring rhythm. Nasser in whatever way handed us to al-Sadat, then, the latter in some way handed us to Mubarak. Nasser and al-Sadat both faced the same problem that they never could have been able to work out.....they simply couldn't take their possessions with them to their graves......they couldn't take us with them. But finally Mubarak found a solution, he found his son to be the youthful replica of him. Why should we blame the guy? Are we blaming him for being creative? Or are we just envying his throne?

The point is that the system has always remained the same it just maintains changing cliché. It wasn't by chance that Nasser worked hard to have good relations with the Soviet Union while he was detaining many Egyptian Communists, also, it is not by chance that Mubarak works very hard to maintain very “versatile” relations with the United States while he is rounding up many of the so-called Libertarians coupled with the so-called honourable others. Al-Sadat was unique, maybe just smarter, he served as the bridge on which Mubarak walked his way to heaven. How unlucky you are, Sadat. You couldn't harvest your plantings. You have just gone before you do...how desperate is that......you were just gone in a very mysterious accident.

Anyway, what does it mean to build good relationships with powerful countries and at the same time arrest your people? What does it mean for a President who is supposedly a representative of a ruling regime to do this? Note that these relationships are always two-way: a powerful country seeking its interest and a President seeking “something”. What is it that “something” in each case? It is existence, for the glare of truth. They always talk about truth those so-called Presidents now it is our time to use some of these catchy attractive words! But what existence? It is their existence, in other words, their power. Simply, they couldn't have existed without power.....and at many times without “stealing” it. People die but regimes have the ability to survive afterwards. This typically is the case. Nasser built a regime then the regime survived. Yes in his life the regime was just his tool to survive but the regime was much more far-sighted. The regime learnt how to act on his own. It learnt how to “instrumentalise” its users/representatives to become no more than components that act within the regime itself. The regime has always been spreading his thoughts among people. It is not Nasser who got in my head telling me just obey, just let go, just love what I am doing for I am making you. Neither him nor any of his successors, it is the regime itself. This regime thinks and his good at planning by the way. It is the regime without which both al-Sadat or Mubarak could never exist. It is the regime without which Nasser could have carried on with his stupidities.

There is something to notice, something that always offered itself as the savior of all of our Presidents; something called war sometimes and occupation some other times. It always was the very controversial subject that supported whomever President. And when it was the time for his nap, each President found a way around to get some freak alive. It is only when he left the scene people started to feel numb. It is only when the fuss is gone - at least partially - the guarding walls that keep Mubarak behind began to crack. The controversial subject now is mainly the Palestinian-Israeli struggle or as some like to call it the Arab-Israeli struggle. The Egyptian ruling regime uses this struggle to exercise power on the Egyptian people. The regime is not willing to end this struggle, because it is the regime's last source to gain some approval from the public.

Is it the regime now dying? Or is it taking another phase? Are we people freeing ourselves from the regime? Or is it taking our instrumentalised minds by its slanders?

Let's track the regime itself regardless of those who make use out of it for a moment. A ruling regime is a set of procedures to represent some ideological views. I am not going to list all the resonant words I heard of then attempt to use them. An ideology simply is just a coherent view and set of thoughts concerned with reality and how it must be, that is, organised thoughts and conclusions that in some logical ways lead to one another. An ideology often implies general lines about how its views may be applied to reality. For a ruling regime to realise its ideological views through procedures it must institutionalise these procedures into organisations. That is, the ruling regime finds ways to make the methods that apply its views to reality. These methods are nothing but a great lengthy chain of offices and their management. The regime is by no means separable from people, he interacts with them. So, the very first aim of a ruling regime is to cope with people. For the regime to be stable there are no more than two means: a) the regime rides people or b) people shape the regime. Fuzz arises when people try to challenge a dominating regime....but this is not always the very crystal heavenly “honourable” case. The fuzz may arise from different sources that are in some way or another related to the regime itself, like how the regime punishes the deviants! Or like how people should interact with the regime – negotiating how people should think of the regime and what extents of freedom those are acceptable. Ironically, this is always the case when the regime is running an internal changing phase. Please notice that I am not saying dying phase..I am clearly saying changing phase.

Well, so what about the Egyptian regime? Here I am talking about the regime that has been continually controlling the Egyptian society since 1952 not the cluster that we are now blaming. One sensible way to answer this question is to assess its outcomes and how they affect people, that is, strikingly to assess people themselves not the regime. Let's not stand arrogant. Let's drop our deluding honour for a moment. It is in essence the interaction between the regime and people's livings that concern us not the regime in isolation. Those livings are made by people who are restricted by the regime. So, the best way to assess the regime is to assess the quality of people and the shape of their livings. The quality of me and you, the quality of those who live silently, the quality of those who “honourably” oppose the regime, the quality of the youth, the quality of those young kids, and the quality of their parents. Those are who we call people, and some time poor people not out of poverty but out of their dark livings, those who we often proudly and bitterly separate ourselves from. Another point is that: as the regime has its history we must go from where we stand backwards to the beginnings so that we don't take past assumption for granted. We should make our journey back to front.

5 comments:

El3en Elsehrya said...

I concur with with most of what u said, but I personally think that Sadat was different than his precedent and successor.
I think Sadat had a better insight and vision for the future.
I think also that he knew the problems of the system and wanted to change it, But I agree not to the degree that he would step down.

One difference Also, that I think that Sadat's intentions were far more sincere and honest than the other two.

But I totally agree that, the regime/the institutions/the people are in a whorly mix that is difficult to un-tangle.

Boring Lips said...

I agree that Sadat had insight and vision. This differentiates him from the others and proves him as a politician. But I don't think that his vision was a good one. He knew the problems for sure but he further used these circumstances to circumvent people's need. He chose Mubarak as his Vice President, which indicates much. Whether he chose him to protect himself by putting such inefficient person in power, or to continue on his own steps, it doesn't matter so much. He chose him!

Also, his game with Muslim Brotherhood and students' movements in the 70's indicates that he used whatever tools, no matter what would be the outcomes or side effects, to remain in power positions.

I think that Sadat played it differently; he used the law to break his opponents, or those who could have been potential opponents according to him. Nasser/Mubarak used/use sheer force. Sadat used the law to ensure that his methodology carries on. He had succeeded!

El3en Elsehrya said...

U know , chosing Mubarak for vice presidency is the Mistake that I can not explain to Sadat and for sure is his biggest mistake that he might himself be the first one to pay for it.

But , Sadat played with opposition porces not necessarily to stay in power, but also to allow for what he thought as a stable environment that was fel at that time to be necessary for going on to the military actions against Israel. Sadat's environment can by no means compared to either Nasser or Mubarak, he took Egypt losing 1/6th of its surface areas, with a totally frustrated people and he had to go for a war, and when preparing for a military action like a war, I think it is nearly impossible to be absolutely un-biased or not manipulative. And, further more , when he wanted to continue as a president after the first term in office, he had an open election, I can not accurately comment on that election, but the step itself tells you a lot.

Finally, the only explanation I have to selecting Mubarak is that he did not expect that he will be killed, and that he just put him in the position as a form of gratitude, and what supports this is the fact that Nasser had multiple vice-presidents that he used to change, and another example is Syria where Asad had many vice-presidents. I do not agree to this, and his decisions were not optimal but as an over-all , I belive he had two fundmental differences between the other two presidents; his nature as a politician which differs him from nasser, and His good faith and intentions which differs him from Mubarak

Boring Lips said...

Well, you are right about the war and its circumstances. And I agree that Nasser wasn't a politician, Mubarak is not too he is rather a "clerck".

The war had its rules but how about what went on after the war? The game contiuned as it was just the law became much more the punishment man. Make every other party weak and fuel their conflicts to stay in power.

I believe that Sadat wanted another kind of democracy...a demcratic system that can never oppose the big father, Sadat.

He was a smart politician which then became our best president, but this still doesn't make him a good political thinker who we may apply his ideas to our country to make it different.

I think Sadat followed this pattern: As we are not the best we must follow the best..having in mind that the best is not going to make us even good. Palestine could be a perfect example to know about sadat's thinking.

There is a difference between staying in place till you are prepared to make a move and staying in place because you believe that the current state is never going to change so you must follow to avoid being kicked out.

About intentions, I don't know much about intentions but I know that when a clever player makes a mistake, then his mistake's price is high. If Mubarak was his mistake then where have this mistake taken us? Sadat wasn't stupid, he knew who Mubarak was...a clerck. Then he used him to protect himself or to implement a way of management after his death..Sadat chose one of these. Each one has its indications.

I cannot comment the elections you mentioned too, but I can say that function that produces an output equal to the input is not elections. A hero after the war and many parties eating each other in hunger produces the same hero. He was smart that he would never allow election if it may have popped up with anyone except him. Assume he didn't win the election, just an assumption that could have never been real, would he step down? I guess not.

Sadat replaced the USSR support by the US support. I cannot tell whether he foresaw that the USSR was going to fall or he saw that the US was the player who would give him more. Maybe both of them. I believe that we are in line because of this policy anyway....being a follower. If Sadat followed becuase of his faith then Mubarak is following out of blindness and selfishness. If he understood that the US was the winning hourse but he couldn't see the outcomes of following it then he is not a great politician. And if he could see that then this proves what I said about the pattern he followed right.

From Nasser to Mubarak it is the same the regime. Sadat wasn't a deviation rather an outcome of Nasser's ruling period which produced such a state of misconceptions about power. Even if Sadat came by chance as some like to claim, the outcome is still logical because this chance would have never been available if Nasser's ruling was rational and working on thoughtful basis. Nasser followed the USSR and Sadat followed the US....the difference is just "SR" and some of the result of being responsible for two more letters.

Sadat was another Egyptian god who adored himself a lot.

El3en Elsehrya said...

Yes, in the grand scheme, Sadat is part of the regime, he is in fact one of those who built it, I do not dis-agree.
I also concur that he was a egomanic grandiose.

But I think the picture is much more complex than this, he is at the same time a loyal smart politician, his grnadiosity does not make him a petrayer to his nation...!!!!!

I also believe that he knew the mistakes of the regime , but his personality was extremely multi-layered and complicated that he continued as a part of it yet he knew its pitfalls.

I also think that no matter who was ruling, and what would be his ideologies, what was done at that time was probably the best thing to be done and I can not see another way of planning a war and piece other than what he did.

Yes, in the ideal world he was required to be someone else who would turn the power to people and implement democracy, but he did not have the time to do so; as soon as he was done with the war/peace thing, he turned into a grandiose GOD as you mentioned and soon was killed.

The man's complexity and often times his paradoxical moves is what makes him unique and can be looked at from many different angels, and that's why we have a very different opinions about him.