Friday, July 19, 2013

Refuting The Myths Around June 30

Myth# 1: State institutions worked against Morsi as soon as he became president

This is one of the biggest myths that aim at justifying the Brotherhood colossal mismanagement of the country. While it is true that the Brotherhood did not exert full control over a number of state institutions, namely the army and the judiciary, all other state apparatus were under their direct control. As soon as former President Morsi assumed power, the Brotherhood frantically worked on consolidating their power in the various ministries and governorates. Take Maspero for example, the state owned media empire comprising of many TV and radio channels. As soon as Morsi entered the presidential palace, Maspero did what it does best for the past 60 years: glorify whoever is running the country.

Even the Ministry of Interior, the Brotherhood might have failed to win the hearts and minds of the young officers, but they had enough control to sack the ministry’s top commander and appoint someone who they thought would be loyal to them. Mohamed Ibrahim, the minister of interior whom the Brotherhood appointed, tried as much as possible to remain loyal to his bosses until June 30 came looming. Days before the big day, young officers at the newly formed Police Officers Club announced they won’t be repeating the same mistake of the January 25th revolution and they won’t side with a political faction anymore. They said that they will not secure any Muslim Brotherhood (MB) offices and will just be present at the police and government buildings. Under pressure from his young officers, Mohamed Ibrahim had to choose between pleasing his subordinates or his boss. Days before the storm, he chose to please the former. It was a smart gamble.  The MB were not in total control over the ministry of interior but judging from the speed of at which they were extending their tentacles over the other government institutions I expected the ministry of interior to totally succumb anytime soon. After June 30, signs of their attempt to infiltrate the ministry started to surface. 3 high ranking police officers at the National Security department were transferred from their positions because of their alleged ties to Brotherhood leaders.

The judiciary was another institution that was at odds with the MB. To tame the judges, the MB was trying to pass a law that would have severed 3000 judges. Critics of the law believed that the MB would have filled the seats of the severed judges with their own sympathizers. I believe if the MB had come out unharmed out of June 30, the judiciary law would have been the first thing they passed to exert total control over the justice system.

The Ministry of Culture was another ministry the MB appointed a sympathizer to. His first decision was to fire Enas Abdel Dayem, the manager of the Cairo Opera House back then. His decision caused an uproar because of the popularity of Abdel Dayem at the Opera and among artists. The MB and their ilk were in control of the country’s most important ministries to the extent that they had the time to pick up a fight with the opera house manager!

 

So the belief that all state institutions were working against the MB is a pure myth. While a number of institutions were resisting their control, the others, especially the public service institutions, succumbed to the new rulers. The vast majority of Egypt’s state bureaucracy will serve whoever pays the salary at the end of the month.

Myth#2: the media was fighting the MB

That is another delusion. When the MB was whining about alleged media bias, they were basically referring to 6 or 7 private satellite channels. Here is a list of the media channels the MB had under their direct control: the entire empire of the state owned media (we’re talking about a wide array of TV channels, radio channels and publications), Al Jazeera, the MB owned TV channel and newspaper, the various religious channels and above all thousands of mosques all over the country!

The MB had all these media channels under their disposal yet they were unable to communicate properly and whitewash their disastrous one year in power.

Myth#3: Tamarod was created by the military

This myth stems from the news reports (here and here) that surfaced indicating that Tamarod had contacts with the army via a third party.

First, it is not quite obvious what kind of help Tamarod got from the army. It can hardly be financial because I’ve seen how Tamarod worked. It was purely based on grassroots activism. Everyone was encouraged to photocopy the petition and collect signatures and hand it over to the campaign. I myself photocopied 300 EGP worth of petitions and gave them to a group of Tamarod activists who were collecting signatures in Shubra.  I visited their official headquarters, a simple apartment in an old rundown downtown building. I saw young men and women counting petitions in the excruciating heat of Cairo because the AC was broken. Tamarod depended solely on people activism and the generosity of Egyptians who printed petitions on their own expense. And believe me, there were a lot of rich Egyptians out there who hated the MB and were ready to print loads of petitions and support the campaign financially.

Second, assuming that Tamarod was an army creation, I personally didn’t have an army gun pointed at my head when I signed the petition. No army soldier came to my house on June 30 and ordered me to take to the streets. The millions who signed the petitions and demonstrated afterwards did so by their own freewill and this renders any alleged Tamarod-army conspiracy irrelevant.

So this is what I believe happened.  The army sensed that June 30 might be big especially after Tamarod went viral. They knew that if the numbers turned out to be huge, they had to act and topple Morsi especially after their months of acrimony. It made perfect sense from a purely political perspective to open a line of communication, via a third party, with the movement that would later lead the largest gathering of Egyptians in history.

Myth# 4: Someone created the gas lines and power cuts to turn people against the MB before June 30

That conspiracy theory appeared in a New York Times report written by my Twitter friend David Kirkpatrick. Ever since I read that report, I’ve been sending David and the New York Times pictures, tweets and news reports of gas lines and power cuts that happened and continue to happen after June 30! Follow me on Twitter because I’m keeping track!

Wasn’t there a huge fuel crisis before June 30? Yes and it ended a few days before June 30! The crisis was caused by the massive panic attack that people which made them flock to gas stations to fill their tanks before the big day.

 

I fully understand that myths around June 30 will continue to arise simply because many people do not understand how millions took to the street to demand a military coup. Well, it just happened. Some political textbooks need to be revised.

  Posted by BP at 11:03 am Comments (3)

3 Comments »

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