Nothing was Inevitable

From Ibrahim al-Hudaiby, a former Muslim Brotherhood youth leader, in Ahram Online. He writes that the primary reason for the fall of Morsi was his personal failures and those of his group.

His list is lengthy and worth reading, but this entry in particular is worth remembering:

After 30 June, Morsi did not call for a referendum. Had he done so, he would have prevented “military intervention.” Instead, he prioritised his group that crumbles in self-criticism when it fails with the masses and unites under threat; he chose to be ousted at the hands of the army 3 July, not by the masses on 30 June. He chose to cancel out the entire scene of the masses from the picture and consciousness (there were even comical statements about using Photoshop), in order to maintain the coherence of the group.

By choosing to fall to the army, Morsi and the Brotherhood can now frame their failures as a coup d’etat. The constitution, however, gave him legitimacy to call for a public referendum. He may have won or lost, but he would have been admitting the massive public uprising against his rule.

Houdaiby’s analysis is poignant. Speaking as a former member, he attributes this decision to the Brotherhood’s inability to accept internal criticism and reflection. They chose instead to rally their faithful against an enemy, as times of crisis do not permit introspection.

This decision, he argues, has led us to the dangerous impasse we are in. From his conclusion:

After that, the Muslim Brotherhood chose to play the most treacherous card, by claiming the army was divided (for the first two weeks we heard endless rumours about splits in the Second and Third armies, etc). The military, like the Muslim Brotherhood, was also a group that needed to demonise the other in order to maintain its unity, and so it did.

This pleased some media figures and members of state institutions, which paved the way to horrendous crimes against protestors.

And thus, each side came to demonise the other.

Sad. Demonization tears society apart as it seeks to patch over internal fissures and contradictions. Let us not put anything past the susceptibility of mankind to be manipulated and deceived, but inasmuch as this demonization is a construct, must it not fail eventually?

The question is if its failure will lead to only more destruction. Will the plugged-up fissures explode, or diffuse the situation by letting out necessary steam?