Sun 24 Jun 2012
Al Jazeera just suggested, “I bet the world can hear the heartbeats of 80 million Egyptians.” With the heartbeat of Mubarak so close to closure, the irony in this statement does not escape me. Will it be Morsi, who virtually all the unofficial accounts indicate won the vote, or Shafiq, the epitome of the old guard that the revolution was supposedly ousting? I have no crystal ball and I have no doubt that votes can be manipulated (especially after having lived through the 1980 U.S. election in which our Supreme Court elected GWB (not the bridge) in full view). So as soon as I see the results across my screen, I will stop in my tracks and note the “winner.” I suspect that Morsi will be declared victor, as there have no doubt been negotiations behind the scenes to ensure that the military maintains its power. By recognizing Morsi, the military will be praised for not stealing the election, even though they have already stolen the power of the president. I also suspect that U.S. officials are pulling for Morsi as well, as that will lessen the chances for riots and will finally create a situation where the Brotherhood must put up or shut up.
Can the Brotherhood revitalize Egypt’s economy? This is the relevant question. An Islamic state in the image of Iran (which is not likely to happen unless the Fatimids regain power in Cairo) would not solve the problem of jobs. Egypt relies heavily on its greatest natural resource, apart from its people: an extraordinary history that the world adores and invites tourism. Tourists will only flock to Egypt if it is a safe environment with plenty of liquor flowing in the major hotels. Despite the number of veiled women in the streets, this is after all the country that Nasser built. Socialism may be passé, but the world that Umm Kulthum sang about lives on and this is not one that was around in the 7th century.
Much has been written about the Brotherhood, both pro and con. Apart from partisan Islamophobes, it is clear that Morsi is not Mullah Umar of the Taliban. If you were to poll Egyptians about the desire to see all statues of Ramses blown up, as happened to the Bamiyan Buddhas, I doubt you would find many who would applaud such an absurd idea. Islam is the dominant religion in Egypt, but the Pharaohs still reign in Egyptian hearts. To the extent that Egyptians view their cultural origins as Umm al-Dunya, they are not about to do in their mother. The Pyramids have survived for some five millennia, before Judaism, Christianity or Islam. They are more than likely to survive all three of these major monotheisms in their present form.
Time is twittering away, at least for me on a picture-perfect weather Sunday morning in New York. The hour of 3 pm in Cairo (9 am EST) has come and gone, but ma’a laysh. Inshallah the results will be out soon. Meanwhile, while browsing the Arabic edition of Al-Ahram, I see the picture (below) of Morsi.
Al-Ahram reports that Morsi will be making a speech after the announcement,no matter which way it goes. This picture is fascinating. Morsi does not look very Brotherhoodish here and stands securely in front of the national symbol of Egypt. He sure looks like a winner here and I will hedge my bets and say that I think he will be the announced winner. But we await the official results, or at least the right kind of twitter… I see via twitter that the announcement is about to be made. Listening to the live broadcast on Al Jazeera… Long winded and driving everyone crazy… and we hear that the election commission has been guided by Allah (now that’s a change)… Millions of people watching and this gets dragged out in a boring monotone and with self promotion that nobody cares about… this will make a great Adel Iman film… or maybe it is one …
And the winner is … Morsi!
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