Ikhwan Victory: Inevitable!
Opinion – Iqbal Jassat -June 27, 2012
In the enormous volumes of commentaries and multitude of opinions following the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in what is being described as a “political earthquake” in Egypt, one fundamental question still needs to be posed: why was democracy denied to Egyptians for so many decades?
Sixteen years ago, South Africa’s renowned freedom icon Nelson Mandela stood before Britain’s joint houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall and raised what he described as a “haunting” question.
“The millions of graves strewn across Europe which are the result of the tyranny of Nazism, the decimation of the native peoples of the Americas and Australia, the destructive trail of the apartheid crime against humanity – all these are like a haunting question that floats in the wind: why did we allow these to happen?”
Indeed, why did we allow these to happen?
That the majority of Egypt’s electorate voted for a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood [Ikhwan] was a foregone conclusion and thus less remarkable than the fact that the Ikhwan had for decades been suppressed, outlawed and its members jailed, tortured and killed. Why was this so or in the words of Mandela, why did we allow this to happen?
The core issue therefore is the history of repression that under Hosni Mubarak’s 40year dictatorship took a huge toll on Egypt. Is it that the “haunted” question was not posed because his reign of terror was largely shielded by the close association his regime had with his main benefactor the United States of America!
So whereas questions abound on who the Ikhwan is and whether Egypt will now be drawn closer to the Islamic Republic of Iran as it inevitably will face unreasonable American demands to either bend or abandon its ideological values; if Mandela’s wisdom is to be applied the real inquiry ought to be on why the world allowed a Mubarak tyranny!
By extension a similar probe that hitherto has been absent in the mainstream, needs to be undertaken in relation to all unrepresentative despots whose only “legitimacy” is the support – financial, military and political – they enjoy from the United States.
If the current discourse is unduly confined to whether Ikhwan’s policies will be compatible to the disjointed and inequitable global political system unfairly dominated by the United States, it will unfortunately deflect from pressing questions about why an imperial order has deliberately kept masses of oppressed people in bondage!
If the playing fields are leveled in most American-clients states, there ought not be any surprise that various formations of the Islamic Movement will emerge victorious in free elections to lead.
The real outrage that has been missing for decades and indeed even in the course of the Arab revolution, should be directed at the West in general and America in particular for their collective role in the brutal suppression of fundamental human rights and liberties via dictatorships they control!
There cannot be any doubt that the Islamic Movement whose leaders and members have been ostracized as “terrorists” and dehumanized by having been stripped of their liberties, many languishing in dungeons without any recourse to due process and many more killed in drone attacks, can justly claim to be the custodians of the political aspirations of their people.
It was proven in Algeria more than twenty years ago yet suppressed. More recently it was proven in Palestine but yet again deliberately marginalized and punished via a siege for exercising democratic choice. In Yemen it’s voices that have articulated the need to oppose impediments to freedom have been snuffed out. The targeted extra-judicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and members of his family illustrates the extent American imperialism will go to protect its so-called “interests” rather than allow the freedom yearned for by people.
Another element that has detracted from core issues is the question of Islamophobia and why it has been a useful political tool to invoke fear, alarm and suspicion. It was used and still applied to cloud discussion on so-called threats emanating from “terror networks” if democracy is conceded in regions the United States covets as its own.
These are known, not only for their unelected kings, monarchs, sultans and life-long Mubarak-type “presidents” but also for their role as sycophants and proxy regimes in defiance of their people’s legitimate demands.
Just as Mandela emerged from the dungeons of apartheid, so too has Morsi and thousands of his colleagues from Mubarak’s hideous torture cells.
Many more languish in similar or worse conditions in prisons across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, the Gulf kingdoms and elsewhere and know as well as that the real jailers are seated in Washington, Tel Aviv and in European capitals.
Iqbal Jassat is an executive member or the Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Johannesburg, South Africa.