- September 23, 2006
- 14 minutes read
Intellectuals and the Brotherhood phobia…!
Although fears overwhelmed many Egyptian Elites and some people as a result of Muslim Brotherhood group’s rise in the recent parliamentary elections, yet the most who were more panicked and awe-stricken were the intellectual elite; without exaggeration, it became a state of phobia!!
Many people were surprised to find this panicked reaction from intellectuals’ part. The fact is that all expectations and first results for Muslim Brotherhood never expected this smashing success for them to the extent they would be decision –makers in society. Being decision-makers implicates that Brotherhood would interfere in molding the Egyptian social reality in all aspects in accordance with their views and methodologies.
There could be many interpretations for this overwhelming panic from the intellectuals’ part, perhaps because they shared other elites in predictions for elections. There predictions for Muslim Brotherhood never exceeded the fifty parliamentary seats along with the assertions of Muslim Brotherhood themselves who declared their minor predictions.
When the results of the first electoral phase was declared predictions changed to prospects of winning more than one hundred seats. Intellectuals observed closely that it is shockingly a lack of expectations.
These electoral elections incited a deduction from intellectuals which unmasked their views and blew up their preconceptions for reality and the horizons of the future.
It is evident that this category of society always gambled that there is a big hiatus between the political Islamic project and the possibilities of bringing it into effect. The extensions of hiatus-according to intellectuals- between the political projects for the Islamists and the reality are attributed to the social opposition for this option and not only according to the regime practices against Islamists.
All the results of the electoral process and its repercussions caused much revisionism; as the intellectual elite rather than any elites feel the threat and believe that the objective reality was handed over to the interests of Muslim Brotherhood besides the elections have proved that Muslim Brotherhood have great competitive political qualifications and they can be a fierce rival for the ruling party along with the absence of other parties and powers who showed very weak turn out. This implicates that the distance separating between reality and political Islamic projects narrowed.
This interprets the change in stances for some elite figures who were in good terms with Muslim Brotherhood according to the fact that there is nothing that can spoil relations with Brotherhood as they are still far from decision-making besides there were no predictions that Brotherhood hardly can approach the political domain.
Threats for culture
Among reasons that forced the intellectual elite to form its own stance; their fears about the artistic and cultural production and the threats against it from the part of Islamists who are indulged in the political work through their presence in many representative bodies and associations, like the Parliament. Therefore, it represents a threat as Parliament is the only body concerned with making laws, issuing resolutions and assumes the role of censorship. Accordingly, the intellectual elite are obsessed by the past stances taken by the Islamic trends and their calls to confiscate many cultural and artistic works.
The intellectual elite perhaps have future outlooks about the siege that will enclave culture and arts on the hands of Islamic trend. Since these pressures and confiscations were carried out when the number of Muslim Brotherhood was less than 25%, therefore, the state of siege and pressures will increase since their representation in parliament increased as well.
The great evident writing that reveals such worries and fears was that article by the Egyptian novelist Bahaa Tahir in the “Al-Arabi Al-Nasseri newspaper”. Without any compliments or flattering, Bahaa Tahir describes it as an “upheaval” and the fact lies in the upheaval that occurred in the methods of thinking of the Egyptian citizen. “This change was a planned one and was carried out wittingly and with leisure over three decades. All bewaring voices and warnings were unable to neither stop it nor mobilize powers against its growing threat.”
Bahaa Tahir stroke an example from the past to prove the seriousness of his fears that Muslim Brotherhood representative would use their political posts to increase siege over cultural domains.
He says,” The decision made by Brotherhood representatives concerning the issue of “the three novels” has sparked off a great turmoil, and the result was confiscating these novels from market and sacking the employees who permitted the novels’ publishing.” He added, “I really have serious fears, because those brotherhoods do not intend to appeal before judiciary or any body as they did so before, but the real danger lies in masses who are aside with them also brotherhood might stir masses with fake moral claims to burn books and may be the writers as well.”
Red line Zone
There is a crisis of credibility between cultural elites and Islamists. This relation can be found in all corners of Earth. This is based on the concept of “the red line zone”, according to the attribute by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. Cultural elite still look upon the thesis of Islamists in this issue as still full of ambiguity because the Islamic pattern that is propounded by Islamic trends is a theocratic pattern which will be based on monopolizing the truth and confiscating the social work.
Although Muslim Brotherhood endeavor continuously to extinguish these fears but many intellectuals still are not convinced. They say that these assertions from brotherhoods are tactful replies and is not based on clear knowledge through which one can feel ease.
Where is the Position of Culture?
If we solved the problematic of religious government then still the problematic of culture as it is. Intellectual elites are trying to prove their truth behind their concerns trough giving examples about their previous experiences especially the clashes among religion, culture and policy. Some regard this point as an exposing one because it shows that Islamists are dealing with culture and arts on textual literary basis that are bare from any kind of awareness and specialization in this field. This cause the decisions of brother to be based on a policy of abolishment that is full of lurk and confiscation.
Some believe that the political Islamic trend lacks awareness for history. Islamic civilization abounds in many periods where the levels of freedom were very high that allowed bringing forth hot issues no one of Muslim intellects nowadays can never propound it. No body dared at that time to confiscate such works and hinder them.
It is noticeable that recently some statements came from some brotherhood figures pointing to the issues of arts and culture. Despite their response, yet they failed to bridge the hiatus and restore trust. Some observers believed that that is kind of gamble imposed by political and they describe the Brotherhood discourse as in lack for balance between the respect of freedoms, the call for releasing all creative faculties and their discourse about measures which is considered as the “red line zone” that result in confusion and misunderstanding.
At the same time Muslim Brotherhood regard their statements as calling for freedom and expressing familiarity with culture and arts. The scope of measures, as they meant, target only keeping absolutes and decorum. Intellectual elites believe that these statements hide behind a spirit of confiscation and censorship. Intellectuals call for the necessity of releasing freedoms for creativity and inventiveness and the privacy of standardization measures related to the realm of culture and arts.
Blockage in connectedness
There is a clear state of blockage in connectedness between cultural elites and Muslim Brotherhood. This may be related to the great responsibilities Muslim Brotherhood are assuming besides there are heavy confrontations against them leaving no room to detail their statements in especially what is related to the cultural issue. Noteworthy, Muslim Brotherhood is always surviving under pressures and this justifies their trials to devise some elusive statements in this issue.
Many intellectuals do not believe in these justifications as they interpret the weak connectedness from The Brotherhood part as they have weak cultural background because they are indulged in political and preaching activities. The Brotherhood stance reflects the poor views of the group towards the realm of culture and their weakness in possessing the faculties of connectedness in this vital and important field. This result in a great hiatus and dissention that will pave way in front of stereotyping and the inability to abandon previous views.
From an objective point of view we can say that the views of cultural elites about Muslim Brotherhood abound in exaggeration and extremism in many objective aspects. Without going into the battle of ups and owns between both parties; all related to this issue heralds for a state of phobia from the part of cultural and intellectual elites after the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. At the same time Brotherhood are trying to appease panic and tension. Perhaps this may lead to activating the dialogue between both parties in order to penetrate the taboos between them and deduce points where they can intersect. However, predictions for connectedness seem to be weak, at least on short-term.
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