In Egypt we say: “Whip the tied to frighten the unleashed”.. The Americans translated it into “Shock and Aw” and have actually practiced it while invading Iraq. Now the second largely voted movement in Egypt, the Salafist oriented “Annour” party, is promoting the same.
I believe that this is precisely what is going on in the Egyptian cultural arena these days, and which constitutes the prelude to a devastating social seismic event that can, and will, provoke more divisions, more hatred, more superficiality, more indifference and more ignorance.
I am talking about the stormy debate manifested upon the news and all over the media focussed over Adel Emam as part of a larger campaign aiming to hand over the entire heritage of Egypt’s Literature, Film Industry, along with TV and theater productions, to the sharp scissors of a self proclaimed “Board Of Censors”, carefully disguised behind a false religious veil to convince and recruit simple people to stand happily together for a group picture next to the brand new attraction of a guaranteed collective culture ruins.
The intentions of the “Salafists” to forbid certain concepts from being freely expressed ‘in public’, is an irremediable regression and a prelude to more sever impositions to close all the windows before every free thought; an unpleasant situation that will bring us way back into primitive obscurity.
The Salafist movement is actually applying step by step the classic “Authoritarian Control Manual”:
Ø to establish large consensus among the population through demagogic and ideological (religious) exaggerated rhetoric,
Ø then chose some well known prominent figures to publicly accuse of high treason to the cause (blasphemy), and
Ø mobilise the mass of followers for the public ‘Lynching’.
As such, the result will be either a overwhelming general sense of intimidation or an irrevocable fragmentation of the population that may lead to continuous confrontations and maybe even armed conflicts destabilising the nation and nourishing tribal, ethnic and sectarian versatilities and permanent vindictive grievances.
To set the example and to intimidate the entire intellectual class, in order to freeze the evolution of any free expression as one of the main pillars of Democracy; Adel Emam was the perfect choice for several reasons:
a) He has acquired over the years the largest popular consensus and ‘fan’atic adoration.
b) He treated, in his plays and films, a range of social phenomena like religious fundamentalism, corruption, terrorism, poverty, ignorance, homosexuality…etc.
c) He was very cautious and even reluctant in supporting the new revolutionary wave.
I see this as a siren of alarm signaled by a revolution’s ship adrift in open stormy ocean, due to anomalies in its engines and deaf and blind since deprived from any navigation systems like sonar or radar; as such it is destined to hit the reef of tyranny and submerge into endless folds of darkness in the abyss of ignorance. And if we refuse to see this and consider it as a probable eventuality, then we shall deserve what we will have.
It is sad to realise that while the entire world is seriously engaged in finding solutions for vital issues like “Water, Energy, Peace and Development”, we are being dragged down towards international isolation through primitive tribal conflicts that will definitely bring the country to the verge of an open “Head to Head” clash between the ‘Military Institution’ and the ‘Salafist Mass’.. Of course each will seek support from its closest “Friends”!!
And where all that will leave Egypt??
Remember that while The Military Dictatorship, that gave birth to the likes of Mubarak, hated the “TRUTH”; the coming “Ideological Dictatorship” will eradicate it.
Is there someone seen on the horizon capable of rescuing an agonising revolution, and willing to embrace moderation to guide the nation into the democratic republic of transparency, human rights and social justice? A society that can remedy its aches on its own setting itself free from Corruption of hands and minds.
When you see him,
Pass On The Word.