x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Brotherhood must make the right choice

An Arab journalist says that following the path to non-violence is the best option for the Muslim Brotherhood. Other digest topics: Arab oppression, Syria

As the Brotherhood faces the toughest test in its history, non-violence remains the best option

Facing the toughest test in its 85-year history, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has to decide how to respond to the junta's violence and massacres, with the most difficult option, non-violence, being the best one for them, noted Taoufik Bouachrine, an editor of the Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Youm.

Will the Muslim Brotherhood adopt a tit-for-tat strategy and go underground to launch violent operations against the army and its allies? Or are they going to stick to peaceful means, albeit the harder option, amid the ongoing bloodbath?

Non-violence is the best option, not only because it can defeat military dictatorship, which is a short-term goal, but more importantly because nonviolent movements stand a better chance of building a democratic system when tanks are pulled out from the streets, the editor wrote.

Yet a nonviolent method does not mean a merely regulatory decision, nor is it a tactic adopted by some leaders and ignored by others. It is a strategic option that requires some rationale to be instilled in the organisation's political thought.

This option also needs a policy that nurtures it and disavows anyone who transgresses it, irrespective of justifications and army's brutality.

The recent bloodshed in Egypt drew global condemnation, which put the coup orchestrators along with their road map in a difficult situation.

Striking a similar note, Abdelali Hami Eddine wrote in the pan-Arab daily Al Quds Al Arabi that the fact that the people who currently run the show in Egypt are tightening their grip on the opposition, targeting the right to peaceful protests and sending the Brotherhood's leaders to jail indicate that they do not weigh the risks of sliding into civil war.

The dramatic turn of events suggests that they didn't expect such response and thought they would force all parties to accept the coup as a fait accompli. Many anti-coup protesters ruined their plans, prompting the coup supporters to play the antiterrorism card.

The Brotherhood must know that non-violence is more powerful for several reasons, Eddine wrote. The state's violence is stronger than that of individuals and can crush violent tendencies quite easily. Indulging in violence will cause protesters to lose popular support at home and abroad.

Opting for violence will also give people behind the coup reasons to justify their actions and portray their interference as necessary to counter terrorism, a stance that has been efficiently used to gain western support on other occasions.

And lastly, in countering violence and terrorism it is hard to highlight human rights, which denies protesters the efficient weapon of resorting to international laws that ban the military from meddling in politics.

Oppression has left a mark on Arab minds

Most comments have examined the Arab Spring uprisings and the ensuing setbacks from a political perspective, but they failed to extend to other disciplines such as sociology, psychology and ethics, remarked the Bahraini writer Ali Fakhro in an article in the UAE-based paper Al Khaleej.

Political explanations such as foreign interference and flow of Arab money to influence events cannot alone explain what is happening.

To begin with, there is no such thing as good, sane people versus evil, insane people. People, like individuals, are born good, and what happens to nations depends on particular factors prevalent in each nation. Citing innate negative factors in Arabs to explain events is a racist attempt initiated by colonisers and some orientalists, which is followed by some Arabs.

An individual or group comprises three elements: personal traits, the environment, and the system that creates, retains or uses the surrounding circumstances to influence them.

Arabs are no exception to other people. The key element here is their surrounding circumstances and the social, economic and political system that have created those circumstances.

The Arab man has long lived in a big prison run by brutal and corrupt wardens, which led to the distortion of their mind and soul. Centuries of oppression and tyranny have left their mark and will take time to go, Fakhro said.

Decades old regimes will not simply leave

After its chemical attack on Ghouta and the appalling pictures of dead children, the Syrian regime has shown that it is absolutely ready to do anything to stay in power, wrote Hazem Saghieh in the London-based Al Hayat.

Bashar Al Assad also says that those targeted with chemical weapons are not "his people", just like Saddam Hussein who said following the chemical attack on Halabja that the Kurds of Iraq were not his people.

Similarly, the old regime in Egypt is saying that it is not ready to accept the change brought about by the revolution, releasing Hosni Mubarak and holding the elected president Mohammed Morsi in custody.

The "Nasserists" who likened Gen Abdel Fattah El Sisi to Gamal Abdel Nasser are involved in the coup; the "Sadatists" [admirers of the former president Anwar Sadat] are also present through the ultraliberal figures; and the "Mubarakists" now live through the remnants.

Meanwhile, the liberal politician, the former vice-president of Egypt, Mohamed ElBaradei, who tried to correct the mistake of covering the coup, stands accused of "breach of trust".

In short, this kind of Arab regimes will not simply go, as if 61 years in Egypt, 50 years in Syria, and before that 35 years in Iraq and 42 in Libya, are not enough.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk