Mubarak for Mubarak : what are you upto, Egypt?

Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: Arab, Egypt, Gaza, Hosni Mubarak, Israel, Turkey, USA |

The soon-to-be-ex-President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is leaving – even if he pretends not to leave. He is leaving behind thirty years of Middle Eastern politics where Egypt has tried to delude itself that it has finally thrown off the shadow of colonial control. The history of colonial control, British and French and Ottoman, is too well known, for us to repeat to boredom. But now since Mubarak is going – do the young Egyptians have an opportunity to look back on their at least two-thousand years of subjugation to foreign powers?

First, does Egypt has an identity of its own? Does it have a national foundation which is uniquely Egyptian and which will provide the rallying point for its society and youth to cluster around? Does Egypt have something which makes it unique among the Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean circle of nations and people?

The name Mubarak itself comes from an Arabic root, ironically showing how much Arabic culture has replaced that of Egypt. The first signs of a nation of people losing its identity and becoming the slave of another is losing its original language, its mother-tongue. Whatever be the reason for Arabic expansion into the land of the then Copts – at least the Coptic had far greater connections to the Egypt of the old, its imperial past where it ruled much of populated parts of its neighbourhood. From that thread, can the new Egypt reinvent itself as distinct and separate and a path breaker for Eastern Mediterranean?

Second, actually is closely related to the first. A lot of Egypt’s problems came to be Egypt’s problems because it thought itself as Arab, and made Arab causes Egyptian causes. It fought Arab wars against Arab’s enemies, made Arab’s friends its friends and Arab’s enemies its own enemies.

Does Egypt really have to make Israel its unconditional enemy, because the Muslim Brotherhood wants Egypt to fight Arab or Iranian wars? Does Egypt need to make Israel its unconditional friend because its military needs American support? Does Egypt have to tolerate a pseudo-transition where the more things change the more they remain the same?

The youth of Egypt can make a new Turkey out of itself, or something uniquely Egyptian. It can reinvent itself, by not constraining to any of its obligations to colonizers – Europeans, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Arabs, Europeans – in sequence. It remained colonized in its national spirit even after formal presence of colonizers were gone. Egypt’s spirit is lost under the burden of Europe and Arab causes, jealousies and insecurities.

Can you, Egypt’s young, steer a path of your own? Can the young of Tahreer square form a new party of your own on the spot- declare a Constituent Assembly and elect your own parliament, and declare your own interim government of transition? Can you declare yourself neutral in international politics of the regionĀ  -a policy of equidistance from the two sides in the everlasting Middle Eastern conflicts and chart a programme of profound reform aimed inside the country? Otherwise your sacrifices will only feed the old colonial interests – including that of the Arabs.

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