After someone called for blogging on May-23-2011 to criticize the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), I found myself obligated to join the initiative. Not that I will add anything new or uncover a hidden treasure of unique ideas that’s never been revealed, discussed, refused or agreed upon before. rather, I find it a good opportunity to state my opinion about the current situation and SCAF, in prose as I usually express myself in rhyme.
The main topic of this article reminds me of a story I once heard, it’s relevance to the current events in Egypt and to SCAF maybe deduced through out the lines of this article, read on.
They say that Albert Einstein was once asked by a blind man to explain what does the relativity theory mean, Einstein told the blind guy: “relativity is close to a glass of milk.”
“Glass,” replied the blind guy, “I know what that is. But what do you mean by milk?”
“Well, milk is a white fluid,” said Einstein.
“Now fluid, I know what that is,” said the blind guy. “but what is white ? “
” Oh, white is the color of a swan’s feathers.”
” Feathers, I know feathers, but what is a swan ? “
“A swan’s a bird with a crooked neck.”
” Neck, I know what a neck is, but what is “crooked” ? “
Einstein seized the blind guy’s arm and stretched it. “There, now your arm is straight,” said Albert. Then he bent the blind guy’s arm at the elbow. “Now it is crooked.”
“Oh,” said the blind guy. “Now I know what white means.”
To many, myself included SCAF is an unknown entity! A group of twenty army generals appointed by Mubarak, representing the different branches of the Egyptian armed forces, whose highest commander used to be Mubarak himself until he was allegedly given an ultimatum to “leave or get prosecuted” during the seventy-two hours prior to his stand down, handing his authorities to SCAF.
This – though celebrated by the masses – has put Egypt in a delicate, perplexing and devastating constitutional situation. Mubarak, according to the constitution can only hand his resignation and therefore his authorities to an elected parliament which represented by it’s own head would lead the country through a transition period until a new president is elected. Handing power to SCAF is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. The parliament itself was a big fraud, many of its members were instated via a forged election using fake votes, thugs, switching boxes and bribery.
SCAF, more than anyone involved in the grim Egyptian political scene knew the situation and sought acknowledgement in a legal, constitutional and public manner. But, which constitution? the 1971 constitution in action has already fallen the moment Mubarak stepped down. The only legitimacy SCAF can rely on is the legitimacy imposed by the revolution and none of the rebels of Tahrir would ever acknowledge the appointees of Mubarak to rule. Not to mention that those appointees are men in uniform!
SCAF also knew that a vast majority of Egyptians didn’t join the revolution, their silence may reflect sympathy with the revolution’s goals, sympathy with Mubarak, Indifference or simply ignorance. Yet, no matter which category this silent majority belonged to, their approval on SCAF being handed power would give SCAF the legitimacy they were seeking. The rebels of Tahrir though righteous are a minority of intelligentsia supported by crowds of a sympathetic mob and some Islamic movements who jumped on board once the revolution was on a roll. SCAF would raise the question: “do those in Tahrir represent the whole nation?”, “do we need to derive our legitimacy for being in power from Tahrir alone?”, “who of those many groups, coalitions, parties, entities can authorize our existence in power?”: none and therefore the answer to all the previously mentioned questions was a loud No.
The answer to those confusing questions came in the form of some legal consultation provided “probably” by Tareq Al-Beshry (a muslim brothers aficionado) and Yehia Al-Gamal (a man craving for a role) among other constitutional experts who advised SCAF to conduct a referendum for 9 constitutional amendments concerning articles (75, 76, 77, 88, 93, 139, 148, 179, 189). The Amendments, if approved would legalize SCAF’s existence in power, re-instate the fallen 1971 constitution, enforce a form of superficial stability especially amongst the politically illiterate and the previous NDP members who would do anything to restore the country’s political scene to what it was prior to January 25. It would also legalize the position of the restricted Islamic groups if they supported the referendum, for apart from legalizing SCAFs position, the referendum drew a clear path for any organized group to take over a considerable portion of the coming parliament thus becoming the new “in-inaugurated” yet actual ruler of Egypt. The Muslim Brothers wouldn’t miss this historic chance even if they had to literally betray the demands of Tahrir: after all, this is what politics is all about in their opinion – history says.
On the other hand the amendments didn’t reflect the revolution’s demands. One of the main demands is the formation of a new temporary constitution that would dictate the authorities of a temporary government and a civil presidential council, but who cares? If all the organized powers in Egypt supported by the illiterate masses in the delta and upper Egypt along with SCAF approved of the referendum then to hell with a bunch of of educated bloggers, liberals, leftists and social justice seekers. Electronic media might be imperative in countries like Japan or Sweden where the illiteracy rates are below zero, but Egypt? Guess not.
Furthermore, SCAF does not approve of a presidential council, how do we expect it to? handing power willingly to the likes of Baradei, Nour or Bothaina Kamel? are you insane? SCAF has always stated their firm adherence to applying the law, they did apply it in some occasions and failed in numerous occasions to even get close to concepts of justice or fairness. Any “political” opinion that criticizes SCAF is considered a “crime” punishable by Military Laws.
Applying the law is a “theme” favorable to many, It saves SCAF from being criticized by the US and EU who praised this “theme” since day one. It is also a theme that would guarantee minimal punishment to major crimes. The judicial system requires documents, proofs and witnesses that may not be available thus making it very hard to establish justice the way the revolution wants.
When we joined the demonstration in Tahrir on Jan 25, we wanted the president to step down, we wanted the regime to fall, we wanted social justice, we wanted freedom and we wanted to restore our long lost dignity. Our demonstrations evolved into a breathtaking, “white” revolution and the world watched us as we elegantly and persistently marched to grab our long denied rights. We made every other revolution in the recorded human history seem barbaric and uncivilized, we reduced what took Gandhi decades of preaching into a mere eighteen days, we discovered who we are and what we can do when united. All in a “white”, peaceful and intense rebellious act that would surely make John Lennon, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Saad Zaghloul and every other peace activist proud.
Four months later here is what we’ve got: we got SCAF instead of Mubarak, we got national security instead of state security, we got military courts instead of civil courts, we got a slow legal process and above all we got this heavy feeling that justice will not be served.
Now I know what “white” means!