Naqib's Daughter

Naqib's Daughter
North Carolina,
November 11
Born and raised in Egypt, educated at London University, immigrated to the United States in the eighties. Author of two novels, The Cairo House, about growing up in a political family in Nasser's Egypt, and The Naqib's Daughter, about Bonaparte's occupation of Egypt in 1798. A collection of short stories, Love is Like Water, addresses in part Arab Americans post 9/11. Also published nonfiction on Islam, Egypt, women in Muslim societies, and terrorism. Have taught at university and in journalism. An editor of South Writ Large, an online magazine of stories, arts and ideas from the Global and US Souths.


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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 14, 2012 5:30PM

Military Coup in Egypt: Back to the Future

Rate: 7 Flag

 June 14 Cairo

It’s not that a military power grab was not a scenario foretold: back in January 2011, with the revolution ongoing in Tahrir and Mubarak still in power, the warnings were many: Be careful what you wish for! You may get a historical first: an authentic people’s revolution that turns into a coup d’etat, sixty years after a coup d’etat in 1952, by Colonel Nasser et al, that turned into a socialist ‘revolution.’

Today, the worst case scenario has come to pass: ahead of this weekend’s presidential election, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces- Field Marshall Tantawi and company- mounted a ‘soft’ coup, in one swift blow re-instating martial law, dissolving Parliament, ruling for the eligibility of their own candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, and announcing the formation of a constituent assembly of their choice to set a new constitution, new parliamentary eligibility rules, and the powers of a new president.

The military’s candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, is a former Air Force Commander, just like his role model Hosni Mubarak; just like Mubarak, he is a strongman whose mantra is ‘I or the Islamists’.  In today’s Egypt, this slogan resonates with a wide swath of disillusioned, exhausted and intimidated citizenry, fearful of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover; they breathe a sigh of relief at the prospect of ‘back to the future’, carried along in a miasma of willful, collective amnesia about the corruption of the Mubarak elite and the brutality of his security forces, police and military alike. All over Face Book, they are giving thanks for sparing Egypt ‘the Iran scenario,’ even if it ends in a Turkey-style military takeover; over Iran, they will take Turkey any day. So would I.

But what if the alternative scenario is not Turkey, but Algeria? What if, by nullifying a parliamentary election in which Islamists won at the ballot box, the military will be risking a massive wave of protests and resistance that could lead to the kind of bloodbath Algeria experienced for a decade? Egyptians are not Algerians, the reassuring counter argument goes, with nothing like Algeria’s violence and tribalism. But then again, the conventional wisdom before January 2011, was that Egyptians did not revolt.

This weekend Egyptians may or may not go to the polls to elect a President whose powers are yet undetermined, in a country with no constitution, no Parliament, and under the heel of a Draconian martial law. A year and a half after a revolution that inspired the world, this is a bitter day for Egypt: the ideals of a revolution betrayed, the blood of the best and the brightest of its youth spilled in vain. 

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Really sad but who in his or her right mind would run for " President whose powers are yet undetermined, in a country with no constitution, no Parliament, and under the heel of a Draconian martial law. "?
The Algeria-FIS scenario is a worry, if hopefully what happens is the Parliamentary 'redo' results in less Brothers, and more "Wafd."
That's the optimistic view.
It's depressing to compare the Egyptian Revolution with the Wisconsin Uprising. The forces of darkness are lengthening the shadows.
This should be an Editor's Pick for its cogent analysis and insight.
Thank you for reporting what is going on, Naqib's Daughter. Hoping for the best in the coming days.
thank you all for the good wishes. The next few days will be critical for Egypt.
nothing new here. reflect on the difference between 'rebellion,' which egypt had, and 'revolution,' which they have not had.

the moslem brotherhood is the only civil organization in egypt capable of mounting a genuine revolution, because unlike the children throwing stones in the square, mb nas been patient in building the social links that make it possible to run egypt after the stone throwing was over.

they were not active in the stone throwing, because a long history of resistance had created an understanding of their power, and that of the military. it is very possible they regret the rebellion, as counter-productive by being premature.

but the people of egypt must live in egypt, and life goes on even after failed rebellions. mb will go back to building support and hope for better days. i wish the vanguard party of egypt was not built on islamic fundamentalism, but it's the only one egypt has got.
An excellent analysis, and you explain so well just how much uncertainty looms over this situation. History is transpiring as we speak; I only hope the events will somehow reveal a true democratic change in such an important country. The people there truly deserve a just democracy.
Looks like Glenn Beck was right again.