Arab Spring and Khaled Fahmy

The Brotherhoodization policy has gone way beyond what is normally expected in any healthy transitional process. In addition to the provincial governors — who are gradually being replaced by Brotherhood members — the Police Academy is reportedly being infiltrated by members of the clandestine organization. Within the Ministry of Education, replacements have reached the level of school principals. And the new Minister of Culture has replaced the head of the Cairo Opera House, dismissed the head of the Cairo Ballet Company, the head of the Egyptian Book Authority (the largest government publishing house) , and the director of the National Library and the National Archives. The new appointees have no credentials except being members or sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The conservative counter-revolutionary forces are very very strong, most important the Muslim Brotherhood… They are a well-greased, well-knit, well-financed political machine. When election time comes they are the first to know how to turn out the vote. Their rhetoric is not that sophisticated. What they have to promise is very meagre. I don’t think they are the solution. But they know how to do things, and they do it. So that is what we now have. And in that sense it looks like the revolution has failed. But I personally think that having a president who was behind bars only 20 months ago is an amazing achievement. To have a president who had been ruling for 30 years behind bars is an amazing achievement. To do this not in a kangaroo trial but in a legal way, without lynching him, without hanging him from a tree, is a significant achievement. To put all heads of the political establishment — many important figures of the former regime — behind bars is very important. And to start, bit by bit, dismantling this apparatus of tyranny will take a long time. The other option would have been blood — with revolutionary trials, with guillotines or gallows in Tahrir. We didn’t see this. But the underlying currents are still there, and they still run deep. There’s a high level of anxiety now because we still don’t know which way the revolution will go, especially with writing the constitution and in the translation of the revolution into new institutional structures. But in the overall scheme of things, this is a huge reversal of the trajectory of Egyptian history.

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