Presidential elections between reality and illusion
Elections are a means of change ... not an end in themselves ... just like a car, and we agree that a car is a means of transportation, no one doubts that a car is a means of transportation, and no one doubts that elections are a means of change.
However, can you ride your car and then run into the sea?
The car is a land transport vehicle that runs on land only. And not even on any land. Most cars must have a paved road. They must have petrol, maintenance in addition to dozens of other qualifications. Even cars that are ready for rough roads must take into account the nature of the region and then go through proper preparation for it.
Under this approach, we may judge the course of the presidential elections that will be held in Egypt in 2018.
Some believe that entering the elections and supporting an independent candidate may be a step in the way of change. In other words, it is a car by which we can cut off part of the journey (not the whole trip). In fact this sounds very reasonable (theoretically)
But on the other hand, others - and perhaps the writer of this article is amongst them - see that we will ride a car and then go into the sea, or at least travel on a rough road that makes it impossible to reach anywhere, but rather we may lose (the car) itself.
The security’s suppression of all dissenting opinions in Egypt now refutes any dream about fair elections, and ruins any attempt to penetrate the regime.
Some argue that we have come back to a worse era than Mubarak’s era, so why not go back to the means we used during the era of Mubarak? We are in 2017, we are not in 2011, not even in 2010, true ... but!
Well, we have Dr. Ayman Nour's experience in the 2005 presidential elections. He did not win the presidency, nevertheless, his campaign has been an educational institution for a new generation. It was a dream in which thousands of young people participated. We saw them in the 6th of April Movement, ElBaradei's campaign, Tahrir Square, and in the parties founded after the revolution ... So, the gains of his participation into the presidential race were quite beneficial (on the short, medium and long term), though available means to challenge the regime at that time were limited.
Would we expect to see a presidential candidate that resembles Ayman Nour's electoral model in the current situation?
I am not asking the candidate to win the election ... I will pretend that I agree with those friends who think it is possible to ride the car and to travel a limited distance in a long way!
Can any candidate open his campaign for accession?
If yes, does anyone dare to join?
If a limited number or even if a reasonable number joined, will the regime refrain from suppressing them?
Can any businessman donate to this campaign?
What kind of a person is that who dares to enter the elections in such an atmosphere?
The answer to each of these questions is very clear ... and attempts to evade the answer will not bring us anything. We have a clear fact which is that it is impossible to build a real or even a semi real electoral campaign on the ground!
If any campaign needs thousands of volunteers, I bet a candidate to assemble several hundred - let’s not say dozens - from all over Egypt
I do believe that the arresting operations, which barely leaves an activist in his home, confirms that we are very far away from the scenario of entering the presidential elections, I also believe that any entry into this race would be beneficial to the regime and harmful to its opponents.
Nominal participation will give legitimacy to a system who would do anything to obtain formalities of legitimacy, and whoever thinks that the legitimacy of the regime is outside the debate has definitely been deceived. In fact, legitimacy is the basis of our conflict with all regimes.
In his Satire on Mubarak, the writer of this article has first said ... (you have lost your legitimacy)
Our battle with these regimes is the battle of legitimacy, in its true sense, not in the naive sense that has been raised by some people nowadays. Legitimacy versus tyranny, not a person versus a person.
Some are trying to talk about an alternative ... or the specifications of the candidate who may reassure many forces, and who can assemble people behind him, while they are ignoring the unprecedented polarization situation that the Egyptian society is witnessing.
The polarization situation which would get exacerbated by the election festival!
They try to go solve problem number one by proposing solutions to problem number ten!
(Note: those who are trying to characterize the candidate are just like those describing the car that is suitable for a trip, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, and thus ... all such studies and predictions would be useful when the road becomes paved for the car!
The scenario of the so-called 2018 elections (when it is offered as a way out of the crisis) seems to me as an avoidance from answering the difficult question (when and how shall the Egyptian opposition unite wıth all its trends and orientations?)
There is no meaning for elections, demonstrations, civil disobedience or any peaceful means that we call for, except after the national group has united in its entirety, then determine the optimal path
Some are trying to make comparisons with other countries, where the opposition has succeeded in obtaining gains against military systems in the elections, however, and in spite of the big difference, it all happened after the unification of their opposition and not before it!
The idea of running for presidency does not seem to answer the question: "How can the current situation be changed?" but rather seems to me - unfortunately - as a response to another question. This question is short: How can we change the current situation without putting our hands in the hands of our political opponents?
The real answer is... we cannot change the current situation unless we unite the majority of the spectrum of the Egyptian opposition in an entity which is capable of taking an action. Moreover, all the Islamists who imagine that they can change the current situation without the rest of the trends they are in illusions, and all the civil trends that imagine that they can beat the regime without a broad coalition Including the Islamists ... have more illusion than the former group .
In the end, there is no way out except by the alignment of everyone (or the majority). When this happens, the road will be clear, through dialogue and cooperation. We will have weight. We will be able to remove this nightmare. Without that, only more losses will be achieved.
May Egypt live for Egyptians and by Egyptians
Translated by Dr. Iman Salama