Whether or not August 24 reflected the demands of many people, the call to “dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood” and seize power from the ruling Freedom and Justice Party has an important message to give us about one section of Egyptian opinion: according to EuroNews, some 3000 Egyptians took to the streets on the August 24.
But what would it mean to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood? It is a very ambiguous demand that I personally find hard to understand. Egypt has undergone many difficult moments and endured many stifling years under the cosh, resulting in revolution against an old and corrupt system. And one major dysfunction of the old system was precisely suppression of political opinions and directions. The Muslim Brotherhood was the most popular of these organizations and detaining its members became part of their expectations in life. Though you might quarrel with the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm the FJP, how will dissolving them “protect” the “rest” of the population from what some fear will be radical moves to take power of both the presidency and the upper and lower councils?
Instead one of the great successes of the revolution is the ‘outing’ of all the underground movements and organizations. The last parliamentary elections left many Egyptians confused over the amount of Salafi people who seem to us to have appeared out of nowhere. It came as a surprise to many that they both existed in such numbers and are as organized as they were, enabling them to make such gains in the last parliamentary elections. But finally they are playing a role in public life. And at least now being aware of the power of the Salafis or the Muslim Brotherhood makes the political sphere more predictable and hence manageable. Dealing with any movement or organized group is now a possibility within the framework of institutions and the rule of law.
Even though these must still develop so that they function properly, the drive needs to be to bring to the surface all kind of ideas and organizations to be able to deal with them, and let them find their place within the political context, alongside the other political parties who believe they are serving the country as a whole. Though revolutions play out through conflict, not least conflict over powers, let us not forget about this key success in bringing all different opinions and political strategies into one place for negotiation. Holding all political parties and movements accountable for their actions, statements, and strategies should now be the way forward, until a common ground of political ideals and power relations are found to serve the country in all its diverse interests.