Since when does “DESERVE” mean anything?!
The sentence “Since when does DESERVE” mean anything?” was part of a dialogue in the movie MEN OF HONOR for Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. It is the story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him. In the dialogue Brashear the african American guy told his trainer that he deserves to graduate and the trainer’s answer was so realistic “Since when does deserve mean anything?”
The question is so realistic that it reflects a lot about the reality in Egypt, not just at the moment, it dates long way back in history. The question still stands, shall we continue to be tribal, to only defend the rights of our tribes? Are all citizens treated equally in Egypt? Do people have to belong to the Muslim Brotherhood to really be engaged in the decision making process? The questions are clearly answered through the decision taken by president Morsi and the Muslim brothers.
The Muslim Brothers are trying vehemently to control every single aspect of political life. The opposing groups are trying to resist so hard. Yet the basic question about who can best serve the county is quite absent. Unless the right people hold the right positions in the government, the dilemma will persist. Changing the dominant culture is not optional, it has become inevitable. The dominant culture only enhances what’s been embedded in the collective conscience through education that mainly supports tribal thinking. This culture, that has been controlling most of the decisions taken by the different governments for decades, is so prevalent that some people think that we will never change no matter what happens.
This tribal thinking that has been part of the Egyptian ruling groups since Nasser, with a few exceptions here and there where they were desperate to find the hands-on- expertise, may lead us into chaos. It has been accumulated for so long that it has become in some situation part of life embodied in every single activity, even in football matches, you would find a football commentator inviting people to support a team from the Arab world if they play against a team from Africa, which is quite against the idea of practicing sports in the first place, yet one would find this practice generally accepted with the pretext that Arabs are brothers; they share one religion and one language, this is in its very nature racist and destructive to the spirit of humanity. People should always show the spirit of sportsmanship rather tribal support. You would find great similarity between that tribal thinking and the practices of the Muslim brothers, they belong to the idea of the Muslim brothers everywhere in the world, they support each others under any rate, they choose ministers and decision makers in Egypt depending on how close or far the person is to the idea of Muslim brothers, therefore the conflict will persist.
The fear is that this may lead to a more sectarian clashes especially in the poor areas where ignorance and poverty can easily fan the fire of sectarian problems. The soft power of the Egyptian art is still trying so hard to stand for the great values of joy peace and love, yet many extremists are trying as hard as they can to spread prejudice and hate. Every party is trying hard, yet winning can’t be guaranteed.
The president as well as the Muslim Brotherhood group is basically founded on principles that they hold as sacred. For them these principles will keep them united and strong. They believe they are very strong as a group, a member is not allowed to disobey or take a stand that contradicts the consensus of the leaders of the group, this hierarchical stand will permeate every political practice for the coming days, and since they believe that they are the only political group that can do the best for the country, and since only who support them are welcome to work with them, then we have to repeat the saying “Since when does DESERVE mean anything?”