My interest in political Islam began in 1965 with the case of the famous member of the Muslim Brotherhood Sayyid Qutb. This interest intensified when the Muslim Brotherhood entered the arena of events in Egypt at the beginning of the 1970s. For a period of 40 years I have been studying the entire literature of political Islam and have followed all of its movements issuing from the Muslim Brotherhood current.
The Syrian conflict has become the world’s greatest proxy war since Vietnam. It reflects every major fault line that has defined the Middle East for the past half-century and has drawn in local, regional and global actors, many of whom see this as an existential fight that they cannot afford to lose.
Alaa Al-Aswany is Egypt’s preeminent novelist. His 2002 best-seller The Yacoubian Building highlighted the political corruption, moral duplicity, and economic inequality of contemporary Egypt, and established him as one of the most influential critics of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Quoting Sir Winston Churchill: " It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried.”
Which democracy are the Egyptian elitists talking and writing about? Is it the Greek form in which the 'demos', the people, hold the power and the elected governors and authorities are the servants of the people in their 'polis?' Is it the democracy in which the majority of the populous are educated enough to be able to cast a meaningful vote? Is it the democracy which believes that people and not the Almighty, whoever he is , are the only source of rules a nation lives by in a civilized world?
Egypt's new de facto pharaoh, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, is a man of mystery. Is he an Islamist, or a nationalist? Is he a person of high principle, or a lowly opportunist? And in a land which has known five thousand years of mainly centralized, one-man rule, with limited experience of democracy, when have we seen his type before, and where will he lead the troubled, ancient nation now?
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