Despite the bitter divide between Egyptians, there is one thing that we can all agree on: the former regime is hated. But, what qualms do we have exactly with the “former regime”?
If you ask a liberal, she’ll give you a long list of grievances: everything from far-reaching corruption, to incompetency in governance. If you ask an Islamist, he’ll give you a list of religious grievances (which mostly relate to a lack of religiosity). Even supporters of the former regime hate it for not being able to consolidate power when it faced its biggest crisis.
But the real issue with not defining our issues with the former regime is that it gives the Brotherhood a carte blanche to justify its authority as the “protectors of the revolution”. By not defining what specific grievances we had with the former regime, the Brotherhood is capable of using the former regime as a scapegoat for many of its own incompetency.
One thing we know is that the Brotherhood’s incompetency only seems to multiply with each day. Yet, with a dispersed and fractured liberal opposition, and a lack of political/legal accountability, the Brotherhood is poised to position itself in a deadlocked political environment where only a dramatic shake-up would change the status quo. This means that no matter how incompetent the Brotherhood is at governance, there is no mechanism to remove them from power.
So in order to hold the Brotherhood accountable, we need to compare them with the regime that they are supposedly replacing. If the Mubarak regime will be remembered for its corruption, lack of political/social freedoms, and governing incompetency, then we can confidently say that the Brotherhood has failed substantially more than its predecessor in less than a year of its rise to power. Meanwhile, it took Mubarak 30 years to reach a similar level of failures as the Brotherhood.
Mubarak once said that the Brotherhood weren’t competent enough to run a cigarette shack, let alone a country the size of Egypt. It’s a pity that those words came from him, and not someone we trusted more.