Learning that military personnel or innocent civilians were killed in a terrorist attack ought to be utterly devastating to any citizen. The intensive and ongoing terrorist attacks that are taking place in Egypt should prompt us to think about this challenge differently. The outcome of terrorism is disastrous for the entire society; it will never empower a political force over another, but will simply drag the entire nation to the edge of a slippery slope, where we could be trapped for decades. Unfortunately, not all Egyptians are aware of this, nor is the state addressing the issue properly.
The Egyptian state is currently facing several intense, nationwide and recurrent battles! We are in a clear conflict with two regional countries, negatively affected by the wars raging in Iraq, Syria and Libya – and ISIS has managed to carry out several terrorist attacks on Egyptian soil. Additionally, the current ruling regime is engaged in an open struggle with both the Muslim Brotherhood and reformists, and we are undergoing an economic crisis that entails inflation, economic stagnation, a drop in foreign investments and a reduction in the number of tourists. These challenges, and many others, are enough to exhaust any stable nation.
Accountability is about doing our utmost after considering all scientifically validated options! Probably, this is what is truly missing in Egypt; we are focusing on solving our problems through the single option of “eliminating our enemies”! We are using a methodology that has so far proven to be unsuccessful, continuing to rely on the same thinking pattern that has led to the multiplication of our economic and political burdens and the misuse of our nation’s resources – yet we insist that we are on the right path. We must cease to tackle our challenges from a narrow perspective, and make better use of our energy and resources to address them intelligently.
Egypt needs to reallocate its energy and resources to combat terrorism intelligently. Imprisoning youngsters endlessly based on the claim of preventing a new uprising is distancing millions of Egyptian youth from any kind of unifying mission. By concentrating on accusing a country in the region of supporting terrorist activities in Egypt, we are shifting the state’s focus away from overcoming an internal challenge to the incitement of citizens against a country that presumably will not alter its policy soon. Effective enforcement of the rule of law for ordinary crimes will help the security apparatus, and society, to tackle terrorism more successfully.
Polarizing our society into citizens who support the ruling regime and others who are against it will naturally cause those who have been identified as the ‘evil’ segment of society to value the nation less. We cannot realistically expect a citizen who believes that he has been treated unjustly for years to support the state’s mission. A proper application of justice will unite Egyptians against terrorism. Putting the energy and resources of the security apparatus to better use while uniting the entire society against a single enemy, terrorism, will certainly decrease terrorist activity considerably.
“We are in a state of war against terrorism”, President Al Sisi has declared repeatedly, a statement that probably hasn’t been persuasive enough to obtain the international support desired by Egypt. The reluctance of other nations to support Egypt should prompt us to revisit our policy on terrorism and other politically related issues. The President has taken many measures to avoid another uprising – which, in my opinion, constitutes a less dangerous challenge to Egypt than the gradually impending prospect of turning into a flailed state.
It is now obvious that terrorism has penetrated Egypt, mentally and physically! This is the clear and present danger that confronts us, and we must spare no efforts, resources or ideas to combat it. Many Egyptians, myself included, believe that in any given matter, there is always room for improvement. Sadly, this window is unnoticed by the ruling regime. We need to chuck out the thinking underlying our current ruling mechanism. Seniority and hierarchy are not always the best methods for tackling challenges; sometimes an executive recruited from outside of the system can be of added value. The Egyptian state is without a doubt in desperate need of reformulating its current policies and tactics.