Egypt needs brainpower not muscle power

The decision to prosecute a number of Egyptian opposition figures may be perceived as a fair legal procedure, but it could trigger many more citizens to challenge the Egyptian State – a scenario that we should avoid at all cost. The timing of the trials raises the question of why the Egyptian State suddenly decided to take these individuals to court after having stood by for years without taking any steps regarding their alleged crimes. In Egypt, we have learnt that, a blind eye may be turned to political misconduct for decades, while other misdemeanors may be exposed and publicized for no good reason.

Egypt is not a country that encourages its citizens to develop an alternative methodical approach to challenging current government policies; being a brave politician is all that it takes to challenge the government – regardless of any facts! Since every development project has its pros and cons, it is easy to criticize a given project by highlighting its weak points, irrespective of the project’s actual success or failure. Sometimes, turning a deaf ear to the opposition can be more effective than the harsh treatment that the State reserves for certain politicians!

Egypt is a nation truly lacking in “political maturity”, which leads to the misevaluation of political actions and arguments. Many of the political disputes widely debated by Egyptians on social media require a clear government response, while others should be ignored – but the State seldom makes this distinction. Only a few Egyptian politicians who are in power are truly aware of accurate political developments, the rest are simply creating hypothetical political scenarios that need to be classified by the State somehow.

The Egyptian State’s current political stance is an extremely determined one! The State (in its view, obviously) has recently had an unpleasant experience with containing and tolerating the opposition, resulting in it completely losing its grip on society and culminating in the 25 January 2011 revolution and its political consequences. Yet the State does not realize that the ruling philosophy applied during the Mubarak era that allowed him to rule for three decades cannot be repeated easily.

In many nations, the State tends to mobilize citizens by intelligently persuading them of its goals. In Egypt, we exert pressure on the political opposition, causing it to escalate its criticism of our government’s policies, erroneously believing that imprisoning a few opposition figures (in spite of the fact that most of them contributed substantially to establishing the Egyptian State’s new political foundation after 30 June 2013) will intimidate the entire society.

The Egyptian State often attempts to pursue only one option: muscle flexing. It believes that its strength lies in showing off its muscles, although on many occasions brainpower is required far more than muscle power. The State believes that there is zero risk in its “provocative approach” policy. Claiming that it is quite powerful and has learnt its political lesson well over the past few years, the State is convinced that all that is needed now is strong law enforcement, even if it is harshly applied.

Egypt desperately needs State stability. However, the State’s present provocative political stance could have an opposite effect; rather than promote stability, it is shaking the State’s hold on power. Stability can only be realized by defusing tension among citizens, and the current policy of fueling citizens’ political beliefs and emotions places the entire nation at high risk. The State has been regularly warning us that Egypt could fall anytime. A better way to address this threat would be to avoid engagement in every single political attempt made by the government opposition.

The Egyptian State has adopted an ‘all or nothing’ approach – an extremely risky attitude that works on inflaming the entire society. Tightening the ruling regime’s hold on Egyptians will either strengthen the State’s grip on society or cause it to lose its power completely. Culturally, Egyptians are a resilient society that can endure much, but they could overreact unexpectedly, at any moment. This scenario can be avoided by adopting a fair and firm State policy – not by implementing harsh, pitiless tactics.

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