Demythologising the Egyptian “Revolution”   Leave a comment

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Me, before 2011

It was 2008 when I was graduated as an engineer .Shortly later I got enrolled in a super-intensive training in a German company to receive two certificates in power control with a clear promise from that company: if you pass then you will be automatically appointed. This did not happen because the Egyptian manager said explicitly: you need “wasta” (an important person to let you get the job … nepotism.. click here). This key term became one of the most defining words in describing the dynamics of corruption in Egypt during Mubarak’s disastrous regime. If that was the case in the Egyptian office of a German giant, you can imagine the situation in the public sector!

I had far worse experiences like getting stuck for a year, unable to travel or work because of a deliberate mistake made by an official who wrote my religious affiliation “Muslim” and when I asked for correcting it, I got punished by delaying my military service medical check for a year. Wait, that was not even the worst institutional experience I had under Mubarak… but I cannot mention everything.

Like many, if not the vast majority, the dream of seeing Mubarak out was far beyond imagination and the best we hoped for was a drastic reformation in the next generation of the ruling party (the Naitonal Democratic Party) like the one the Communist party of Russia had earlier.

However, it was clear also that Mubarak did not only destroy the institutions of the country from inside, but he also helped in creating the monster of the Muslim Brotherhood. I won’t go into details but it is sufficient to mention that they reached their momentum under his nose and with deals that apparently went out of control in 2011.

I met my wife in Cairo in March 2007 and I told her: The Muslim Brotherhood are coming in a few years and they will be unstoppable.

In such a bleak future and congested present, a young man like me would be left with few choices, bitter ones.

When the calls for uprisings in 2011 took place and Mubarak’s regime was toppled, things seemed too good to be true and it didn’t take much time to see towards what the situation was moving . I had to mention the examples above in order to emphasise that regardless of anything, the very idea of seeing Mubarak chucked out of the presidency palace was a fantastic thing to see! Having said that, it seems we have to take a deep breath and reflect on what happened.

Arab Spring Propaganda

One of the best achievements of Rudolf Bultmann was his demythologising programme. Not just in the field of NT studies but also for what it meant for his generation. What not many people know is that the demythologising programme was an initiative that targeted the theological “Weltbild.” That worldview served Hitler’s purposes as you can see in hisfamous 1938 speech in the Reichstag.

Bultmann aimed to show that the idea of the two kingdoms, which is well rooted in Lutheran theology, needs to be revisited in the light of our knowledge of the world that shaped the views of Paul in particular. Bultmann’s demythologising had an impact of disillusionment amongst his students in the early stages of the Nazi propaganda. I had the honour to study under one of them. I saw in my private conversation with two aged Bultmannians the theological impact which worked from the pulpit and the lecture hall.

Those who follow the Arab Spring propaganda need a similar approach that could dissemble the rosy, cheesy and  childish image of ” THE people who went to the streets to topple THE TYRANT and spread peace and love [John Lennon’s Imagine is in the background or perhaps Pink Floyd].”

If some Egyptian 25th-of-January believers, like the Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster believers, still live into this narrative, researchers and scholars who get paid to check the footnotes need to be careful in buying terms like the ones I emphasised in the previous narrative.

That would be my next post on my way to Beirut.

 

 

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Posted January 25, 2017 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized

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