Thursday, 3 August 2017

Intellectuals with no ambition

Yes… there is a respected bunch of intellectuals burdened with the public affairs of the nation and who adopted an uncompromising stance towards the will of change during the two revolutions of January 25th and June 30th… and the more days pass, the bigger and deeper challenges are… and the more negativities appear on surface as well… also, the stauncher they become in supporting the regime and leader of June 30th… with no ambition in any personal gains of any kind or degree.

Moreover, they see meetings, seminars, and conferences convene without being invited to… councils formed without having their names among the lists… while they do know the kind, composition, and behavior of some whose names recur in meetings, seminars, conferences, and councils… besides, such bunch of intellectuals – at least some of them – possesses capabilities and visions more knowledgeable and insightful into the nation’s problems than others.

That bunch of those burdened with the public affairs realizes that at certain times in the course of national ruling, specially that which come after an era of break down, chaos, and weakness of the state, seeking help from figures with certain qualities is inevitable… consequently, excluding or postponing seeking help of other figures is logical and acceptable.

Illustrating such ambiguous phrase, the ruling regime that tackles the responsibility of bringing stability and reconstructing the falling-down establishments finds that seeking help from figures that participated in change, spearheaded some fronts, and mastered the language of objection and discourse of opposition represents a big obstacle that may hinder the mission of achieving stability and reconstruction.

Meanwhile, the models that gained past experience from dealing with the government, authorities, decision makers, and takers; meaning the state in general are dependable in the decisive intermittent phase… for this reason, one can simply explain the appearance of names and faces which were present in similar positions during past or toppled regimes.

I claim having what I may call a “study case” proving my point of view… as the post-January-revolution government contained figures that belong to the liberal, Nasserite, and Marxist wings of the opposition in the times of Mubarak’s regime, including names that used to preside known parties, others heading demonstrations, third group that enjoy an established reputation in the field of economy and politics… if an accurate and objective evaluation process over such figures was made, I believe the result would have been negative to a large extent.

I do not want to go into detailing names, positions, and results… not to mention that some other names occupied, and still do, leading positions of workers’ unions and who belong to those pan-nationalist and leftist orientations while their performance was not as expected.

Therefore, help was sought from those previously tried in tasks assigned to them by pre-January and June revolutions regimes… for, at least, they do not claim to have the right of being rivals and partners… they do not claim to be retroactively wise… and to exclusively possess the right vision and the one and only unique revolutionary discipline… most importantly, those sought-after figures, in plain words, “listen to what they are told to do”… which means they pick the message and translate it into action without much need to details and instructions.

Here, I do not mean to underestimate anyone or nail the efficiency of some others… also, I do not hint at those who took the decision of choosing such names… however, it is a reality that recurs in many countries and societies, especially in times of reconstruction and restoring what fell down.

Few years ago, I wrote about what I called the state intellectuals and distinguished between them and the regime intellectuals… as in many times, the professional cultivated intellectual, possessing the vision and capacity to run an executive position, finds himself enrolled in the official entities as there is no other way to serve the country and build the state but to work from inside the already-established entities.

Egypt has witnessed examples of such figures since Sheikh Hassan al-Attar and his student Refa’a al-Tahtawi to the tens of professors and experts who worked in the already-existing political institutions… as it is not logical to assassinate the characters of those who found no other way to do their scientific or technical mission but through working and collaborating with the regime.

However, such bunch is different to those profiteers who serve the rulers for their own gains and who usually have no talent or dignity… adding to this that nations during phases of transformation – actually in all phases – are not built by the rule of excluding the efficient talents of its sons but by achieving maximum use of employing them everyone in his place.

Egypt witnessed unique models of such respected intellectuals who staunchly supported the state and its leadership despite being excluded and sometimes even restricting their freedom… in such regard, one should mention names like Ismail Sabri Abdalla, Fouad Morsi, Abdelazim Anis, Ahmed el-Refa’ie, and Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Egyptian Left leaders in the fifties and sixties who spared no effort in backing the Nasserist leadership and letting go of many negative acts… also letting go of the harm inflicted over them during their detention.

Nations, at certain times, need those who can tackle missionary-like tasks while they have no ambition in gains, positions, titles, and privileges no matter how tempting they are.

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar

This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on August 3, 2017.

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