The Egyptian writer, famous for his novel "The Yacoubian Building" (2002), took an active part in the revolution in his country in 2011. He gives, bluntly, his analysis for the after Arab Spring and the challenges facing Egypt. Between optimism and caution.


AlaaYou anticipated the explosion of Egyptian society before the revolution in your book "The Yacoubian Building". What do you think of what is happening in Egypt?

A revolution means a deep change not only at the political level but also at the human level. This change takes time. I am optimistic despite the disappointment to see the rise of the Islamists and their fascist policies, but we're never going back. Egypt will never be led by a dictator.

You mentioned that Egypt is currently going through the "third wave of the revolution." What do you mean by that?

The revolution for me is not an event that has a specific date. It is a long process which will be completed once we have obtained the objectives of the revolution. The first wave of the Egyptian revolution was the fall of Mubarak's regime. The second wave is the one that pushed away the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled the country for 18 months after Mubarak. The third wave is now and it intends to bring down the Muslim Brotherhood and build a civil state.

Should the Egyptians overthrew Mohamed Morsi as they did with Mubarak?

I am against the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi who was democratically elected. It is not the purpose of the revolution. But we must push Morsi to be the president of all Egyptians, not just the Muslim Brothers. Since he came to power, he acts like if he is above the law.

Do you think that the Muslim Brotherhood has learned from the mistakes of Mubarak?

In my opinion, they have learned nothing. They lose every morning a little more sympathy from Egyptians. If you look at the results of the referendum in March 2011, it shows that they were very popular and the street listened to what they want, whereas referendum in December 2012, with all the fraud they organized, almost 40% of Egyptians said no to their ideas.
What's great is to see the Egyptians, after ten months, understand the difference between the Islamists and Islam, I thought it would take longer.

Is Egypt being Islamized?

Impossible. Egypt is a country with 7000 years of history based on tolerance that Islamists can not erase. In addition, Egypt is a civil state since the nineteenth century.

How do you see the role and attitude of the military towards what happens?

It is very difficult to understand the position of the army. It is necessary to distinguish between the army, which is loyal to the people, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has surely reached agreements with the Muslim Brotherhood to enable them to gain power.
Is that the army can make a coup? This is the big question. If this is the case, it would be a disaster because it would mean the failure of the revolution.

YacoubianYou were among the founders of the party al-Dostour, are you still an active member?

It's very complicated. I am a writer and I want to be free to express myself. I refuse to be a member of any political party and I refuse to have a post in any government. My role in the party is to help leaders to establish popularity in the Egyptian street. So we can say that I give advice and when the party will be strong, I will leave permanently.

Al-Dostour says guarantor of the revolution and the civil state but is criticized for its alliance with the politicians of the former regime. How can he win the confidence of the revolutionaries?

I totally understand that criticism, but we must clarify two points: Amr Moussa, the former head of the Arab League and former foreign minister at the time of Mubarak, has never been corrupted. Second, the current struggle is not between revolutionary and anti-revolutionary. It is a battle between Egypt and the Islamists with frontline Muslim Brotherhood. Our fight now is to defend ourselves, defend the revolution and defend the country.

Do the Muslim brothers have plans to "liquidate" their opponents?

I do not know, but I can say that personally, I received two death threats since Morsi was elected president. I think they will not do it now, it would be too big. But in the long term perhaps.

How do you see the new constitution?

Horrible. The Muslim Brotherhood took over the constitution. They choose the committee that wrote it. And then they defrauded the referendum on the adoption of the constitution. This constitution is absolutely not viable because it reflects only the thought of a single political movement in Egypt.

What do you think of the last cabinet reshuffle? Is it for the future of Egypt?

The reshuffle proves that the Muslim Brotherhood follow the same steps that Mubarak took to calm the people when he changed heads but not politics. The manner in which the Muslim Brotherhood see things reminds me of Stockholm syndrome when it begins to idealize his torturer.

How do you see the next parliamentary elections?

Muslim Brothers know that they are much less popular than before. For this, I think they will defraud parliament elections. But the Egyptians will never accept lies anymore.

How do you see the future of the Arab Spring with the rise of Islamists?

It is normal that the Islamists are on the front of the stage. They were oppressed. peoples wanted to give them the chance. In addition, they were the only organized force after the fall of regimes. Over time, people discover that Islamists use Islam as camouflage to make political interests.
I'm sure that the Islamists will lose at the medium term. And I'm sure that the end of political Islam, financed by oil money, will start in Cairo.

What would you advise young people to succeed in their revolution?

My only advice is to not compromise. We need that young people continue to put pressure on the politicians to realize their ambitions. Since 25 January 2011, all the right decisions were taken in Egypt thanks to pressure from the youth in street.

This article was written for the french magazine "Courrier de l'Atlas"