The arrival of Mahomad Morsi as President of Egypt is an unanticipated outcome of the convergence of digital technology with a long standing social movement. Reading between the lines of the reports from the mainstream western media over the past few days, it looks as if no one really wants to talk too much about a US educated engineer with a PhD leading the most radical political movement on the planet. No surprises there because no one knows what to do!
On July 1, Al Jazeera news carried reports suggesting that this would be a pretty normal presidency, given Mori's commitment to democracy. Al Jazeera also carried live and in full on TV the Egyptian presidential inauguration and related speeches. Long sections of sung sections of the Koran set the meaning of this event far away from US Capitol prayers by chaplains, or the fundamentalist Christian crazies who populate western democratic politics almost everywhere.
The point is that this is a major story with no end point. Plus, no country or government can invade to stop this shift.
Al Jazeera noted - actually one of their commentators noted - that Israel had not been able to stop the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. That too is a major shift. Israel as the bully of the Middle East, backed up by the US, is increasingly friendless and lacking influence. It's credibility is in tatters, with internal political opposition to its beligerant approach to the region gaining traction. Force will not resolve Israel's position in the region or the world, but some semblance of common sense diplomacy might.
Israel's will be forced to rethink it place against the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why?
The fact is that the brotherhood is the parent of Hamas. This is the big picture. Now in two cases - the West Bank of Palestine and Egypt - political parties closely associated with Islamic social movements have been elected to government. While Israel was able to literally corral Hamas on the West Bank it cannot do the same thing to Egypt.
Everyone will need to be prepared to understand what this means. In terms of my theory of proletarianization, it may mean that non-western styles of legislation, law and policy will come into play to become part of the flow of information. This will be as difficult to comprehend, just like any shift away from established patterns of knowledge.
If it involves a reworking of the Taliban's feudalism, the Internet will offer a means for exposing that backwardness for what it is. It may be impossible to comprehend: what can be done? There will be major shifts in how all manner of issues are addressed - listening to Arabic language and long sections of the Koran in a semi-theocratic copnvention removes any separation between religion and the state. That aspect of change will for example, take a lot of getting used to.
This will be transgressive knowledge.
The potential linkage between Egypt, Hamas in the West Bank and the rising tide of Islamists in Africa especially will be quick and clear. This will be due to the exhaustion of the dislocated and abandoned, the subaltern and the abject. The hopeless cases of contemporary life have nowhere else to go - unless you buy into the endless and increasingly shrill claims (some people call this Public Relations) by charities and Non Government Organizations to solve the problems of the oppressed... No wonder millions voted for the Muslim Brotherhood, which as I understand it, have some of the best social and development programs in the region. This was the same reason Hamas was elected in the West Bank.
These programs running alongside well conducted political campaigns will be mobilized by the Internet and related resources. The US Government will not be able to limit the circulation of the information from a duly elected government such as that in Egypt. The big news is that Egypt has a Muslim Brotherhood President which changes everything.