Sunday, 20 May 2012

Is Amr Moussa "folool" ?

The word "folool" has been bandied about for the better part of the last fourteen months and has served as a ketch all for a variety of sinners. Those who served under Mubarak, those who aided and abetted in the corruption of Egypt (financially, politically and even morally), those who benefited financially from their posts in Mubarak's regime, those who have a Master-Slave view of the relation between state and public etc..etc...

But the definition of the term has also been challenged. "Folool" to some minds simply means someone who wants the security and economic stability of  pre-revolution days to return at any cost, or alternatively somebody who given the choice between fascist Mubarak and fascist Islamists prefers Mubarak, or even someone who's just had enough of this revolution that promised so much and has, so far at least, delivered near nothing at all.

To many of us who believe in the revolution, electing a "folool" (by just about any definition) is simply unacceptable.

Over two separate coffees, one a few days, the other a week ago, a young intelligent and highly liberal friend and an older, equally intelligent and slightly less liberal friend said to me, quoting each other almost verbatim "I know Mousa may be the best technical choice, but I just can't bring myself to vote for him." They both had the same pained look on their face.

Upon probing I discovered that "best technical choice" meant the one with the most direct experience for the job, most recognizable internationally and most likely to lure back the investors and the tourists. So why not vote for him? I asked and both, again as if reading from the same script, literally word for word responded "I just can't, it wouldn't be right". I am assuming based on the rest of both conversations that they mean because of his long old regime ties.

Both my friends believe the revolution was a good thing. Neither wants Mubarak's regime and modus operandi back.

So what gives? Is Moussa "folool" or not?

The only smart thing must be to first offer my own personal definition of folool:

It is someone who satisfies three or more of the following conditions:
  1. Served for a lengthy period with Hosny Mubarak in a very senior capacity 
  2. Visibly approved of Mubarak's methods of running the country
  3. Gained financially from and/or contributed to the corruption prevalent during Mubarak's rule
  4. Has a proven view of the relation between government and people which is authoritarian, policing and superior
  5. Has an elitist, arrogant view of the majority of Egyptian people, sees them as ignorant and/or unintelligent, undeserving/incapable of entry into KG1 of democracy school
  6. Believes it was possible to reform Mubarak's regime and that revolution was not inevitable and/or necessary
  7. Contributed directly to the corruption of political life in Egypt and would again
  8. Contributed directly to the demeaning of Egypt's regional/international status and would again
I realise several of these defining characteristics are open to debate, and so they should be (especially in post-revolution Egypt). I also realise that some of the criteria are not conclusive enough. How does one for example confirm Moussa's views on the relationship between the government and people of Egypt? Well, one watches, one listens and one reviews history and then, one decides.

So here it is:

  1. YES (Mousa is Mubarak's longest serving foreign minister with ten years worth of tenure)
  2. YES (Mousa is on record saying "I know how Mubarak manages the country, I would vote for him if he runs for president")
  3. NO. Not so much as an accusation which is near miraculous given the amount of accusations chasing so many of Mubarak's previous cabinet members.
  4. NO. Actually arguable, he's pretty arrogant, but no evidence I have seen confirms that he would continue in this vein of "government as baton-wielding police force". Let's give the man the benefit of the doubt on this one.
  5. NO. Again, arguable, but nothing apart from the wiggling of the forefinger to prove this. Again, benefit of the doubt.
  6. YES. Refer to 2 above.
  7. YES and NO. Is being a senior member of the regime evidence of involvement? I'll leave it to you.
  8. OH YEAH! Moussa, like his ex-boss, is an adherent to the school of thought which basically says "Grovel to the Americans, their Israeli proxies and the Gulf Arabs, for they hold the purse-strings and more".
Final verdict: Moussa is folool, not as blatantly as say Ahmed Shafik or Safwat Sherif, but quite clearly folool. 

He's out for me.


  1. I mostly agree with the above analysis. I would however dare to look at it from a different perspective. Felool is a state of mind and ethics. You see most Egyptians were subjected to the old regimes practices one way or another. Some however tolerated it whilst loathing it, others spoke out during its zenith and then many just ducked and went on with their lives but a few contributed to it and or were ethically ruined by its practices. Those who took part are mostly corrupted ethically and mentally, they are INCAPABLE of change to better despite their best intention if even that!

  2. De-Baathification. Look what it did to Iraq. Everyone now admits it was wrong except the criminal warlords in power.

    1. What's the lesson from Iraq?

    2. What's the lesson from Iraq?

    3. What's the lesson from Iraq?

    4. What's the lesson from Iraq?

  3. First of all, I love the article and the idea of setting a criteria. However, I disagree on the questions and the end conclusion.

    My definition of feloul is someone who:
    1. Was against the revolution when it started
    2. Has worked against Jan25 after it happened
    3. Does not believe in the demands of the revolution

    Basically someone who disagrees with the revolution in the "way" it happened AND its "objectives" (both conditions). Because there are still people who believe in the demands of Jan25 but disagree with the process and/or the people who are leading.

    For instance, there are many people who have not been part of the regime per se but I would still consider them feloul as they were against the revolution from the beginning until now. Such people are more feloul in my opinion than many who were part of the regime but still believed that the demands of Jan25 are legitimate, even if they did not agree with how it happened.

    By that token, I do not consider Amr Moussa to be feloul the same way Gamal Mubarak or Omar Suleiman are. Amr Moussa did benefit from the revolution, he didn't work against it (even if he didn't work for it) and he is not against its objectives. As a matter of fact, his program is the most solid program of all candidates and it captures all the values of the revolution (even if you don't like him as a character).

    Moreover, corruption in Mubarak's time took a completely new turn with the end of the 1990's, when Adly became Minister of Interior and with the start of the rise of Gamal Mubarak. Moussa took off (whether willingly or not) when it was still starting. Had he remained in the cabinet he might or might not have been part of the corruption. But from what I've seen so far, he's not benefited financially from the regime.

    Finally, based on my above criteria, El Ikhwan are - in my opinion - feloul because they do not believe in the values of the revolution, have worked against them, even if they were part of it when it happened. But they were obviously there for completely different reasons. I think they're more damaging to the revolution than someone like Moussa.