Yasmine Ahmed, Egypt Independent, goes south and digs deep to explain the stranglehold the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis have over the poor, illiterate and rural Egypt. The silver lining is that the Islamists, it seems, win election not because the people vote for “Islam is the Solution” but due to the Islamists' (a) web of providing services to compensate for the government, central and local, failure to provide services and (b) presence in the villages unlike the “secular” politicians that are active on social media and Cairo.
The whole article is worth reading and I found it difficult to select an excerpt as it is filled with unexpected and enlightening details (did you know villagers in Fayoum consider the Salafis to be more religiously flexible and lenient than the Brotherhood?). An excerpt from Ahmed’s article below:
Beside the NGO work, Ikhwani leaders in the village often come up with magical solutions to solve problems that the state fails to address through utilizing the resources available through the intricate web of Ikhwani followers in the village and elsewhere, besides using their official positions in the state to process paperwork. For example, they have introduced tap water to the village’s preparatory school, and have provided after school lessons to students who fail to read and write, even after several years of formal schooling. Coming up with solutions is a plus for party leaders, yet puts them under suspicion. Many of my research participants became quite aware that the country is resourceful, so what they actually want is a fair distribution of resources, rather than unsustainable solutions offered by the Ikhwan leaders, in this case the elites of the village, when and if they want.Image: Kat Tales