cairo Dr. Hazem Hosny, a prominent Egyptian academic and politician, has died at the age of 73. He was a professor of pure mathematics and statistics at Cairo University and a spokesperson for the electoral campaign of Lieutenant General Sami Anan when he ran in the 2018 Egyptian presidential elections. ,
This interview – which was not published – was conducted in his office at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University before his arrest (September 2019). We are publishing some of it.
Following is the text of the interview:
In the social development that has taken place in the last ten years, something like a revolution has taken place in the values of the society. What is your analysis on these incidents? Is it constant or is it temporary and ends?
I am not saying that something always remains constant, but that everything changes according to social development. Morality and values are not something abstract that arises out of nothing, rather they are influenced by social, economic, political, and cultural changes.
During the past ten years, we have had the wave of the Internet and openness to the world, and internal and external changes have cast their shadow on us, as everyone interacts with each other regardless of their culture.
The economic and political pressures of the past period brought out the worst in Egyptians, just as the days of revolution brought out the best in them. The drastic economic changes to which the society was exposed changed many values and principles. Became the standard of sovereignty in society and then the dollar became the master.
These economic changes gave sovereignty to the interests that control the language of the market and society, while also leading to a weakening of authority in protecting rights, hence becoming a power parallel to the authority of the state, through which a group could overcome Stealing rights, or usurping the rights of others without any restraint from authority. There is no objection to the law.
All this resulted in the emergence of a new language in behavior among the people, which was earlier frowned upon, but which imposed its presence by force or we can say by “intimidation” of force and the larger part of the society became silent about it. When they heard it, even though they actually rejected it.
The low level of education had a catastrophic impact on the values of our society. With this low level, many ideals and values were lost, such as the values of role models, knowledge, mistake and hard work, and they were replaced by other values that society had never known before.
The effects that followed the January 2011 revolution were huge and dangerous, and many mistakes were made from the beginning as a youth revolution. I believe that the way the transitional stage was managed was very poor and the idea of people beating each other up was used, and the help of mercenary groups who came to the stage with low culture was used. Dealing with young people is extremely important, and unfortunately this has created a kind of moral imbalance on the streets of Egypt.
But is there hope for the youth to become healthy again and assume leadership again?
I believe that with the passage of time, some confidence will return to these youth through the accumulation of experiences that will enable them to correct course, and society will gradually regain its health, but unfortunately The general environment is not conducive for this. And is guided by the idea of putting up obstacles so that society cannot recover naturally.
There are people who try to impose certain patterns of thinking that are rejected by most young people and people because of their lack of self-confidence, and thus a situation of general hatred among everyone.
Young people represent the largest segment, they also have great positives and disappointments. Due to religious institutions, political institutions and lack of faith in the civilization and cultural heritage of the Egyptian state, all of these unfortunately hinder its progress, and the youth are trying to balance themselves, and we hope that they Will find a way. Navigation towards the future as quickly as possible.
How do you see the future of Egypt in the next phase?
Our view of the future varies according to our view of it, and I am very optimistic about the future of Egypt because all the negativity we are experiencing cannot continue naturally, and this No matter how long these negativities last, self-status will improve, and many elements will put pressure on this society and force it to improve itself. There are big technological changes that are in the works. Sorting out what is subjective, bringing in positive knowledge and throwing out whatever is malicious.
There are also enormous economic pressures that force society to face the truth and deal with it properly, not only through drastic measures, but also through changing policies and trends, and there are also international pressures that exert pressure on this society. Will be inserted. The weaker it becomes, the more these pressures will force it to compete against itself to become stronger.
The issue is not about “temptation”. Either you are really strong and can stop others, or you are really weak and the pressure on you will increase. I am optimistic in the long term, but in the short term we may face some problems. I quote the poet: “It was compressed, but when its rings tightened, it was released.” “I thought it wouldn't continue.”
Egypt now needs a dream and a national project. Where are we with this project? Who is motivating the state to move forward? Is he a ruler? Or did the intellectuals have any role in this which they handed over to the power?
He who proposes the national project – usually – is the conscious, inspiring political leadership, not the inspired, and every member of the people finds himself in this national project, he is not required to work for it, but within it. Have to work.
But if there is no political leadership capable of formulating this national project and motivating Egyptians to really involve themselves in this project, it will be very difficult to ask others to carry out this task.
We are faced with the crisis of an intellectual that is unable to produce a leadership capable of creating a civilizational project that serves the whole of the people, rather than a project that waits for the fruits to fall to a certain group. Rather, it is a project in which both the rich and the poor have a role to play, because the principle of falling fruit has already been proven to be a failure.
Every intellectual must have his own cultural project, and intellectuals must come down from their ivory towers to work on formulating the desired national project.
Some analysts affirm that the new international arrangements in the region are an attempt to reunite and unify the region. Is this true from your perspective? Or do we still believe in a conspiracy?
This is not the idea of any conspiracy. These countries are trying to serve their own interests even on each other's dead body. The matter depends on the strength and weakness of the other and the idea that international relations are based on morality is a very childish idea.
What happened was that the world – a hundred years after the Sykes-Picot Agreement – saw that this geopolitical structure no longer suited the times, and that Syria, Iraq and Libya remained in a certain political situation after the winners emerged. There were units. The Second World War, and these geopolitical institutions, are not compatible with the world order established after this war.
Egypt was not part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which only concerned the Fertile Crescent region, and it had nothing to do with us, and I don't believe there is any sensible country in the world that wants to divide Egypt. Because it is a geopolitical formation that defined itself for thousands of years, while Syria and Iraq did not exist before. Sykes-Picot, who created them.
Some might say that Sykes-Picot fragmented the Arab world. it is not true. In the Arab world, there was no political entity called Iraq, but rather political entities called Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra, all of which belonged to Ottoman authority. The winners in the war came and united these three regions into a new political entity. His Excellency Iraq.
I do not say that they are angels or good people. They were achieving their interests. Today, they seek to reconfigure and reshape some of the areas that were created by their colonial will. The question before us as Arabs is this: What have we done to preserve our political institutions?
I say this with full regret that we are a failed country or on the path to failure, or have shown signs of failure which has led others to attack us and change our institutions to their will. We exist in the world by the will of the conquerors. War, and I exclude Egypt because it, as a geopolitical entity, is much older than any other country in the world.