By Abdel Latif El-Menawy
May 15, 2013
Have the features of the society around us changed? Have we found out that a person we thought we knew turned out to be different than what we thought he/ she is? Has a wife awakened one day to realize that the father of her children is not the man she's known for years? There are several questions similar to those, and I think the answer to most of them is "yes," ever since we have discovered that there is another side to the life we've lived and to the people we've known.
This discovery has become deeply-rooted after the Muslim Brotherhood took control over the general scene in Egypt and after it began to emerge as a ruling power.
We suddenly realized that many people around us are either members of the party or sympathizers with it. Some of these people have also discovered that they possessed deep concealed emotions and connections towards the Brotherhood and that the former regime's cruelty has prevented them from expressing them. This reached the extent that some claimed that their real name is similar to that of one of the Brotherhood's historical leaders but that they've hidden this truth to avoid persecution by the former regime.
These models express the so-called “sleeper cells.” But at this point, we must distinguish between two models. The first model is that of people whom we discovered they are in fact part of the organization but never revealed this truth until the organization came into power. So after the latter became a reality, they abided by the orders made to them and revealed their true stances. The expression "sleeper cells" with its political and organizational context applies to this model. The second model is that of the hypocrite who alleges that he discovered within him sleeper cells that belong to the Brotherhood and that he himself has awakened them! This model does not concern us in today's speech.
We have heard a lot of the term "sleeper cells." What is meant by it are those people who live in their societies without revealing the truth of their belonging to a group or organization or intelligence apparatus or another country. Ever since the Brotherhood took over governance in Egypt, we began to discover that throughout several years, these people have immensely infiltrated state institutions and the society's fabric. This applies to the current common saying in Egypt "and there is not a single surprise!"
Just like they have made us lose or almost made us lose the ability to dream, it seems that they are also making us lose the ability to be surprised. Our eyebrows do not even rise in surprise when we discover a new sleeper cell awakening after the other. I do not know to what extent these people have infiltrated us and possessed members that they direct anytime they decide.
Although the Brotherhood exited its secret underground operations, the organization's secret mentality remains. It still lives within it. The morals of the "prohibited" still govern it. Therefore, it is no surprise that it still plants "sleeper cells" in state institutions in order achieve the aim of controlling the latter and eventually achieve "empowerment". It is the "empowerment" scheme as stated by the documents of the Salsabil issue written by one of their leaders. The latter states that the Brotherhood's infiltration of efficient state apparatuses must be the basis in which the Brotherhood begins the "conquest of Egypt."
The Brotherhood began its scheme of planting sleeper cells in vital state institutions at the beginning of the 90s upon the recommendations of Mustafa Mashhur, the brotherhood's fifth general guide. These sleeper cells are saturated in all executive posts within the state. People in these posts are prohibited from revealing their identities because their role is represented in supporting the organization indirectly.
Some confirm that they have confirmed information regarding the Brotherhood's plan to plant sleeper cells in the Ministry of Interior by assigning 20,000 lawyers in the civil vacant posts at the ministry in order for the brotherhood to control the police apparatus. Al-Azhar too is under threat that the Brotherhood's clerics may control this ancient religious institution. Crises occurring within Al-Azhar are not isolated from sleeper cells. Toppling its imam is a Brotherhood demand that will not be achieved without causing a crisis.
Sometimes, things seem very complicated and a solution for them seems far from achieving. Yet all we can do is keep going.
Abdel Latif El-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world.