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The game no one wins

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Granting yourself this level of power is so in the essence of fascism

Mahmoud (Sandmonkey) Salem

As the country continues to be horrified over the events of the past few days, and braces itself for the “epic  showdown” that is supposed to take place on Tuesday, I find myself, as always, in awe of this country and what happens in it.

The nature and the rapid pace of developments that took place over the past few days tells me that this country and revolution will continue to surprise me for a long while to come. I have spent the past year and a half studying other revolutions and their history, and let me assure you, what’s happening here has not happened in the history of any revolution before. Egyptians, you are still pioneers; pat yourselves on the back.

We have a president who, after some praise from Obama over resolving this week’s episode of the Gaza crisis, decided that he will grant himself the power to do anything he wants in the land, and then the consequences. The consequences are what’s new:

1) Clashes over the decision erupt all over Egypt, and not just Cairo as usual

2) His presidential team almost all quit, to the point that people joke that his wife will quit next

3) His Islamist party’s branches get attacked and raided all over, with people finding election ballots, utilities receipts with a special party discount, and on more than one occasion female lingerie items

4) His newly appointed prosecutor general, and the head of the Shura Council- who is not only a member in the president’s party, but also his relative and in-law –both coming out against his decree,

5) Our Ministry of Interior, which has for decades persecuted and killed Islamists, is now killing for them

6) Our Constituent Assembly has now less than 50 out of the 100 people that are supposed to work on the new constitution in and it’s still hasn’t be resolved legally

7) The secular side has almost unified its front, to have the same people (leftists, anarchists figures and 6th of April) who promoted electing  Morsy for president,  are still trying to divide it, as if an Islamist dictatorship will somehow differentiate between Shafiqistas, Independents or Revolutionaries when it comes to oppression or as if you don’t need every single able body in this fight.

What people don’t get about the declaration is this: it literally empowers the president to do anything he damn pleases. It’s not simply about shaping the government institutions to his whimsy, but will also move to the private sector and syndicates, the latter for which he issued a new syndicates law yesterday that will remove all the elected heads of the syndicates and have him appoint them.

Morsy can now strip people of their citizenships or hand it out to others, try them in “special courts” for vague charges, shut down private enterprises or media outlets or seize them, reshape our judiciary branches and their roles singlehandedly, and even change your last name, and no one will be able to legally question or stop his decision.

Granting yourself this level of power is so in the essence of fascism that president Morsy’s new nickname is Morsilini.  It’s as if he is stating that while the old regime was autocratic, dictatorial and secular, thankfully the revolution happened and we are no longer secular.

Even the old regime couldn’t just do what Morsy is doing, because it always had to play the part of being a state. When Mubarak wanted to change the constitution for his liking, new amendments had to be discussed in parliament, and then a referendum had to be had over them. Even the SCAF had to have a referendum in order to grant themselves such powers. Morsy didn’t even do that and now we are experiencing street warfare all over the country. And the sad part is, it didn’t have to be this way.

Morsy did not have to go this route this quickly, but he did, which is why his reign, even if he shuts down the current uprising, will not last, and if the Islamists are removed from power, chances are that they will never be voted in again, if there wasn’t excessive violence and justified oppression against them from now on. We are now playing a game where there is no winning, only degrees of losing, and that’s not even the real problem.

If you want to know what is, imagine Egypt as a woman who was married for a long time, and her husband cheated on her, lied to her and abused her throughout the relationship. She finally managed to get rid of her husband, only to have her father insist that she gets remarried again ASAP, without going into the necessary therapy.

A whole bunch of ill-suited individuals, who fit her father’s insane conditions, propose to her, and when there were two of them left, people on each side pressured her to choose one over the other, not because their choice was good, but because they hated the other guy with a passion. She finally marries one who promises her the world, and the right to divorce him if he betrays her trust, and then within a few months, while she is still traumatised and paranoid, he starts exhibiting similar behavior to her first husband.

hen she confronts him, he assures her that it’s all in her head, until one day she catches him erasing and changing clauses in their marriage contract. When she accuses him of treachery and demands a divorce, he informs her that they are married and whatever god unities, no man can separate, and then places a gun on the table, threateningly.

She will naturally fight it, he might kill her, but she will most likely get rid of him first. The problem, the question, then becomes, how do you convince this woman to get remarried ever again?

About the author

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. His writings could be found at www.sandmonkey.org and follow him @sandmonkey on Twitter

  • Nermeen Negm

    Why oh why… the analogy with women. Egypt in moments of weakness and defeat must always always be portrayed as a woman.


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