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Editor’s letter: Egypt’s political lag

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Morsy with his behaviour and political tactics, is not very different from almost all other political groups in Egypt

Maher Hamoud

When President Morsy started his term in June, there was an open invitation for him to take over his powers and meet the revolution’s demands. People were almost begging for it. It was a question of whether Morsy would side with the people, seek power and support from them, or play the game with the Brotherhood rules that are not very different from Mubarak’s. Unfortunately, he did not have enough courage to believe in the first option back then.

Morsy with his behaviour and political tactics, is not very different from almost all other political groups in Egypt. They are always late and suffering from some lag.

Remember Mubarak’s second emotional speech during the first eighteen days of the revolution? Remember how moving and how surprising it was to hear the dictator “responding” to the people’s demands? Let us imagine if it was his first! I think he could have remained in power until now. Luckily for us, he was too late.

Another example is the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Among many examples of lagging thinking and responsiveness, they did not put Mubarak and his gang on trial as a first move to gain people’s trust. Several large marches were needed to create the pressure needed to push for such an obvious revolutionary demand.

Again, by the time they brought Mubarak back his resort in Sharm El Sheikh it was too late to fix the mistrust that had sprung up between the military and the people. Unfortunately for them too, they lost a historical chance of being trusted with the revolution, and will likely be put on trial themselves someday for crimes committed during their 15-month rule.

Islamists, including Salafis at the one end of their spectrum, took over the political scene in coordination with SCAF starting with the March 2011 constitutional declaration. They greedily wanted to immediately enforce their radical political views over the people and the state’s institutions. They dominated the parliament in a show that can be best described as a pathetic black comedy circus. They lost the support of SCAF, they lost the parliament, they definitely lost people’s trust and soon they will lose their Constituent Assembly and the Shura Council.

Lately they are singing democracy and working day and night to fix their image, but again it is too late. They have actually also lost a historical moment that could have seen them dominate the political scene for at least the next few decades, if they had patiently and gradually introduced their changes to the system. Today, it might need another decade for them to regain the people’s trust.

The “revolutionary figures” are equally suffering from the same political lag. The past few days of their unity against Morsy’s constitutional declaration claiming absolute powers for himself represent nothing but a delay in a move that should have been made in March 2011.

Over the past twenty months they caused significant damage to people’s faith in real change following a revolution that cost thousands of lives and at some desperate moments made it seemed to be for nothing. Their fragmentation was totally distracting to the revolution’s path and destructive to people’s hopes.

Now, thanks to Morsy’s lag of an authoritarian decision that might have been totally supported five months ago, people are back in the streets across the country and the “revolutionary figures” seem to be united against practices inherited from Mubarak’s political culture.

However, they should be aware that they could face a much larger set-back in public trust and the achieving revolutionary demands if they go back to their fragmented behaviour and disregard that at this moment of glory they are partially supported by a corrupt judiciary and Mubarak’s remnants who were initially revolutionary targets. The regime still needs to be cleansed of such “partners”. Hopefully, they take some anti-lag pill, do their job at least for once and save us from the hassle, as the people are really fed up.

About the author

Maher Hamoud

Maher Hamoud

Former Editor-in-Chief

Former Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News Egypt, and currently Media Politics Analyst. He can be followed on Twitter @MaherHamoud1, his public page on Facebook, or email: [email protected]

  • Nahla S

    Agree on the “lag” assessment. But I think it is not confined to the political arena, although it is at its most dangerous/stupid there. I think it is something inherent in our daily conduct. Egyptians, (and I hate to generalize, but for the sake of my argument I must), tend to literally drag their feet, instead of think on their feet. Most of them feel the need to go through several channels before making a decision or executing a task. Like when you complain to a waiter, most of the time, no, make that every time you will hear an endless barrage of excuses and justifications before he calls his manager to make a final judgement call on the situation. And by the time that happens, your sick of the whole thing and u just want to overturn the restaurant table. We’re not initiative-takers by nature, (again, I hate to make this grand claim, but I think you know where I’m coming from). The other day at a large chain supermarket the cash-register girl asked me if there was something I was looking for that I didn’t find, I said yes and started listing them, she stood there so bored and indifferent, and after I listed about 5 items, she sloooowly dragged her feet, turned around, reached for a pen and paper and asked me to repeat so she can write the items down. Talk about a lag! I became so frustrated that I told her forget it!
    We’re just not doers! I think the bureaucratic system is a testament to the “lag” as well!

  • Najlaa AbdElBary

    Excellent assessment indeed it seems like all forces are one step late where they need to be two steps ahead, their being reactive where they ought to be proactive will be reflected in a hell of a bill to pay!


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