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Contesting Egypt and de-contextualising narratives

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Watch western TV news features on Egypt; you will find an almost identical discourse that de-contextualises current events. It always emphasises President Morsy’s declaration that gave him unmatched powers and fomented outrage, and that’s it.

Morsy’s constitutional declaration was obviously met with some reservations from his closest people, which include his deputy, assistants, consultants and Al-Nour Party. However dominant western media discourse always fails to mention that the constitutional declaration becomes obsolete following the referendum on the constitution.

The constitutional court that dissolved the Egyptian parliament was intending to do the same with the Shura council and the Constituent Assembly, and possibly also reject Morsy’s dismissal of SCAF generals Tantawi and Annan that took Egypt out of military rule. It is worth mentioning that the constitutional court is a crony of the old regime and that 19 judges used to collectively earn EGP10 million a month. Under SCAF, their salaries were propped up reaching EGP70 million.

The constitutional court was previously threatening to abolish parliament, and prior to the constitutional declaration was going to do the same for the rest of the elected bodies in Egypt.

This would only have prolonged the transition period and prolonged pro-Mubarak influence, as well as their escape from accountability. The declaration came as a serious alarm call as it sacked the pro-Mubarak prosecutor general – who was seen as the main source of hindering justice. His dismissal was a revolutionary demand from the very beginning.

Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood have been the scapegoats in all the current turmoil in Egypt. True, some of their past moves were not wise and at times highly provocative yet to lump all their opposition as “revolutionaries” is erroneous. First of all, mobilisation that outnumbers the anti-Morsy protests, including the late protest around Cairo University. Secondly pro-Mubarak cronies have collaborated with Morsy’s adversaries as their corruption and crimes are overlooked.

Those who were killing revolutionaries during early 2011 are today protesting with Morsy’s adversaries. Furthermore, and with irony; pro-Morsy protesters have been killed in the past few days, at least six of them, yet the media brushes this aside, failing to show their funerals or tell the stories of these men who left behind widows and orphans. Yet those who killed them are still labelled as revolutionaries and pro-democracy protestors.

Moreover the number of people injured as a result of protecting the Presidential Palace is below a thousand, of which a couple of hundred have sustained gunshot wounds. Subhi Saleh a prominent brotherhood parliamentarian was severely beaten by a mob and thrown on a railway while heading home. Locals quickly snatched Saleh before he was cut to pieces by an onrushing train. The mob followed the locals and tried to stop Saleh from getting to hospital.

These are all stories that would have made headlines in the west had the victims been anti-Morsy.

To explain the current crises exclusively as revolution versus anti revolution is flawed. It is largely a political crisis that has taken Machiavellian turns. The pro-Mubaraks and those who have an interest in keeping the old ways intact, to maintain their political and economic influence, have obviously chosen Morsy’s demise. Similarly those who know the ballot will not empower them have also chosen to prolong the transition period in hope that they will use terrorism to have a greater say in the political arena of Egypt.

Egyptians have voiced their opinions at the ballot boxes resulting in Morsy in the presidency and “Islamists” in majority, this is democratic legitimacy. Egyptians have to be respected, and going to the ballot box is the only way to ensure a peaceful transition. The current opponents of Morsy are not satisfied with the results and have provoked protests only to be met with bigger protests.

The opposition simply lacks legitimacy and is only invoking western sympathy through ideological similarities in liberalism, secularism and channels of communication that are able to articulate its interests, or common interests that kept Mubarak supported and legitimised by the US and the “international community” for decades, as Egyptians were blatantly being tortured, killed, robbed, and their elections being rigged.

Obviously Morsy does not promote secularism or an American world view of the region. Rather Morsy promotes an independent foreign policy which did not go unnoticed with recent Egyptian diplomacy dealing with Zionist aggression against the Gaza strip.

What is happening in Egypt is quite natural. As structural change occurs, resistance will be in response. Similarly those with little say in politics may justify any means for greater influence.

About the author

Mustafa Salama

Mustafa Salama

Mustafa Salama is a Political Researcher and a Freelance Journalist. He has an extensive academic background on Islamist movements and Middle East Affairs. Salama holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Political Science from the American University in Cairo.

  • winny

    Well written, however , biased. I personally could never support a hardline group of men that have no respect for the rights of women. I frankly am shocked that there can be any women that would consider support ing them . The west are watching with others to make sure that all of the Egyptian people are fully represented during this period of transition, and not railroaded into a regime whereby their freedoms beliefs and whole way of life. are threatened. We here in the west believe that women are equal to men, and that children are to be cherished and their rights are important too.

    !

    • John Saudino

      Dear Mr. Salama,

      Of course you have a point when you mention that at the moment a majority of Egyptians support Mr. Morsy. He did win a NARROW majority in a run off election with a former Mubarak man. But is that the choice. Mubarak dictatorship or Clerical Fascist Islamic dictatorship?

      You are dead wrong when you say that the opposition is not legitimate. Legitimacy and democracy itself are FAR FAR more than just majority rule. A 51% majority of cannibals does not have the right to eat the other 49%. No I am NOT saying that Morsys backers are cannibals, before you misinterpret me, what I am pointing out in this extreme example is the fact that without individual rights democracy is nothing but mob rule.

      The current draft constitution has a lot of good things in it, but it is fatally flawed in that while it espouses fundamental rights its leaves also declares an Islamic Republic. You have seen what that has lead to in Iran. Is that what you want..another Iran a brutal corrupt dictatorship…far far worse than Mubarak?

      When MEN use God to form a government based on religion it is because they WANT TO MAKE THEMSELVES GODS!!! And rule men here on earth as unquestionable brutal fascist dictators.

      That is exactly what article 2,4, 31 and 44 of that constitution are designed to do! Have a look at it. Men will make themselves Gods and will slaughter you!

      Of course Egypt must have its own voice and must work for justice in Palestine and for social justice at home, but you certainly do not need Ayatollah Morsi to lord over you in order to do that.

      Religion is a mater of PERSONAL CHOICE not state law. This is a universal fact…wherever this principle is ignored oppression, stagnation, and barbarism are the consequences…

  • Mrmr

    This all seems to reiterate the brotherhood web of lies.

  • John Saudino

    Dear Mr. Salama,

    Of course you have a point when you mention that at the moment a majority of Egyptians support Mr. Morsy. He did win a NARROW majority in a run off election with a former Mubarak man. But is that the choice. Mubarak dictatorship or Clerical Fascist Islamic dictatorship?

    You are dead wrong when you say that the opposition is not legitimate. Legitimacy and democracy itself are FAR FAR more than just majority rule. A 51% majority of cannibals does not have the right to eat the other 49%. No I am NOT saying that Morsys backers are cannibals, before you misinterpret me, what I am pointing out in this extreme example is the fact that without individual rights democracy is nothing but mob rule.

    The current draft constitution has a lot of good things in it, but it is fatally flawed in that while it espouses fundamental rights its leaves also declares an Islamic Republic. You have seen what that has lead to in Iran. Is that what you want..another Iran a brutal corrupt dictatorship…far far worse than Mubarak?

    When MEN use God to form a government based on religion it is because they WANT TO MAKE THEMSELVES GODS!!! And rule men here on earth as unquestionable brutal fascist dictators.

    That is exactly what article 2,4, 31 and 44 of that constitution are designed to do! Have a look at it. Men will make themselves Gods and will slaughter you!

    Of course Egypt must have its own voice and must work for justice in Palestine and for social justice at home, but you certainly do not need Ayatollah Morsi to lord over you in order to do that.

    Religion is a mater of PERSONAL CHOICE not state law. This is a universal fact…wherever this principle is ignored oppression, stagnation, and barbarism are the consequences.

  • RJD

    Every dictator claims “exceptionalism”. Hitler was elected, barely, in 1932 and seized power by decree in 1933. The countries change, the game remains the same. Real democrats don’t fear the people or the next election. True democracy is not about taking power after winning a election, it is about relinquishing power after losing one. The Islamists don’t plan to ever let there be a loss. That is the false claim behind being “democrats”. Can you image Hamas ever taking a defeat at the ballot box? Better endless war than losing power.

  • neil

    what on earth is this newspaper doing publishing fascist propaganda?
    they already have state-controlled papers to do that


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