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Short takes

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Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

1

Egyptian revolutionaries suffer from the silly habit of always getting sucked into fighting in side-battles, and the latest batch of laws coming out of the Shura Council are a prime example. Whether the new NGO law, the new protest law, or the new judiciary law, the different groups are each fighting to apply pressure to stop or oppose the law, instead of focusing on the real battle, which is the Shura Council itself and how it can’t legitimately issue such laws, even if the new constitution gives it the authority to. Why? Two reasons: 1) When it was first elected, it was a consultative body that had no legislative powers, which were later given to it by virtue of the new constitution. That’s the exact same as giving an advisory committee the power to draft laws. 2) Even in the face of its new constitutional role, the Shura Council’s current legislative powers are illegitimate, since it was voted into power by no more than 12 % of the voting population, thus violating the founding principle of creating legislative bodies in the first place: Legislative bodies’ laws have legitimacy because they are elected by the majority of the population, and therefore the laws are said to be representative of the population. This one was only elected by 12 %, and is ipso facto a clear case of a minority legislating for the majority, which deprives its laws of legitimacy. So, please stop fighting side-battles, and focus on shutting down the source itself- and quickly; it’s very hard to reverse the effects of a bad law.

2

Two days ago President Morsi went to Russia in a historic visit that apparently was not official, and that warranted no presence of high-ranking Russian government officials awaiting him at the airport. The reason? He wanted to beg Russian leader Valdimir Putin for $2bn and wheat. Never mind that Putin turned him down (which the MB spin doctors tried helplessly to spin as a great successful foreign policy initiative), let’s analyse this for a second: Our Islamist president -who supports the Syrian revolution -went to Putin- who hates Islamists and supports Bashar- for money and wheat to sustain his regime? And then acts surprised when Putin says no and comes back and lies about it? Do his advisors understand that the Cold War is over, and that going to Russia for money will not force the US into giving you money? Does anyone in this administration understand foreign policy at all?

3

Last Friday we celebrated our newly founded Friday tradition of having random protesters and MB protesters clash for the day by having yet another clash, albeit slightly different than all the previous ones. The MB- who is in power- sent its protesters to protest against the Judiciary to force the Shura Council-which is MB dominated- to issue a law that would “cleanse” the Judiciary from pesky independent judges. Never mind that those who are in power are demonstrating to force themselves to issue a self-serving law for a second, did anyone pay attention to the numbers? The one-million man protest the MB called for ended up being attended by 5,000 MB protesters only, while the anti-MB crowd was in the mere hundreds. We are supposedly inching towards a civil war (that’s what everyone is saying), but apparently neither side can bring out the numbers to fight it. How interesting is that?

4

In case anyone is keeping track, our foreign debt is rapidly increasing. At the beginning of the revolution it was $32bn, and now it’s $42bn if we add in the new Qatari loans. If Egypt reaches an agreement with the IMF- which thankfully looks unlikely now- it is supposed to get $5bn in loans, which will further unlock another $ 15bn in loans as well from various entities. This means that we face the very real possibility of our external debt reaching $62bn by 2014, almost doubling it, without any clear plan to pay it off or boost the economy. And yet not a single political party has managed to turn this into a political issue. Egyptian opposition, here is a hint: gather some money and get us one of those debt-counting clocks that they have in NYC, and add next to it the real exchange rate. You won’t even need to make an argument against the debt; it will be made for you.

5

Back in January I wrote an article on the Black Bloc, and how they will be expediently used by the MB regime as the new “forbidden group”, since it really has no structure, founders or leaders, and thus it can be used against anyone they dislike. Before anyone could accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist, the day after the article was published the MB regime outlawed the Black Bloc, called it a forbidden group and now arrests people with the accusation that they are Blocheads all the time, the latest being 20+ protesters that got arrested last Friday, including the author of the first Egyptian graphic novel, Magdy ElShafeie, who is such a peaceful and sensitive person he could tear up if you killed an insect in front of him. The MB has also designated the group to be a terrorist organisation, which in itself is highly ironic: the MB, the entity that fathered every single Islamist terrorist group in Egypt, and whose Gaza branch, Hamas, is a listed terrorist organisation, has just designated the Black Bloc, an entity that doesn’t really exist and doesn’t fit any description of the word “organisation”, as the first terrorist organisation in their new regime. Chutzpah is alive and well around here.

 

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


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