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Legitimacy v Rebellion, Mr President

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Sara Abou Bakr

Sara Abou Bakr

Mr President,

Because of you, Shar’aia (legitimacy) and Tamarod (rebellion) are currently gearing for a face-off on the streets of Egypt on 30 June. Only a year after Egyptians elected you, their first civilian president, calls have spread over the last two months for your removal.

A year ago, Egyptians flocked to ballot stations to cast their vote in the neck-and-neck political race between the Mubarak-era Ahmed Shafiq, and you. Angry young Egyptians who did not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood campaigned viciously against Shafiq, believing you to be the better choice. Many believed that they “would be able to disagree with Morsi without being tortured and thrown in jail” as several campaigns stated.  They were in for quite a surprise!

There have been 3000 new political prisoners in the last four months, according to the Front for the Protection of Protesters, a legal group whose main goal is to safeguard the rights of demonstrators. According to the same report, 30% of the detainees are under the legal age. The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) reported that the average number of arrests under the Mubarak regime was 600 per year.

The El Nadeem Centre issued a report last week stating that they have recorded 359 new torture cases since you rose to power last June.

The status of women did not improve under your rule; the latest document proposed by the UN 57th Commission on the Status of Women was slammed by the Shura council, accusing it, and the National Council for Women, of “spreading western values, promoting homosexuality, and abortion”.

Organised sexual harassment mobs became the norm in protests and gatherings, with 19 documented cases on the eve of 25 January revolution anniversary in 2013 alone. Some were extremely brutal; one young lady was violated with a knife.

Journalists became a regular target with accusations of “insulting the president,” which you have magnanimously waived after you came under fire from media and human rights organisations.

The security status became worse with the ministry of interior either refusing to enforce its role or unable to because of political pressure. Citizens took the law into their own hands after the spread of crime, rape, molestation and robbery. Mob lynching spread particularly in the Nile Delta. Drug dealers and rapists were lynched and left to rot. The rule of the law no longer prevailed.

Egyptian foreign relations are not any better. The situation with the United Arab Emirates became worse with the arrest of Brotherhood members accused of attempting to topple the regime.  Several Egyptian top delegations were sent to free the prisoner to no avail. This caused Egyptians to be quite angry after comparing your decision to send said delegations while you ignored hundreds of Egyptians in Saudi prisons, including lawyer Ahmed El-Gizawy, as well as in other countries. The message received was that one only matters if one belongs to the Brotherhood.

Your government kept floundering with different countries, including Russia where you praised the Russian stance on the Syrian revolution, adding that it is quite similar to the Egyptian viewpoint. Rage ensued in both Egypt and Syria.

The breaking point of foreign relations to many Egyptians was the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Reports flooded media outlets on the risks and benefits of the dam. Confused Egyptians were even angrier at the lack of transparency from the presidency.  First, you assured people that the dam posed no risk only to offer a veiled threat to Ethiopia two days later; a clueless attempt to pacify the public.  That day an African reporter woke me up frantically asking if Egypt is waging war on Ethiopia!

The economy did not fare much better. With the lack of security, new investments flew out of the window together with tourism. Prime Minister Hesham Qandil tried to obtain a $4.8m loan from the International Monetary Fund, only to fail miserably. This comes after your ridiculous promise to flood the economy with $200bn during your campaign.

Price hikes of food supplies have dealt a bitter blow to the already poor Egyptians, and the straw that broke the camel’s back is the current fuel crisis. As I am writing these words, cars are lined up for kilometres all over the country in an attempt to fuel their car; motorists spend four hours, on average, to purchase gas. The wait is such that fast food chains deliver food to hungry motorists waiting their turn! Some cafes even offer a shisha service.

Egyptians are nothing if not resilient.

Two months ago, the Tamarod, or “Rebellion,” campaign began collecting signatures calling for your removal; people sign their name and write their national ID numbers to prove that they participated in this campaign.

Yesterday, Saturday, the campaign announced that they have collected 22, 134, 465 signatures; more than the people who voted for you and Shafiq combined.

So, Mr President, although it is true that your legitimacy came through the ballot box, with it came your promise for a vision for a new Egypt. Your election, after the ouster of a 30- year regime, was to safeguard Egyptians from going through the arrests and torture they suffered under Mubarak. Your legitimacy stemmed from a promise of making Egypt better for the already poor and suffering.

Ballots do not guarantee legitimacy; your actions as a president do.

Friday night, your “brothers” flocked to Cairo to rally for your legitimacy after buses were sent to transport them to Raba’a Al-Adwia mosque, while others demonstrated against you in over seven governorates.

Today, 30 June, people plan to protest peacefully demanding your removal. Your “brothers” are gearing up for a fight. People fear blood will prevail.

Mr President, this is the legacy you leave after your first year in power: Egyptians facing-off on the streets.

In your presence, Gulf-funded Wahabi sheikhs called protesters “infidels” and defamed Shi’a. The same sheikhs swear at Copts on their private channels and propagate sectarian strife.

In case no one explained it to you, people are rebelling not to challenge your legitimacy or to eradicate your Brotherhood, but because they are poor, angry, frustrated, and disappointed at Egypt’s current situation.

Your “brothers” like to compare you to the well-known Muslim Leader Omar Ibn Al-Khatab, known as “The Just”.

The Just slept in the outdoors because, well, he was just. As I watch security officers fortify your presidential palace, making the walls even higher, I wonder how close you feel to Omar.

 

About the author

Sara Abou Bakr

Politics editor at Daily News Egypt Twitter: @sara_ab5

  • islam

    wow , thanks sara ,


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