By Mohammed Ali Ibrahim the former editor in chief of both The Egyptian Gazette and Algoumhoria newspapers
His method was to shun reasonable argument or debate, opting instead for criticism and shouting down those in opposition, thus crippling their ability to respond appropriately. He acted thus because he was a poorly educated, barely completed his elementary religious schooling and because he knew he could not compete on an intellectual level with more educated scholars or sheikhs.
Consequently, he imposed on the Brotherhood the principles of blind allegiance, abidance and compliance. After 84 years, the “brothers” still adhere to the orders of their founder. They remain quick to lash out at officials but impotent to take action or invent solutions to the myriad of problems Egypt faces today.
Since they assumed power, their promises to improve the lives of Egyptians have proven hollow. Once hopeful of a better future under the Brotherhood, Egyptians have instead discovered the duality of President Mohamed Morsy and his cabinet. Since elected in June, Morsy and his government have withdrawn all their presidential and parliamentary campaign promises. Thus their long-standing model of heavy-handed criticism has now become a rod for their own backs.
Look at their recent actions and compare them to their messages before taking hold of every inch of the country. They vowed to cancel the notorious emergency law if elected. Their stand in Mubarak’s time was against the law, accusing the former government of planning terrorist attacks against churches and in tourist areas. Instead, they have retained it. When they dominated Parliament prior to their election victory, they accused SCAF and the Ministry of Interior of retaining the Mubarak-era policy of curtailing personal freedoms and free will and of attempting to interfere in the approaching elections.
“Such [a] humiliating law, with no equivalent worldwide, should be cancelled immediately,” Morsy said before being elected. SCAF cancelled the emergency law, fearing that they might be accused of rigging the election in favor of a non-Muslim Brotherhood candidate. But Morsy’s promise to cancel the law now seems unlikely. Instead, a new emergency law will be introduced to combat thuggery and terrorism.
Ahmed Mekki, the Minister of Justice, claims the new law is different from Mubarak’s in that it will not be used to stifle individual liberties. However, Mubarak never used the law to clamp down on personal freedoms and, in fact, cancelled the preventive detention of journalists, except in the case of insulting the President – an article which remains enshrined in the new law.
Mekki’s law is even worse than Mubarak’s. In an interview with the Al Shorouk newspaper, Mekki said the press was full of liars, biased and prejudiced. His Freudian slip revealed that prison might be better for journalists. The new drafting constitution committee said journalists would not face imprisonment but fines so severe it could put media outlets at risk of bankruptcy.
Mekki famously once said in opposition to Mubarak’s intentions to impose restrictions on the judicial system that “the judges should be totally independent and if one of us committed faults, we are able to punish him through our status and regulations”. Now we tell him the same: “Journalists are able to punish our faulty colleagues through the press syndicate”. The punishments could include firing them, permanently freezing their membership of the syndicate or defaming them.
It is again the two-faced policy of the Brotherhood: Criticise when you are in opposition and do the exact same thing when you rule. Al-Banna lives on through his sons.
During his presidential campaign, Morsy also vowed to stop borrowing from abroad, arguing that Egypt is rich and full of hidden, unexploited resources. Coincidentally, the MPs belonging to the Brotherhood in the dismantled parliament refused the IMF loan, claiming that it was usurious and against Islamic rules.”Enough is enough with debts,” they said.
Moreover, Morsy told Wael Alebrashi in a televised interview on 3 May that he had the financial backing of 13 international corporations willing to pump more than one trillion Egyptian pounds into Egypt in four years, subject to his election. The names of such companies would be revealed once he was in power, he said. That funding has failed to materialise, however. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Astonishingly, Morsy’s government has now agreed to the IMF loan while the brotherhood, who once vehemently opposed the loan, now says it is the only way to save the country.
They should have the courage to stand up and say that only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. As a poor citizen of this country I have to know how they would spend the loan. Where are the wealthy corporations whom the President mentioned before? Why did we accept the IMF conditions even though the Brotherhood MPs previously refused, fearing that it was haram (forbidden) and would put the country under the influence of the West? Let alone the fact that Ganzouri did not care to tell how he would spend the money! Now will the incumbent government of Hisham Qandil reveal how would they spend it? It is indeed a black comedy that we live in.