“How did you get so powerful? They asked the Pharaoh. He retorted: there was no one to stop me.”
At the expense of sounding cliché, this simple proverb about sums it up; the conception of Morsy’s latest omnipotence decree is firmly rooted in the notion that his opposition is too feeble to pose a serious threat to his authority. The sad reality is, a great deal of truth corroborates that logic.
By mediating a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel, Morsy proved himself to be an effective regional leader, one who possesses a deft hand in diplomacy. He succeeded, temporarily at least, in curbing the all-too-familiar aggression that befalls Palestinians prior to every Israeli parliamentary election. He did so with strong partiality, yet with pragmatism that gained him a considerable recognition.
By soothing the anxiety of the international community regarding Egypt’s position on Israel, and pushing Iranian influence away from Hamas, Morsy demonstrated to the west his competence in dealing with delicate foreign policy issues, solidifying his position as a dependable regional player, as far as the west is concerned.
Beaming self-confidence after the acclaim bestowed on him by the west, Morsy’s perception of domestic problems suddenly appeared less complicated.
All the political bickering that seems to curtail the consolidation of his supremacy over state institutions, all those non-Islamist political currents that “stubbornly impede” the drafting of the constitution, all these “marginal headaches” could be easily and forcibly resolved by a presidential decree.
And there it was, a shocking revelation that grants him supraconstitutional authority, decorated with the proverbial sentimentalities of the rights of martyrs and the retrial of the remnants of the old regime. If anything, the brotherhood is well versed in the practice of appealing to the emotional side of the masses.
Despite the growing polarisation of the street, the escalating tension, and the threats of further demonstrations to oppose the newly founded tyrannical power, the president doesn’t appear to be fazed, on the contrary, he seems quite composed.
He is playing the role of the benevolent dictator whose concern for the future of Egypt forced him to take these radical procedures, emphasising that this is a temporary measure until a constitution is written, a parliament is in place and the judicial branch is corruption-free. I can’t help but recall the temporary dictator scenario being orchestrated when Nasser rose to power; he said that it would only be for six months before governance would return to the people legitimately, only that those six months became 60 years.
Morsy gets to win this round, simply because there is no solid opposition to stand in the way of the Islamist current, and because he has the backing of the international community. Let’s not be misled by the few statements made by the west that seem to cast somewhat of a concern over Morsy’s self-proclaimed dictatorship, that is textbook political theatre, and such statements are seldom reflective of real intentions.
Forming a strong deterrence against the Islamist current will take years of hard work and strong determination by opposing forces. As depressing as it sounds, that is the reality of the status quo. Anyone still clinging to the notion of a united liberal front with the ability to currently ebb the massive tide of political Islam is, well… a romantic. It is an idealistic notion that stands in stark contrast to the reality on the ground.