In Tahrir, the beginning and End of a Pharaoh

Published on, by Nadim Fetaih, December 3, 2012.

Egypt’s revolutionaries are back in Tahrir, and this time they are there to finish what they started: to topple the Pharaoh and institute real democracy … //

… Egypt’s geography, size, and cultural importance for the rest of the Arab world make it an important ally to the West and Israel. The media’s job, then, was to make Morsi a hero for Egypt and its allies. And they did well, praising Morsi as the man who helped negotiate the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. Just as they did with Sadat, the international community believed that Morsi was a responsible pragmatist and a reliable diplomatic partner — not a tyrant.

Then, just a day after the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel was announced, a decree was sent out publicly by Morsi that shocked not only the Egyptian people but also the international community. Faccts about the new decree (according to AlJazeera):

  • President says new decree is aimed at cleansing state institutions;
  • Decree allows president to appoint public prosecutor for a four-year term;
  • Morsi gave himself power to enact any law he wants;
  • Morsi’s decree effectively sacks the current prosecutor general, which means no authority can revoke any presidential decisions;
  • Morsi has ordered the retrial of officials linked to killing of protesters;
  • Morsi’s decree to remain in force until a new parliament is elected;
  • Parliament cannot be elected until a new constitution is in place;
  • Morsi also extended the timeline for drafting the new constitution;
  • Morsi says he has to have absolute power to protect the revolution.

The decree did not only ensure absolute power for Morsi; it also ensured that the upper house of Parliament as well as the constituent assembly (charged with making the new constitution) cannot be dissolved. Both of which, coincidentally, are controlled by a majority of Muslim Brotherhood representatives. Some members of both groups have walked out in protest, but could not stop the process … //

… The streets have once again become a small war-zone. Tear gas thrown by the police; Muslim Brotherhood militia attacking peaceful dissidents; stones and Molotov’s being thrown by the revolutionaries. But all of this happens as we await, whilst biting our nails, the position of the military. This, just like the beginning of the revolution, will tip the scales in either direction. If the military sides with the dissidents, Morsi will be unable to stand up against the people for long. His Pharaoh-like rule will come to and end as quickly as it came. But if the Egyptian military decides to side with Brotherhood, expect a civil war.

In November 2011, the New York Times declared that the Egyptian revolution was an unfinished revolution. At the time, it was true: the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) had held onto power as a “transition government”. All throughout this time, military trials on civilians were being conducted and it seemed that the Egyptian people had simply fought one oppressive, tyrannical regime, only to be met with another. The system itself had not been brought down. Only its face had changed: from Mubarak, to the SCAF, to Mohamed Morsi.

Currently, we are witnessing the slow and painful birth of the final stage of that unfinished revolution. Having been forced by reality on the ground to recognize the inherent fallacies embedded within the representative democratic process, is it possible that the Egyptian people will rise up demanding something more? Could it be that the Egyptians — almost two years after inspiring the world to rise up for real democracy everywhere — could be back on the barricades demanding such real democracy themselves?

These questions, along with the decision of the Egyptian military, can only be answered with time. But no matter what the answers are, nearly two years since the beginning of this revolution, the end is nigh. It will no longer be the unfinished revolution. Either this revolution will succeed, or it will fail. This time, though, things may not be as simple as they were in 2011.

(full text).


Islamist vs. Secularists: The Post-Revolution Struggle for the Arab Soul, on Spiegel Online International, by Daniel Steinvorth, Dez. 4, 2012

The growing power of corporations? on realsociology blog, Dec. 2, 2012.

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