Why President Morsi is in Trouble
A youth leader of the June 30th demonstrations gives us an insider's view of why ordinary Egyptians are in revolt.
July 3, 2013 - 10:00 am
The protests that are rocking the Egyptian government today date back to June 2012, when the Egyptian people found out the results of the first round of the presidential elections. They discovered that their choice of candidates included Mohammed Morsi (the Muslim Brotherhood candidate) and General Shafiq (the last prime minister of the Mubarak government). The choice was tough. Many people remembered how violent, disastrous, bloody, and corrupt the Mubarak administration was, which made them think of excluding Shafiq from their voting options. So the question became whether to boycott the elections or vote for Morsi, who represented the lesser of two evils.
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) had to face the people’s skepticism. The Brotherhood had refused to join the revolution against Mubarak in January 2011. However, the Muslim Brotherhood used the revolution to achieve their private agenda regarding Egypt and other Arab countries.
The second-line Muslim Brotherhood leaders started connecting with revolutionary figures, opposition leaders, and youth movements to convince them to support Morsi in the run-off election. These MB leaders asked for political support for the MB candidate, but the leaders of the January 25th revolution had some demands of their own. They wanted to “reconstruct the constitution drafting assembly to represent all Egyptians; appoint 3 vice presidents: a woman, a revolutionary youth leader, and a Christian; and to appoint a national unity government.” Eventually, Morsi and his allies approved the deal and signed a document to guarantee the achievement of these promises.
The Egyptian people decided to trust the Muslim Brotherhood at the time because they couldn’t accept military rule represented by General Shafiq.
It happened that Morsi won the election using our votes and became the first civilian to head the country in almost 60 years. The new president went to Tahrir Square and swore the republican oath in front of the people. Egyptians were optimistic about Morsi back then. But after a while, everything became clear to us. He broke all his presidential promises. He excluded the opposition from the government, which consisted mainly of old Mubarak ministers and Muslim Brotherhood members. In addition, he appointed a Muslim Brotherhood ally as his vice president.
All the aforementioned broken promises are nothing compared to the constitution drafting assembly. More Muslim Brotherhood members were appointed than was promised. Christians, opposition leaders, and revolutionaries were banned from the assembly. The Islamists then wrote the worst constitution in the whole history of Egypt and the Middle East.
The Brotherhood forced Al-Azhar (the biggest Sunni Islamic institution) to supervise legislation, just like in Iran, and to approve the Brotherhood’s laws with religious protection. They excluded the non-believers from being part of society. In addition, they assigned a moderate Islamist to replace the Egyptian Orthodox Church in the assembly. And finally, they even interfered in the formation of the Supreme Court to get rid of judges who opposed them in the past.
Our calls for demonstrations against Morsi after the first 100 days of his presidency weren’t well-received by Egyptians. Reasons for that include the extreme fear of economic crisis, instability, and lack of security. Although these reasons have a real basis, they were magnified by the Muslim Brotherhood’s media propaganda to prevent us from gaining more supporters for our cause, which was protesting their broken promises. By that time, the Muslim Brotherhood was using violence to solve political disputes. They smashed the location where the opposition supporters were gathered, and their attack resulted in hundreds of injuries.
The situation was calm during the month that followed this incident, despite several meetings between the American ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s strongest man, Khairat Al-Shater. The American ambassador kept supporting Muslim Brotherhood decisions despite the damage they caused to Egypt and the Middle East.
Five days after the trip to Egypt made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and three days after the first meeting between opposition leaders and Morsi, the president issued a declaration which enabled him to claim sweeping powers (legislative and judicial power in addition to the executive authority). Morsi strengthened the constitution drafting assembly and the Shura Council with MB members to avoid a High Court decree that dismissed them all due to errors in the enabling legislation.
The Egyptian middle class took to the streets to defend Egypt’s identity from being hijacked by the Islamists. Protestors were marching all over the country chanting against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood leaders. We marched to the presidential palace and decided to sit in in front of the palace which is our constitutional right. The next day, the Muslim Brotherhood militia attacked us, harassed women, and tortured political activists in the presidential palace itself. Hundreds were injured and seven were shot.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have obliterated much of the goodwill that many Egyptians were willing to give to them. Egypt has become divided into two sides. The country hasn’t faced a situation like that in our history before.
On the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution, the police affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood used violence against peaceful demonstrators in northern cities. They killed more than 59 Egyptians. The city of Port Said saw 34 lives lost thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy of how to deal with demonstrators.