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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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January 18, 2014 - 2:49 pm

When millions of Egyptians wanted the Muslim Brotherhood leadership out, President Obama noted that Mohammed Morsi won his presidential post in an election.

When nearly 20 million Egyptians — more than 98 percent of votes cast — approved a new constitution to replace the one forged by Islamists, Secretary of State John Kerry said elections aren’t everything.

Egypt’s new constitution was written by a committee of 50 including women, Christians, one Salafist and one independent Islamist, while the last constitution was written by the Muslim Brotherhood and associated Islamists. The new document forbids “religion, race, gender or geography” from being the basis to form a political party while guaranteeing freedom of religion and granting, for the first time, Copts the right to build churches without permission of the president. Women are recognized as equals in Egyptians society.

Several people died in clashes surrounding the voting sparked by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who boycotted the vote. “Going to the polls was risky because of those who were trying to use violence to scare people from voting, but the army and the police exerted a great effort to protect the polls and to give assurance to the people who would like to vote…It was a phenomenon to see crowds of women at each poll, many of whom queued for hours to vote. Some of them were singing and rejoicing, and even dancing, before and after they cast their vote. There was a general spirit of joy among the people of Egypt who voted, in a way that never happened before. We, alongside other Christian denominations, encouraged the people of Egypt to fulfill their civil duty to vote and to pray for the future of Egypt,” Mouneer Anis wrote of the scene on the ground. “…Many voters carried the photos of Field Marshall al-Sisi, the Minister of Defense, in an attempt to persuade him to run for the presidency. This is because al-Sisi was the one who responded to the request of the millions of demonstrators on 30 June who called for early Presidential elections and the removal of the former President.”

But in a statement issued today, Kerry said it was just one vote and again called for inclusiveness — a refrain the administration has used since the Morsi overthrown in an effort to get the Muslim Brotherhood back into the political landscape.

“Egypt’s turbulent experiment in participatory democracy the last three years has reminded us all that it’s not one vote that determines a democracy, it’s all the steps that follow. It’s a challenging transition that demands compromise, vigilance, and constant tending. The draft Egyptian constitution passed a public referendum this week, but it’s what comes next that will shape Egypt’s political, economic and social framework for generations,” Kerry said. “As Egypt’s transition proceeds, the United States urges the interim Egyptian government to fully implement those rights and freedoms that are guaranteed in the new constitution for the benefit of the Egyptian people, and to take steps towards reconciliation.”

Kerry added that “the brave Egyptians who stood vigil in Tahrir Square did not risk their lives in a revolution to see its historic potential squandered in the transition.”

“They’ve weathered ups and downs, disappointment and setbacks in the years that followed, and they’re still searching for the promise of that revolution. They still know that the path forward to an inclusive, tolerant, and civilian-led democracy will require Egypt’s political leaders to make difficult compromises and seek a broad consensus on many divisive issues,” he said.

“Democracy is more than any one referendum or election. It is about equal rights and protections under the law for all Egyptians, regardless of their gender, faith, ethnicity, or political affiliation.”

Kerry said the U.S. government has “consistently expressed our serious concern about the limits on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in Egypt, including leading up to the referendum, just as we expressed our concerns about the dangerous path Egypt’s elected government had chosen in the year that lead to 2013′s turbulence.”

He said they were using monitoring from the Carter Center and Democracy International to assess the fairness of the constitutional referendum and the “challenges ahead” including “Egypt’s polarized political environment, the absence of a fully inclusive process in drafting and debating the constitution ahead of the referendum, arrests of those campaigning against the constitution, and procedural violations during the referendum, such as campaigning in proximity to and inside polling stations and lack of ballot secrecy.”

“We strongly encourage the interim Egyptian government to take these concerns into account as preparations are made for presidential and parliamentary elections,” Kerry concluded. “The work that began in Tahrir Square must not end there. The interim government has committed repeatedly to a transition process that expands democratic rights and leads to a civilian-led, inclusive government through free and fair elections. Now is the time to make that commitment a reality and to ensure respect for the universal human rights of all Egyptians.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The current Egyptian government respects the Egyptian people far more than the current American government respects the American people. And hats off to Egypt's military officers for taking their oath seriously, which can not be truthfully said of the military officers of all countries, not to name any names.

"He said they were using monitoring from the Carter Center and Democracy International to assess the fairness of the constitutional referendum"

Like having Kevorkian as your ObamaCare doctor.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sounds like this constitution is inclusive. Kerry needs to go f off.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (28)
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34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
What this evidences is Obama's opposition to constitutional principles and his support for the muslim brotherhood. Can't be denied.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hate to sdound like I'm agreeing with Kerry but in a way he's right. After our Revolution George Washington pretty much had to invent the office of President and the way the government was run. The Constitution provided a guideline but everything was open to interpretation. Even with the great men we had then it took three or four Presidents to get everything running the way it should. General Sisi may not be a George Washington but he seems like a good man with the good of his country at heart. Let's hope that he and the people of Egypt get things right this time. We are definitely seeing a lot of examples of how not to do it in that region.

As to the Muslim Brotherhood, they could probably be loosely compared to the Tories here in the States. Most of them ran off to Canada to avoid being persecuted after the war. Those that stayed accepted the new rules and worked under the law to get some of what they wanted. If the MB don't want to follow the new laws they can run off to Turkey. Under Erdogan they should be welcome there for now. Of course it looks like Turkey might be slowly coming to it's senses too so that could be interesting.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Egypt does need to show a couple of peaceful changes in power to establish itself as a representative government. We'll see and I'll hope.
Turkey had a representative government, albeit kind of an authoritarian one, until recently. That has come to be doubtful. Liberty, even the relatively restricted liberty that Turks enjoyed for fifty years or more, is always close to being lost.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
seems just like the oval office fraud, mr Theresa also supports anti America terrorists and what they represent
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is this really what John Kerry said? Or were his comments mis-reported, mis-understood? Or did he simply "mis-speak"?

"90% support..." "Election isn't everything... It's not one vote that determines a democracy... It's all the steps that follow... It's about equal rights and protections under the law for alll Egyptians regardless of gender, faith, ethnicity or political affiliation".

John Kerry, erstwhile Senator and candidate for the Presidency now "Representative" in foreign lands of the United States of America?

Representing BH Obama Executive of the USA by support of not 90% but sufficent proportion of citizens for him to have taken the Chair of:

The USA aka a Country of Law with equal rights and protections under the law for ALL Americans.

Each citizen Equal Before the Law. NO Man is "above the Law".

NO speical privileges IN LAW according to gender - NOT sex, race, faith, ethnicity or political affiliation. No initiated and institutionalised, with a little help from their friends, by "Democrats" SPECIAL RIGHTS IN LAW depending on gender/sex?, race, faith, ethnicity, and political affiliation??
SPECIAL RIGHTS IN LAW Nicely presented as "Affirmative Action".

Nothing like that

In DIRECT VIOLATION, i.e unlawful act by members of government (Congressmen, Senators, Judges, and Executive) of the LAW that EACH Citizen IS EQUAL before the Law. AND that EACH "representative of the People" swears/affiirms under oath to Uphold and Defend.

Democracy in the steps that follow an election

Steps like "payback" by the Attorney General using the law in his charge for whatever he decides needs to be "paid back" and by which persons or groups. No "Special Treatment" IN LAW for members of his own "race". No "fast and fuirious".

No "We have to pass it to Know what's in it" LAW to be imposed on citizens. From which members of Congress, Senate, Judiciary and Executive NOW apparently NOT citizens are EXEMPT?

BH Obama. Executive NOT YET Proved by adequate and necessary means to have fulfulled requirements for "Legal Eligibility for The Office of Presicent" in compliance with THE LAW.

BH Obama who is "not concerned with Laws". He "needs only sign an Executive Order to get what he wants.

That democracy?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Free elections" are the bane of Democrats.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Dems are having trouble absorbing the fact that a freely elected Egyptian President in now sitting in jail for conspiracy to commit murder.

Dems, self-absorbed in the identity politics of political correctness, don't understand nuance. Morsi won against Mubarak's former prime minister, with less than 52% of the vote.

The problems began when Morsi started alienating everyone who wasn't a Qutbist Muslim Brother. After having just kicked out one dictator, Egypt wasn't having any of that. Everyone turned their backs on Morsi: the Salafis, orthodox Sunnis, youth; the military and Copts never trusted him.

Kerry needs to get over this, cuz it is a done deal. Morsi is never coming back and neither is the MB in this generation. As many predicted right after the revolution, the MB, after waiting patiently for over 80 years, grabbed at too much too fast, and now they're out. And this time they're out with the people, not a single dictator.

Even today the MB is out on the streets murderously protesting in ways that are completely futile, since they simply don't have the numbers to accomplish anything. All they're doing is extending their time of exile.

Kerry's lucky Egypt has no money, cuz they'd have Chinese or Russian tanks and planes in short order.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, now that I think about it, why is obama not in jail for "conspiracy to committ murder?" F & F anyone?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Democracy is more than any one referendum or election. It is about equal rights and protections under the law for all Egyptians, regardless of their gender, faith, ethnicity, or political affiliation.”
Kerry shilling for the Muslim Brotherhood is traitorous ... need we have any more proof that our administration is actively supporting murderous thugs both at home and abroad?? Treachery is obviously one of those laws that this administration chooses to ignore ... and because we did not NAME an enemy; this administration is off the hook for the deaths of American patriots in Benghazi and elsewhere. Law? What law? WE have a lawlass bunch in DC that put their own ambitions above ALL else, including life itself.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They still know that the path forward to an inclusive, tolerant, and civilian-led democracy will require Egypt’s political leaders to make difficult compromises and seek a broad consensus on many divisive issues,” he said."

"difficult compromises" Sounds a lot like what they are always telling Israel. Or the Republicans, but never the Palestinians or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Democrats.

Kerry and this Obominable administration are pretty good at wanting everybody ELSE to be "inclusive" and to make "difficult" compromises.
Translation: see it our way or else.

How did it happen that we put such a bunch of idiots in power?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't Kerry put in for the Bronze Star for throwing a grenade into a pile of rice
then having a few grains lodge in his buttocks?

The man knows more about hair gel than he does about combat.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy MBY
Kerry got a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. His Purple Hearts were all for pretty small wounds but that's a commonplace; the requirement for the award is to be wounded by enemy action, not how serious the injury is. And even a minor wound in combat avoids being a major wound, or lethal, by only inches sometimes.
Gotta have some respect for anyone who got the Silver Star, too, because that's no "I was there" medal.
Kerry's actions after the war and up to the present have varied between despicable and foolish, in my estimation, and even his tour of combat may have been overstated. Nevertheless, he did serve and he did bleed. I'll give him that much and that's all.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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