Since the Egyptian president issued the controversial decree giving himself Godly powers, the streets have not calmed. For a week, it became a trend for Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi’s supporters to use the term “protecting the president’s legitimacy” as an excuse to do whatever they please just like how Mursi is using the excuse of “protecting the revolution” to put himself as the rightful Pharaoh of Egypt. Considering Mubarak’s failures during his rule, the very failures that lead to his fall and thus, losing his legitimacy; we can clearly see that Mursi’s legitimacy now has become questionable.
The situation in Egypt through the past days has been deteriorating with hundreds severely injured, tens were brutally tortured and seven were murdered during clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the anti-Mursi protesters. During the first 18 days of the revolution, when Mubarak’s supporters attacked the Tahrir sit-in aiming to end it, Mubarak apologized but it was too late as blood had already been shed which took away his legitimacy, or so the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters said back then. With the current president in power turning a blind eye on the Muslim Brotherhood leaders’ actions calling for those massacres and considering those actions of his supporters as “protecting his legitimacy” it will become almost impossible for revolutionaries to calm down or accept any kind of an apology without real radical actions starting with amending the current constitution to cancel the decrees as well as reassembling a new constituent assembly to write a constitution that meets the revolution’s demands and guarantees the basic human rights and equality for Egyptians or else it would mean that Mursi is willing to follow Mubarak’s fate.
When the Muslim Brotherhood supporters stormed the vicinity of the presidential palace where the Anti-Mursi sit-in took place, they didn’t just use weapons to kill the protesters but they also made up “torture chambers” to torture whoever they captured and beat him or her while videotaping and forcing the victim to “confess” belonging to Mubarak’s dissolved National Democratic Party or el-Baradei’s Constitution Party or Sabahy’s Popular Current. You can imagine how hard it is hearing testimonies of those who were tortured saying that they were hoping that the MB supporters hand them to the police instead. It is not an easy thing to be tortured by someone who allegedly stood with you in the same square chanting against the same dictator, who still claims that he is “supporting the revolution.”
It was not just about using weaponry, sticks and torturing protesters but it seems like the Muslim Brotherhood supporters were trained really well on the tactics that Mubarak used against the opposition for the last seven years of his rule; according to testimonies from the girls who were in the sit-in during the clashes, the MB supporters were targeting women to sexually harass them. Sexual harassment has been devised to kill the women’s power in Egypt during Mubarak’s time as well as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces rule. As sexual harassment and claiming acts of “debauchery” to defame sit-ins and stop women from joining the struggle were used, the MB supporters also followed Mubarak and the SCAF in calling men thugs, drug abusers etc.. Not to mention that one of those “thugs” who was tortured was a former ambassador.
Youssef el-Hosseiny, a TV presenter on Egypt’s ONTV channel well known for criticizing the MB received numerous death threats and someone tried to kill him yesterday, which forced him to leave his apartment and stop going to work for a while. Today, thugs were arrested by Anti-Mursi protesters from within a march as they had weapons on them as well as ID cards proving that they are members of the Freedom and Justice Party – the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. Needless to say that our struggle against the MB is not just because of their abuse of religion but it is pretty obvious that had Shafiq won the presidential elections and had he done half of what Mursi did, we would have toppled him in less than a week. The only leverage Mursi has now beside the MB members is the support he gets from some of the Salafis who were promised by Mursi to apply the “Shariah” law. For that, they support him with anything.
The president refused all the given solutions from the National Salvation Front which was founded by Mohammed el-Baradei, Hamdeen Sabahy and Amr Moussa which suggested a national dialogue on the condition that Mursi gives up his God-like powers to ensure the independence of the judiciary. Instead of realizing the trouble, Mursi decided to hold a “national dialogue” today and surprisingly all of those who attended were already supporting his decisions from the beginning! Looking at other solutions, they varied from politicians with Islamic political ideology assuring people that it would be only for a month (assuming that the people will agree on the constitution in the referendum) and also there exists the extreme sheikh Wagdy Ghoniem who actually called for executing anyone who opposes Mursi’s decrees.
The president who keeps on talking about respecting the judiciary had put himself over the judiciary’s oversight while asking them to monitor his referendum and today, Mahmoud Mekky - the vice president - asserted that Mursi is willing to postpone the referendum if the opposition guarantees not to appeal in front of the constitutional court because the constitution states that the referendum must be held 15 days after agreeing upon it.
When Egyptians revolted, they revolted against the police brutality, against the daily humiliation; they revolted hoping not to witness another human tragedy like a train accident killing hundreds of poor Egyptians or Egyptian soldiers getting murdered on the boarder every now and then; they revolted against the rule of the one party. Now, all those tragedies mentioned above continued happening during Mursi’s rule. Mursi has the legislative, judicial and executive powers now while having the state prosecutor whom he appointed backing him up as all the prosecutors were pressured to keep all anti-Mursi protesters who were arrested in jail for another day without any charges or evidence.
The president keeps on trying to convince the people that voting for a constitution that differentiates between people according to gender and religion as well as allowing civilians to be trialed in military courts is “democratic,” he also tries to convince the people that since he was elected then he can do whatever he wants because this is “democracy,” not putting into consideration that Hitler was elected as well. The international community is still backing him up one way or another for their interest in the “stability of the region” and also because he was elected democratically, but If the president decided to keep on going with the stern styled discourse of Mubarak and turning a blind eye on all those who were murdered or suffered torture because of his stubbornness, he will be leaving no room for even questioning his legitimacy. A president who abuses power, paves the road for a one party rule and follows every step of former dictators cannot be a legitimate leader in a democratic civil state.
Mina Naguib is a commentator on egyptian affairs and blogs at justanegyptian.com. Twitter: @MinaNaguib90