Last Updated: Wed Jul 18, 2012 07:08 am (KSA) 04:08 am (GMT)

Mursi, the human being

Mahmoud Salem

Mursi is not a construct, no matter if that is how he appears to me. Mursi is a human being. He has a family. He has children

During the first and second round of the presidential elections I always had a problem with regarding President Mohammed Mursi as a real human being with real dreams, real fears and ambitions. I always viewed him as something unreal and virtual, a construct representing the Muslim Brotherhood. It naturally didn’t help that he was an alternate candidate, always in the shadows, or that when he got presented to us he had no real personality to begin with. I had resigned myself to view him, like many others like me, as a puppet, a front to whatever unholy alliance the SCAF and the MB were creating. However, very recently, I started to ignore my prejudices and take a closer look, especially with the fiasco surrounding the reassembling of parliament.

Please don’t misunderstand; my rethinking had nothing to do with Mursi’s decision and its aftermath. Far from it. Something else entirely caught my attention, and I am sure many other as well, as to the timing of the decision and the reversal of it, also where Mursi was at this time, especially when recanting the decision. The presidency issued the decree cancelling the former decree bringing back the parliament and apologized around 6 pm last Wednesday. Did Mursi announce this very important and politically dangerous decision, after the political firestorm his first decision caused himself? Nope, it was the presidential spokesperson who did. Mr Mursi was in fact not in the country at the time, but rather in Saudi Arabia on an official visit. The question that everyone should ask is how did that happen?

The bringing back of parliament by presidential decree, and the constitutional court decision to strike that decree down, was a momentous stand-off, and one that cornered Morsy and galvanized many sides, for and against, meaning that the decision to take back that decree had to be politically calculated by advisors (political, legal, media) with the President himself being involved in drafting it. That didn’t happen. Instead, Mursi flew to Saudi (alone mind you – with no entourage of any kind) in the morning, and the decision came out of the presidency while he was in a meeting. Who took that decision? Who drafted it? We know that the original decree was announced the next day to a Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Council meeting, which means that they were the ones that drafted it, so if the one recanting it happened while he was away, then they drafted it as well. This means that the argument that Mursi has no powers due to the supplementary constitutional declaration by SCAF is false; Mursi has no power because the Guidance Council are the ones making all the decisions for him. This is why no government has yet been announced, with Essam ElArian, who has no official capacity in Mursi’s government, announcing its developments, instead of Mursi’s office itself. Mursi, literally, is the Guidance Council’s puppet and is being used by them during their continuous negotiations with the SCAF. Do you ever wonder what that must be like?

Imagine that one day a group of people you trust and are related to come to you with the proposal: they will start a huge company that will do great things, and they need you to be its CEO. They promise you a huge salary and all the prestige in the world, while assuring you that you won’t actually have to do any of the work, but rather that everything will be taken care of by very capable people, ones that they will choose. It sounds awesome at first: all the glory, none of the work, so you accept. And then those very capable people start managing things very badly, which brings the heat on to you. People start calling you, asking you how you could take this or that stupid decision, and urging you to use your power to fix things. But you have no power, so you call those who are under you, basically begging them to stop messing things up, and that’s the extent of your power. Everyone is mad at you, for reasons that are not under your control but are happening in your name, and there is nothing you can do about it. Doesn’t sound so great now, does it? If it was you, you would quit. But Mursi can’t quit. And he is not a CEO, he is the revolution’s president, and it has only been a month. Four more years of this – imagine.

Mursi is not a construct, no matter if that is how he appears to me. Mursi is a human being. He has a family. He has children. The children have friends, are on facebook and twitter, and watching the world asking daily why their father took this decision and didn’t take that decision, and they call him to tell him what’s going on, asking that he takes a decision, and he can’t. All the prestige, none of the power, in the middle of a war aimed at you. Slowly everything seems hollow to him, and he struggles with notions of self-respect and dignity. Mursi had a cause, he went to jail for that cause, and now he is being asked to be the martyr for this cause, but without any honorable death involved. Instead, it’s a death by a thousand paper cuts. And it has only been a month.

Did you know that Mursi was not officially invited to Saudi Arabia? That the Ambassador gave him a cordial diplomatic invite simply positing that Saudi is looking forward to his probable future visit, and that Mursi jumped on the opportunity and told him that he is coming tomorrow, alone, and without an entourage of any kind? Mursi was literally escaping to Saudi and while he was there he did an Umra, during which he was pictured crying. Again, it has only been a month. How long until Mursi, the human, cracks?
I wonder…


The writer is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. The article was published in the Daily News of Egypt on July 17, 2012

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