The current crisis in Egypt is disheartening, to say the least. The euphoria of the 2011 revolution now seemingly feels like a deflated balloon, and the violence and ongoing protests illustrate a highly polarized society with inflamed passions, emotions, and fears. The fears are warranted.
Amid the passions and emotions is tremendous confusion about the way ahead for Egypt. This is while the masses of educated youth remain jobless, President Morsi is about to raise commodity prices, labor disputes and law and order issues have yet to be resolved, the military waits in the wings to assess the next move, political developments are arrested and left in limbo, Coptic Christians, secularists and women are terrified with the prospects of increased implementation of Islamic laws in social policies, the environment continues to be neglected and degraded, water sources and sanitation systems are in disrepair, the education system’s deficiencies and illiteracy rates are abominable, women continue to suffer sexual assaults, and national and regional security remains fragile and threatened by diverse unsavory elements.
Morsi’s moves within the last few weeks have illustrated two attributes of his leadership and agendas: first, he seems to lack the skills to out-maneuver the judges (who are carry-overs from the previous regime), hence his political chess skills are lax. Second, Morsi got carried away with his newfound powers, and his over-confidence betrayed him and the country. Perhaps it was part of his plan or agenda to bulldoze himself over all the branches of government, as pronounced in his decree, which later he was forced to retract. Perhaps, in the shadows, this has been the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) agenda all along. The greatest error was believing that he could get away with it. Egypt is no longer the decades-long repressed and abused poor masses with a metaphoric pharaoh’s foot on their necks. Today’s Egypt is a liberated, tech-savvy, and obstinately freedom loving youth, and a host of countless activists who have embraced the mantra “never again.” Morsi and company need to acknowledge that the freedom-and-rights-Genie is out of the bottle. Failure to do so only spells their own demise and delegitimized status.
What will unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months in Egypt is yet to be determined. But one thing is for sure, if the Morsi government fails to tackle the real bread-and-butter issues in Egypt, and fast, his term in office will be extremely brief. Why religion is presented as a public policy priority, when the people’s main priorities consist of putting food on the table and supporting their families, is beyond comprehension. If Morsi has paid any attention to the causal factors behind the Tunisian Revolution, as well as Egypt’s revolution, he would know that the main variables and grievances were socioeconomic, not religious. It seems he was more focused on his hunger for power, rather than the people’s hunger for food.
I close with a compelling quote by James Madison:
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” – James Madison, Federalist No. 47.
NOTE: Everything I write in this blog constitutes my personal opinions and views