The Egyptian Putsch

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Mohamed Morsi, one of TIME Magazine’s nominees for Person of the Year in 2012, a nomination that I fully supported, has been placed under house-arrest for a significant period of time now. In early July this year, following some minor protests and disturbances between the supporters and those opposed to the protests, the Egyptian army chief removed the country’s-then president, Morsi, from power, suspending the nation’s constitution in the process. Presently, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, is acting as the interim President. Many Muslim Brotherhood leaders, several of which helped successfully bring about the Arab revolution to its pinnacle of global inspiration of how ordinary people could bring about change simply through demonstrations, and political change, were also arrested. The arrest of Mohammed Morsi was supported by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and the leader of the opposition, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Protests, and opposition towards them, are the norm in Arab nations. These protests particularly came at the one-year anniversary of Morsi becoming President, which kind of begets the question if the whole coup d’état was actually orchestrated to deliberately remove an Egyptian political figure who is globally respected. Furthermore, the idea that Morsi was preaching the need to put Islamic law into practice without any conclusive evidence to suggest so, and proceeding to have him arrested for that, is unlawful. Reaction to Morsi’s house arrests has mostly been negligible, with the exception of Malaysia, which strongly spoke out against the arrest of Mohammed Morsi. From the United States to the European Union, meanwhile, it was the usual cautious speeches about how important it was to protect Egyptians from violence and conduct free and fair elections, fast. This was particularly humorous given that the former President, Morsi, had come to power with 51 percent of the votes on the back of largely free and fair elections to begin with.

The house arrest was largely unnecessary given that on the eve of the protests, a spokesman for Morsi had publicly released a statement that the former President was interested in conducting a national dialogue, but the opposition rebuffed this and instead chose to go ahead with their plans of removing him from power. It has been reported by the Wall Street Journal that opposition politicians began to hatch a plan to remove Morsi from power, in alliance with the army, the moment the Constitutional Declaration was passed by the former President. The report also highlights the many secret meetings were conducted, exclusively to serve this purpose: removing Morsi from power. The declaration, which has seen many protests on the streets of Cairo because so many it seems were against the brilliant manifesto, was to break the deadlock left by the previous corrupted administration, and introduce sweeping democratization, that were free from any kind of judicial interference, and many in the opposition saw this as Morsi growing far too powerful.

There is absolutely no way the putsch was beneficial for the country because it has only completely cut off Western contact with the Arab nation. Al Jazeera and the Associated Press has both been refused access to filming peaceful protests that were entirely pro-Morsi, several regional journalists have been attacked or arrested,the BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen particularly was severely wounded by Egyptian security forces after Morsi’s arrest, while reporting for the BBC, and many national news stations have been closed down. Furthermore, the August 14 crackdown to clear camps of pro-Morsi protesters has been labelled by Human Rights Watch as the single-most serious incident of massive unlawful killings in the history of modern Egypt. They were just protest sit-ins, there can be no hope for any political stability in the country if the interim government continues to act this way.

Because of the role the Orthodox Pope played in the support of removal of a President who was only interested in spreading democracy in his country, attacks on Coptic Christians has seen a hike in Egypt. Many Christians were forced to abandon evening Mass, and this is now overflowing into religious segregation as well. Several of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested had spent terms in prison along with the former President under the previous administration. Morsi’s supporters range from the ordinary (a watermelon merchant) to his powerful aides and advisers. They have often described him as characteristically being a Pharaoh. That word ‘Pharaoh’ alone being used to describe a modern day Egyptian leader, I have long admired, is enough to peak my interest in Egyptian political affairs because I have always been very fascinated with Ancient Egyptian history.

Coming to power with sweeping parliamentary gains, the Muslim Brotherhood, has long been considered an enemy of the army, since 1965 actually when Gamal Abdel Nassar, the second President of Egypt, cracked down on them. Because so many factions of the government were already dominated by the military when the 2012 elections were conducted in June, making it supremely difficult for the Muslim Brotherhood to win, the fact that the party won just goes to show the strength and the level of support the Brotherhood has amongst Egyptians. Mohammed Morsi’s first speech after the win had outlined his vision for the country well. He spoke about the need to improve the country’s economy, rake in more jobs, take care of the youth, and the general improvement in the living conditions of Egyptians. The Constitutional declaration was removing all of the wide-spreading powers that were for many decades granted to the army.

Soon after, around November 2012, in fact, all of Morsi’s bold moves saw the words “strong” and “capable” being added to the growing list of words being used to describe him. Those are positive notes because the reactions from the other nations I have been reading is truly appalling! President Morsi is presently facing trial for one of the most ridiculous of all reasons: escaping prison along with his many Muslim Brotherhood comrades from the previous corrupted administration’s time in power. Mohammed Morsi should immediately be released and permitted to stand in the next set of free and fair elections that are being planned to be conducted in the near future. There should be absolutely no arguments or compromises on this whatsover and the more speedily this gets done the better because the democratization of Egypt needs to happen soon.


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