By Michael Petrou - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
Well, that didn’t take long.
Less than six months since Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first genuinely democratically elected president, it’s becoming clear he’s not all that interested in governing as a democrat.
Late last month, Morsi, a longtime member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, granted himself sweeping new power preventing any authority, including the judiciary, from revoking his decisions. He said he will give these up after a new constitution is ratified following a referendum on Dec. 15.
But Morsi’s opponents fear the constitution, drafted by Islamists, will irrevocably change Egyptian society and politics, subverting democracy to sharia, or Islamic law. Opposition that had been bubbling for months has exploded.
Clashes between Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and his opponents — who include secular liberal and leftist revolutionaries, as well as supporters of former president Hosni Mubarak — have resulted in at least five deaths and hundreds injured. The man who came to power on the heels of a democratic revolution now governs from a presidential palace fronted by barbed wire and guarded by tanks. Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM - 0 Comments
Despite the arrests and suppression of dissent, the current presidential race shows how far the country has come
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow last February, following massive protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, was stunning in its seemingly definitive resolution: the people rose up; the dictator stepped down.
In reality what was accomplished was more of a leadership shuffle than a political transformation. Mubarak was gone. But the military, through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), held on to power, as it has since ousting the monarchy more than 50 years ago.
“The revolution has so far managed to get rid of the dictator but not the dictatorship,” Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian activist and blogger, wrote last March in an essay titled “The army and the people were never one hand” (which skewered the Tahrir chant “The army and the people—one hand”). The essay promptly got him arrested and sentenced by a military court to a three-year prison term for “insulting the armed forces.” Sanad was pardoned and released this January, after some 300 days in jail, including more than 100 on a hunger strike. He is one of more than 12,000 Egyptians convicted in military tribunals since Mubarak’s departure—all evidence of the gulf between what seemed within reach during the revolution and what has in fact changed.