I expected the worst as I watched on television one day the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, who was not elected by anyone, walking in front of President Mohammed Mursi.
The president is the first Egyptian, and must walk in front of everyone. But it is clear that Dr. Mursi continues to consider himself a member of the Guidance Bureau of the group, before being the president of Egypt. Therefore, he is attempting to impose on half of the Egyptians who did not vote for him his religious convictions, rather than a national policy that would accommodate all Egyptians.
I also expected the worst as I saw the draft constitution in the hands of religious groups, without there being a single woman in the drafting committee, as though women, half of the Egyptian people, are minors who need chaperons to hold their hands. In truth, I would have also expected the worst if the liberals, secularists and leftists had drafted the constitution without participation by the Islamists.
Is it possible that a writer like me needs to note that Egypt belongs to all Egyptians, and not the religious parties alone – or indeed the secular parties alone? The results of the elections had already spelled out this division, which could have been overcome with the president seeking to bring the Egyptians together. But he didn’t.
Thus, I found myself having to repeat platitudes, for example to remind the president that satiety is better than hunger, and that the Egyptian economy is in the abyss, while the government has done nothing to save it from its crisis.
Or perhaps I should remind the president that healthiness is better than disease, so perhaps the government can improve health services instead of asking people to pray to be healed.
I do not want the Muslim Brotherhood to fail, because their failure would mean more suffering for the people of Egypt, who have suffered enough already. I will never be on anyone’s side except the side of Egypt’s people, since it is this people that we have learned from and followed in their footsteps, and the nation shall never rise and take its rightful place among other nations in the absence of Egypt.
Until then, what I see is that President Mohammed Mursi took for himself dictatorial powers while denying he is a pharaoh, which means that this has indeed occurred to him. He said that the new powers were provisional, but I remember from my childhood days that Lebanon imposed a provisional tax after an earthquake in the 1950s, and when I left Lebanon in the 1970s, the “provisional tax” was still in place.
I say that the term “provisional” was the equivalent of a sedative so that the dictatorial powers could be passed and perpetuated. Half of the Egyptians took to the streets to protest the power grab, and I followed three major protests where no one was killed. Then when the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters came to confront the protesters, many people were killed or injured, because the supporters of the authorities are never of the kind that one can be proud of, especially the extremists who refuse to leave the dark ages, and whose primary concern is to lower the marriage age for girls.
All of Egypt is paying the price for the Brotherhood’s tenacity, and I do not say the president. Indeed, Dr. Mursi could be just following orders from above, that is to say, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood who walks ahead of him.
This time, Egyptians were killed by other Egyptians, while the president came up with a constitution that represents half the people, and ignored all criticisms when he set December 15 as the date for the referendum on the new constitution.
The Muslim Brotherhood waited 80 years to reach power, and when they did, they could not believe it. Thus, the lust for power defeated prudence, and the Muslim Brotherhood sought from day one to mold Egypt in their image and their example, despite the abundance of evidence that half of Egyptians do not want that.
Democracy should be pluralistic, but the religious parties cannot accommodate others. A few days ago, I wrote that Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, Mohammed ElBaradei or Hamdeen Sabahi would have each been a better president for Egypt than Dr. Mohammed Mursi, and the events of the past two days proved this.
To those four names, I also add Mohammed Esmat Seif El Dawla, Sayf al-Din Abdel Fattah, Ayman al-Sayyad and Amr Laithi, and before them Samir Morcos, Sakina Fouad and Farouk Gouida. They also resigned and each of them would have been a better president for Egypt.
Jihad el-Khazen is a columnist at Al Hayat, where this article was published on Dec. 7, 2012. The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org