As we all expected, I think, Mohammad Mursi disappointed us. We were hoping that the trial of Mursi and his gang would be an opportunity for them to rethink their position and start taking real steps towards admitting guilt for what they committed for many years, mainly for stealing the presidency. There was hope that they would start their healing journey from the epidemic disease that became a clear trait of their personality, in their policies and their behavior, which is denial. They are really good at denying over and over, firmly and stubbornly.
Mursi appeared and it was clear that he was at an advanced stage of this disease, a stage that can be easily described as hopeless. What was published and broadcast about the details of the trial, before it and after is, demonstrates this fact very clearly. Mursi looked close to being really sick. Since the very first moment, and until after the conclusion of the session, he was surprised that nobody was calling him Mr. President, and he asked repeatedly that those who were around him call him as such. He kept on repeating before, during and after the trial, that he is the legitimate president. He repeated it in a comic and hysterical way. This legitimacy hysteria started with Mursi since the early demonstrations against him and his group during his presidency, and it remained with him after the popular revolution against him until he was ousted. Time has not healed his hysteria and its symptoms.
They don’t know that legitimacy – the word he repeated over and over – isn’t an eternal pardon documentAbdel Latif el Menawy
Mursi’s case is akin to a black comedy, mixing the emotions of fun and pain. When a nation and its people pay the heavy price of the blood of its own children and its daily bread because of this stupidity and ridiculous behavior, this will cause anger even if the situation is comical.
Mursi looked happy in the suit he insisted on wearing, refusing to wear the prisoners’ white uniform. He was walking proudly, repeating that he is the legitimate president, which was a reminder of the classical comical play “the singer of emotions” when the late Mohammad Awad kept walking on stage, yelling all the time, until the end of the play: “I am Atef al-Ashmouny the author of the miserable heaven.” This comic scene will most likely continue for a long time.
What Mursi and his group don’t know is that the legitimacy he’s shouting about isn’t a fortress to use for hiding from the real source of any legitimacy, the people whose role was always denied and neglected. They don’t know that legitimacy – the word he repeated over and over – isn’t an eternal pardon document, but it is rather a contract for fulfilling a function, and is likely to be dissolved in case of underperformance.
The shouts of Mursi supporters in the villages and cities, defending what they called “the president’s legitimacy,” couldn’t be considered as proof or a counterbalance against the overwhelming majority. These demonstrations reflect the status of brain drainage, which leads to raising the question: “How do people ask for their own slavery?” This calls for the legitimate questions: What legitimacy and which sovereignty do the supporters of Mursi talk about when he is ousted by the mother of all authorities, the public will?! Aren’t the people the source of legitimacy, or does legitimacy emanate from the government represented by Mursi himself! The questions were answered a long time ago in civilized societies, but it seems that Mursi and his supporters have a long way to go before they get there.
What we witnessed during Mursi’s era in political power were his desperate attempts to impose himself as one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood through his project of the “akhwanization” of the Egyptian society, rich with cultural, political and religious diversity. All this caused chaos and political instability and had bad consequences on the economy. It destroyed Egypt’s foreign relations through the hardline policy of the Brotherhood, and cost the Egyptians many lives in the name of legitimacy. Facing all this, is there a necessity to overthrow Mursi after the heroic acts of the Egyptian people who thought that they were reaching the heaven of democracy with its full set of values, including liberties and a new constitution that’s the fruit of a national consensus? But the biggest disappointment was when we realized all of these sacrifices were in vain, when a dictator assumed power in the name of the elections’ legitimacy.
Mursi worked to destroy the pillars of the Egyptian society, he manipulated the constitution, the corruption spread, and he used radical methods to manage the state. He would have succeeded in destroying national unity and it became clear that the Brotherhood had their own agenda for Egypt which obliged the military apparatus, one of the institutions that represent the popular will - if not the only one nowadays, strong by its constitutional mandate, to stand with the people against Mursi - to take a historic stance against the devastating Brotherhood agenda. And as the late American President James Madison said: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” and the ambition we’re talking about is the ambition of the people supported by his protective army, facing the dark ambitions of Mursi and his group.
And as I said, it seems that we will witness for a long time the repetition of Mursi’s ridiculous yell: “I am the legitimate president, I am the legitimacy, I am ready to put my life down for the legitimacy, protect legitimacy, take on the streets and the squares for the sake of legitimacy, the legitimacy defends legitimacy, legitimacy to preserve legitimacy, every citizen should protect legitimacy, and in the shadow of legitimacy, Mursi is firmly supporting legitimacy.” This hysteric yelling, and continuous repetition, creates the need for a legitimacy counter. Also, we must face what we are facing with a mixture of laughter and pain.
This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Nov. 7, 2013.
Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy