Friday, August 23, 2013

Insights about the current situation in Egypt

I know many people who are not living in Egypt are wondering, what's going on. I will try to explain what happened last week but before reaching to this point, i'll try to brief the background of the political status since the revolution because we can't judge the current events without looking on the history.
I put links of old posts that give more details about certain events.

Before 25 Jan 2011
Egypt political scene was far from democratic although it was under the name of democracy. Police & media, were under control of the state to serve those who are in charge. Elections were frauded, people were not interested in politics except for a few brave who tried to fight for more democracy risking everything.
Providing for a family was a big challenge, a lot of unemployment, lack of good education, high cost of living, lack of medical service.
The gap between the rich and the poor increased year over year, in summary, no social justice

25 January 2011 (18 days of revolution)
The calls for protests started on facebook and spread widely. It was first to protest against police, in commemoration of Khaled Said who was killed by police brutality then claimed he committed suicide.
The protests called "change, freedom, social justice". It started on the 25th then the biggest day, the 28th (Friday of Rage), were the security forces faced the big crowds with brutality, killing a lot. Police stations were attacked that night, some thugs made roberies to create chaos & terror after the police deserted the streets, then the army took over to control secuity.
The regime made all it could to stay in power till Moubarak stepped down in 11 February.
For more details on this period check the following post: We all woke up :)

Referendum 19 March 2011
The referendum was on several closes, including to work first on constitution or elections (parliamentary & presidential). This was a big mistake by the SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) who were in charge at that time. It created the first disagreement between people. Some "so called" islamists were preaching and asking people to vote Yes to go to heaven. It was the first time to see politicians mixing religion to steet the public opinion towards a certain direction.
In my opinion, the constitution should have been put first because it is the contract to govern how everything will work. A problem, we had to discover later, in the hardest way.

Mohamed Mahmoud Clashes - November 2011
Clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud Street just beside Tahrir Square. The ministry of interior (MOI) is close but is not in this street, however they were defending it from the protestors. These clashes left deads & injured, many young people lost their sights.

25 January 2012
SCAF was still ruling. After one year from revolution, still no one was tried for killing the protesters. The retribution of martyrs was not yet achieved. Military trials of civilians were still on-going, among which many innocent people.
People went in the streets to protest against SCAF while the Muslim Brotherhood were partying in Tahrir Square. They had already won majority of seats in the parliament although before elections they said they won't compete for all seats (not keeping their words as always).
My account regarding that day 25 Jan reloaded

Presidential Elections June 2012
After more than a year, came the time to elect a president. At that time, still no constitution so the job description of the president was not yet defined. If for example we will have a complete presidential system or parliamentary one or mix of both.
There were 2 rounds, the 2 winners from the 1st round were Mohamed Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood) although before elections again they said the won't compete at all & Ahmed Shafik (the last appointed Prime Minister before Moubarak stepped down, and before that Minister of Aviation and on top a miliary).
Without going into details, people voted mainly for the one just cos they didn't want the other to win.
Official results were close, as Morsi won but 51.73%. Some claims that there were some frauds and actually Shafik won but they had to announce Morsi as winner because the MB had threatened in case Shafik won to retaliate in streets.
My thoughts, just before the 2nd round Egypt's Presidential elections 2012

6 October Celebration 2012
Every year, 6 of October victory is celebrated. That year, Morsi invited people, who mostly turned out to be his supporters to the indoor stadium. Not only that but among the guests was one of the people who was charged of the murder of President Sadat that won the war in 1973. How ironic.
Also Morsi made a speech about his 100 days of ruling. He talked with numbers that didn't reflect the reality like solving the traffic issue or security problems.

Presidential decree of 22 November 2012
Out of nowhere, Morsi made a presidential decree giving him more powers, not to be accounted for any decisions he took or will take. He dismissed the current general prosecutor and appointed a new one. Some people were already asking to dismiss this general prosecutor but the way it was done and the direct appointment of another one raised questions.There was a crisis between the judges and the president.
Also, at by that time the constitutional court had disolved the parliament as the election law was unconstitutional. The same for the Shoura council but as it was making the constitution Morsi in his decree made it not to be disovled.
This presidential decree was the turning point to reunite opposition. It was the point that made a clear separation between the 2 camps, those with the president and those against him.
Million of people went in the streets, in Cairo and elsewhere.
A sit-in started in front of presidential palace for several days. Unfortunately, pro Morsi attacked the sit-in to disperse the people at a time where few were there and clashes erupted with people killed from both side.
Pro Morsi detained some of the protesters and tortured them according to the testimony of the detainees after they were sent to the police. They were afterwards released and as a reward by the general prosecutor, the one who made this decision was transfered to another city and those who committed the tortures and detention were not charged.
More details in this post: Tahrir Square is back

30 June 2013 - 3 July 2013
Biggest demonstrations i've ever seen. Millions of people all over the streets saying just "leave" to Morsi. 22 million people signed the "tamarod" (rebellion) form because they thought that after 1 year, Morsi and them MB didn't keep any promise.
Up till that moment, the performance of the government and prime minister was very poor. The ministers chosen were mainly people they, the Muslim Brotherhood trust, not people with the right experience.
Just before the 30th of June, a member of the Jihadists of Gama'a Islameya was appointed governor of Luxor, the same group of people who killed toursits in Luxor in 1997. The newly appointed minister of culture who was not someone from the field started to dismiss people in position like the head of the Cairo Opera House who was actually doing a great job since she took charge of it. The artists, writers and other people started a sit-in in front of the ministry of culture to protest against him.
There were another incident, the killing of Shiite persons few days after a rally with the presence of Morsi to support Syria. In this rally, full of his supporters, one of the speakers made a hatred speach against the Shiite and the president didn't even comment on that as if he approves what was said.
There was political tension with Ethiopia after their decision to build a dam on the Nile which would impact our resource of water in Egypt. The way that Morsi & ministers handled this situation was far below what should have been done and they failed to contain this crisis.
Army gave Morsi an ultimatum of 48 hours to solve the problematic issues with the opposition. Before that there were the Army asked Morsi the same thing but nothing changed.
The 3rd of July, Al- Sissy, minister of defense and head of the army announced the deposition of Morsi putting him under house arrest and the decisionn of the interim president, the head of the supreme court.
Details about these events: Egypt is back!!! & Just few thoughts

14 August 2013
The dispersal of the 2 sit-ins of pro-Morsi in Rabaa El Adawya & El-Nahda took place. The sit-ins started after Morsi was deposed. Some people supported Morsi because he is the democratically elected president and their votes should be respected, other because they didn't want to go back to military rule.
There were reports that there were arms with some people in the sit-ins. Earlier in July, some pro-Morsi who were in the sit-ins of El-Nahda near Cairo University attacked citizens in Ben El- Sarayat and Manial leaving dead and injured. Some of the testimonies were horrific. This doesn't mean that all supporters are armed and want to perform violence but at the same time, it shows there was threats on people lives at some point.
There were on-going talks to solve the sit-in problems but with no results. One of the MB leaders announced on stage of Rabaa that the violence in Sinai (attacks on army & police) would stop if Morsi is returned back as president.
There was exchange of fire between security forces & some of the protesters. There were people who died on that day, many of them innocent and they were standing there for their believes to have a democratic country and also from the police forces. There are testimonies accusing both sides of use of force, accounts of protesters armed firing at the security forces and the security forces using arms in response. The dispersal of the sit-in started by the announcement that people should leave, then by tear gas. The one in Nahda took around 2 hours with no catualties. The one in Rabaa was till the night and with lot of killed people.
But at the same time, after the move of security forces to disperse the sit-in, police stations, churches and other government buildings were attacked in many cities to try to turn it into chaos.
So, the state of emergency is declared, up till now. Actually Egypt was under state of emergency for the last 30 years until it was removed recently. Also a curfew in many cities is on-going till now.
There were some demonstrations by pro-Morsi few days later and some of the people were armed as caught in cameras.
To argue that the sit-ins should be dispersed or not, whether force was used wrongly or it was the right thing to do will take us into long discussions and arguments.
Unfortunately, the media is not showing everything and some of them are focusing on one-side only. The government of the different countries are acting upon their own interests.
The people in Egypt are divided in 2 camps calling each other traitor and lot of people now hate more and more anything related to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The situation now is very complicated and it is bad that we had to reach this point but in order to go beyond this, we need all to unite together and see the bigger picture. People lost trust in each other and it will take time to regain it but at least we need to have faith that at the end most of us, want to have a better country although we argue about the ways to do it.

I know that in this post i didn't state all events that occured. I tried to give a glimpse but there are many details since the revolution has started.
There are no angels and everybody from all sides made mistakes. I believe that anyone who made a mistake, should be punished accordingly because at the end we want a country that is based on justice where everybody has equal rights. After all the revolution started with "Bread, Liberty, Human Dignity & Social Justice". 

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