The fall of Egyptian dictator Husni Mubarak was welcomed by me, since I was convinced the former general assassinated Anwar Sadat, who was another general. The selection of Muhammad Morsi I hailed as the first time voters got a real choice.
While I lived in Cairo, Mr. Sadat ruled from the presidential throne; the elections were somewhere near 90 percent in his favor. The American-educated Morsi seemed ideal. He headed the Muslim Brotherhood that saw birth while the English occupied Egypt. I always thought of al-Ikhwan, al-Muslimi, in Arabic, as nationalistic and their struggles under the generals, since 1952, as fighting for freedom. The Islamist element I ignored.
On the other hand, Christian Coptics I knew when I was in the land of the Nile complained to me, as an American journalist. Near to their Cairo headquarters, there was a blaring loudspeaker that broadcast the muezzin’s prayers. Frankly, I concentrated more on the military threats than to worry about sharia; the Islamic laws becoming the legal code with the fun-loving Egyptians, whom I saw all around.
In my November 23 TheTentacle.com column “Eyeless in Gaza,” along with the world, I heaped favorable adjectives on Mr. Morsi for settling the murderous 8-days conflict on the strip, which was easy for him: Hamas is an off-shoot of the Brotherhood. It seemed to go to the Egyptian president’s head. While the glow still lingered, he took under himself the powers of a dictator.
The international media responded. Letters to the Editor were written. And noisy crowds jammed Cairo’s Tahrir Square, famous for riots that toppled Mr. Mubarak. Other gatherings appeared, not simply in Alexandria, but in many towns and cities. Pictures appeared in the press and on television to bring to the world the seriousness of the situation.
An Egyptian Facebook friend communicated how she went to the Square; her photographs illustrated the danger. Thank God, she emerged with all her parts intact. An estimated hundreds did not. Twelve died the first day.
Having controlled the government and military, the president abolished the independent judiciary – and the riots developed. He wiped out the nation’s watch-dogs of all things political, leaving him to govern by decree.
Mr. Morsi issued another proclamation this week that said the usurpation of a dictator’s powers were temporary. All during the modern era, after the generals placed King Farouk on his yacht for Italy, the Egyptian people have heard this – to the point of incredulity. During all those years, the Brotherhood’s membership grew – as the party of freedom, mostly from political lies.
Washington has made clucking sounds, but has proposed no cuts from the billions it contributes; that’s fair. Israel receives more money yet it kills Palestinians, as noted in these columns; it continues the decades-old tradition of making America a big sap.
Where Egypt winds up, I have no idea. I have written previously that the very nature of Islam encourages dictators. When I was in Istanbul, I discovered the Blue Mosque’s steps were blocked to preachers, short of the pulpit, which was reserved for the One God, known universally as Allah.
Democracy and republics do not fare well under Islam. Ya hosarra! What a pity!