Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt must take precedence over Mursi | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Egyptian people did not topple their former President Hosni Mubarak just to replace him with another dictator. This is the strong message being put forth by those opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s recent decrees. There is a deeply-held belief that the man has sought to completely seize all executive and legislative powers in an unprecedented manner, exclusively dominating “all authority”, which has prompted some people to call the president the “new pharaoh”. Egyptian people from various categories and backgrounds have taken to streets to stage demonstrations and protests, in order to express their outrage, concern, fear and horror regarding their country’s future.

Those behind the January 25th revolution have once again emerged and raised their voice to say: “Something is happening that makes us horrified and scared for our country’s future. The revolution has been completely hijacked”. It is worth noting that the main impetus behind this new public momentum is the judicial sector, which fundamentally rejected the recent presidential decrees, describing them as the gravest, most dangerous and most serious threat the Egyptian judiciary has ever faced. This is particularly significant given that the judicial sector is an independent entity with considerable weight, importance, influence and credibility.

Egypt is a state with a long history and its institutions have always enjoyed clear powers, although previous regimes often damaged them or left them to stagnate. Nevertheless, such institutions remain the solid foundations to build upon, and we must reform what has been destroyed rather than tear everything down and rebuild from scratch (if this is even possible).

We are facing a tense and inflamed scene: The president is stubbornly sticking to his opinion and is refusing to compromise. Mursi previously suggested that these decrees were only a “temporary” measure, yet this reassurance came after people’s confidence had been shaken, and after the division between him and the people had widened. Now Mursi must prove that he is the president of all Egyptians, rather than just looking out for a specific category or group. In this regard, the president made a big mistake when he delivered his recent speech only in front of his supporters, in the vicinity of his presidential palace, as if it were an election campaign. Yet he was speaking at a time when the Egyptian street is extremely fragile and cannot take many more inflamed sentiments, accusations of “promoting chaos”, or rumors of “remnants” [of the former regime].

Mursi’s miscalculated actions seem to have delivered a powerful blow to the political thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood. It also represents a dire warning of failure to Brotherhood adheres in Kuwait and Jordan in particular. The magnitude of ridicule and concern that has accompanied this recent clamor cannot be reversed, and so all the Brotherhood can do now is try and “polish” their image in the media. Hence they are now preoccupied with protecting their stances and retaining their “self-respect”, rather than rescuing the country, building bridges and correcting mistakes.

President Mursi previously received a solid indication from the major judicial authorities when they objected to his first attempt to dismiss the public prosecutor from his post. Yet the president failed to realize the gravity of his act and has now committed an even graver mistake. We have all seen the consequences, and a huge fireball is rolling endlessly throughout the country. Now we must refrain from stubbornness and uphold the public interest, namely that Egypt must take precedence over Mursi.