Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

We’re Sorry, King Farouk | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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File photo of Egyptian King Farouk. (AAA)

I met up with an old friend I had not seen for a long time, he was accompanied—in turn—by another old friend, a doctor visiting from Egypt. It was clear that the Egyptian doctor was not in a good state of mind and his face was filled with fear and worry. I could not help but ask: “What is wrong, brother?”

He answered: “I’m afraid for my country.”

I responded that he was not alone in this and that we are all afraid for Egypt.

The Egyptian doctor then took a deep breath and related the following:

I am very confused about what is happening in my country. The revolution broke out and all the world rushed to wonder at its righteousness and lack of bloodshed and violence, saying that this was a lesson and an inspiration.

Then the elections took place and its results were announced in the midst of controversy as well as loud accusations of election fraud. Despite all this, we accepted the reality of the election results and took the decision to grant President Mohamed Mursi, the Freedom and Justice Party, and the Muslim Brotherhood the benefit of the doubt and move away from suspicion and prejudice.

As for what happened next, I think the most accurate description would be to compare Mursi to a striker in front of goal in a football stadium being cheered on by thousands of fans, only for this striker to turn around and score a calamitous own goal. And not just one own goal, but fifty!

A huge section of Egyptian society is now living in a state of shock as they watch the country being torn apart, particularly in terms of the sanctification of the principle that“if you are not with me, then you are against me”. The picture that they want to promote in a clear and explicit manner is that one side is “sincere, honorable, God-fearing, and pro-revolutionary” while the others are “traitors and remnants [of the former regime]” that must be exposed and confronted.

Egypt has entered a worrying and dangerous era, far away from the prestige of the state—which in itself is under threat—not to mention the confrontation over state institutes, while scenes of protest have become a sad daily occurrence. There is also the worrying economic situation which is becoming increasingly complex and difficult. This is full of terrifying indications, particularly regarding mass unemployment in light of rare, or shall we non-existent, job opportunities. In addition to this, we have a depressing political and security situation, a deteriorating tourism sector, and declining rates of foreign investment. Of course, we also cannot ignore the tumbling strength of the Egyptian pound in comparison to the US dollar and other foreign currencies.

More than this, we have a negative climate that is targeting Egyptian businessmen, along with certain religious and cultural figures. This is all based on legal accusations that are being stirred up once again, destroying the last vestiges of trust and goodwill.

Egypt has been transformed from an icon of hope and the scene of an ideal revolution to the epitome of chaos and lawlessness. This is even more saddening as Egypt possesses a cultural, political, and intellectual heritage that usually produces figures capable of leading the country with distinction.

Egypt has produced unparalleled political figures, genius economists, and exceptional thinkers in all fields, and this only serves to make the caliber of figures on the scene in the country today even more shocking. Egypt, thanks to its history, civilization, culture, and people, is far greater and more prestigious than its politicians would like to acknowledge today. The scene is becoming increasingly sadder and more depressing.

One Egyptian has adeptly summed up the political scene in the country today with a Facebook group entitled “We are sorry, [King] Farouk” about Egypt’s first revolution which deposed the royal family from power.