Photo: AP
Protester at an anti-Morsi rally
Photo: AP

Ahead of protest wave, discontent with Morsi brews

Voices on Egyptian street slam president for regressive measures, failure to improve economy while others claim he needs more time to implement his vision

The first anniversary of Mohammed Morsi's rule is marked in Egypt by a petition calling for the ouster of the president, who was elected in the wake of the popular uprising that achieved the dethronement of autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak, garnering some 18 million signatures. The petition is part of the Tamarod campaign, a new protest movement that has revived the spirits of Egypt's secular opposition.


Meanwhile the Freedom and Justice Party, the legislative body of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced a party activist was killed and 30 others injured in an attack against the group's office in the Nile Delta town of Zakazik on Thursday. The Freedom and Justice Party's website laid the blame for the attack at the door of a Mubarak-supporting opposition group.


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The recent developments are taking place ahead of Sunday's demonstrations, part of the momentum of the Tamarod (Arabic for "rebel") movement. Tamarod activists can be seen on Cairo streets handing out leaflets calling the people to unite and rise again Morsi, whose military is certainly taking the developments seriously enough and are beefing up security of government intuitions and sensitive spots within the Egyptian capital.


Egypt appears more divided than ever. The presidential palace issued a report aiming to cast a positive light on Morsi's first year in office that lists a number of achievements in the fields of economics, tourism, status of women and democracy, yet voices on the ground tell a different story.


הפגנה נגד מורסי בקהיר (צילום: AP)

Protesters at an anti-Morsi rally in Cairo (Photo: AP)


Majadi Hanapi, 21, the editor of the Israel section for independent opposition newspaper Al-Dustour, is prepared to concede Morsi the sole achievement of having divided the Egyptian society to a heretofore unprecedented extent.


"He's unqualified to lead a country such as Egypt and it comes across in deep internal crises, e.g. the diesel crisis, the price hikes and the saga surrounding the ratification of the constitution. Morsi's biggest failure was his treatment of the Sinai crisis: Jihad groups took over the peninsula, which saw kidnappings and killings of Egyptian soldiers," Hanapi told Ynet.


"He has also failed to protect the Nile from such threats as the dam built by Ethiopia. The funny part is that Morsi did succeed in safeguarding Israel's security. There have been no changes in the relations between the two countries during Morsi's rule. The present regime is following in the footsteps of their predecessors in their stance on Israel."


Hanapi admits the people tend to look back wistfully to the Mubarak years, yet refuses to join in with the nostalgia. "We should put our revolution back on track, and the solution to the current situation is an early presidential election which would see all the secular movements stand united against the religious leadership. What's certain is that if Morsi carries on as president we'll all be left in tatters. Maybe a real revolution could bring Morsi down, like the one in 2011."


Mohammed Abed Al Halam, 25, resident of southern Egypt and a trained engineer says he's despairing of failed attempts at finding a livelihood. "I worked in tourism, but now I'm taking odd jobs to make ends meet. And I'm not the only one. This year more people became unemployed as the Muslim Brotherhood have seized the jobs in the civil service."


Al Halam points the finger at Morsi: the reinstatement of the People's Council dissolved by the court, the presidential decree that gave him unlimited power, his rifts with the Supreme Court. He also claimed Morsi shows weakness toward his own group, the Muslim Brotherhood.


"Before Morsi things were much better. We now say it's better to have the 'hell' of the Military Council than Morsi's 'paradise.' At least the military establishment consists of people who think right." In contrast to Hanapi, Al Halam does not believe in another revolution and does not attend protests as he thinks ousting Morsi would put Egypt in an even greater peril and disarray.


Yet there are those who remain faithful to the president. Twenty-year-old Mahmud, a university student in Cairo, says he does not regret voting for Morsi. "I'm happy I voted for him first of all because he works with dedication, and secondly because he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. I really feel Morsi can lead Egypt to better things, especially as he's enjoying the support of the Islamists. Without doubt, the situation before him was even worse."


הפגנה בעד מורסי בקהיר (צילום: AP)

A pro-Morsi rally in Cairo (Photo: AP)


He concedes that Morsi has yet to fulfill his vision fully, yet lists among his achievements things such as the creation of factories in tandem with other countries, and the raise in pensions. "It’s difficult to say whether he failed or succeeded after just one year. There are good tidings, but the people are yet to feel their impact on their lives."


Mahmud is sure Morsi's rule will not be affected by Sunday's protests. "The fall of Morsi is an impossibility, due to his support by the Islamists, and the popular fear of anarchy in the wake of another uprising."


Unlike Hanapi, Mahmud sees differences between Morsi's and Mubarak's respective stances toward Israel. "For instance, Mubarak would have let Israel attack Hamas or Gaza. Morsi, on the other hand, recalled the Egyptian ambassador following Israel's latest military operation, and sent his prime minister to Gaza to pledge his support. There are many differences, yet you should point that on certain things Morsi does not confront Israel. He can get away with it as people regard him as bound by past treaties, and they also understand that Egypt, in its current state, is in condition for conflicts with other countries." 



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פרסום ראשון: 06.28.13, 09:58
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