‘I will never give you peace’ an artist writes beside picture of Mubarak and candidates
“The revolution is dead,’’ said Omnia Nabil, 24, holding an Egyptian flag among protesters in the square outnumbered by vendors peddling revolutionary paraphernalia. Still, she added: “I will vote for the devil before I vote for the Muslim Brotherhood.’’
Egyptians voted on Saturday in the first free presidential election in their history that for many poses an unpalatable choice between a military man who served deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak or an Islamist who says he is running for God.
CAIRO — On Friday, Tahrir Square stood relatively empty, sapped of the spirit and optimism of the 2011 revolution that made it possible for Egyptians to choose their own president for the first time in history.
Only a few bedraggled demonstrators turned out to protest the latest turn in Egypt’s turbulent journey — the court-ordered dissolution of parliament. Honking cars inched past symbolic tombs honoring protesters slain by security forces. With presidential balloting to begin Saturday, people on the sweltering streets looked fatigue and numb.
Young, secular, a veteran of the protest in Tahrir Square. And now this? The Establishment candidate backed by the same military cabal that put Mubarak into power, and kept him there, and the oppsoition, a proponent of sharia lawyer. The Establishment status quo ante while the Brotherhood represents religious intolerance. This outcome was predictable.
CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers moved to consolidate power Friday on the eve of the presidential runoff election, shutting down the Islamist-led Parliament, locking out lawmakers and seizing the sole right to issue laws even after a new head of state takes office.
The generals effectively abandoned their previous pledge to cede power to a civilian government by the end of the month, prolonging the increasingly tortuous political transition after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year. The power play has also darkened the prospects that Egypt, the most populous Arab state and one that historically has had tremendous influence on the direction of the region, might quickly emerge as a model of democracy for the Middle East.
Leading article: Darkness starts to fall on the Egyptian spring
Monday 04 June 2012
The verdict on Hosni Mubarak could not have come at a worse time. Discontent was already rumbling in Egypt before the conclusion of the trial of the former dictator. And although the aim was to draw a line under the past, clearing the air for the first presidential election since the fall of the regime 16 months ago, the ruling has, instead, only added to the sense of a hard-fought revolution slipping away.
Judge Ahmed Refaat may have made the right noises, celebrating the end of “30 years of darkness” and lauding “the sons of the nation who rose up peacefully for freedom and justice”. But Mr Mubarak’s crime was ruled to be one of omission – in failing to stop the violence that claimed more than 800 lives – rather than the graver offence of ordering it. Meanwhile, the former President and his two sons were acquitted of corruption charges and, worse, six lesser officials on trial for their parts in the bloodshed walked free.
Despite all the understandably outraged demonstrations that followed, the symbolic value of the trial cannot be wholly overlooked. For an Arab leader to be brought to book, by a domestic court, is a seminal moment, not only for Egypt but for the entire region. Neither is the relative leniency of a life sentence to be lamented. It would have been unseemly and inhumane to sentence to death so old and ill a man as Mr Mubarak, who attended court strapped to a hospital bed and suffered some further crisis following the verdict. But while the prosecution case may indeed have been weak, and the trial legally fair, the outcome cannot but foster suspicions that the old regime has been at best decapitated, not truly dismantled.
Such misgivings are far from new. Sporadic protests since the fall of the Mubarak regime have been put down with force. The interim military council has also failed to instigate much-needed reforms of either the judiciary or the police, and minimal effort has been made to find those responsible for last year’s violence.
Even last week’s watershed moment – the expiry of Mr Mubarak’s three-decade state of emergency – may not be all it seems. There is little sign that detainees held under the now-defunct law will be released, and the tribunals convened to try protesters continue. On all counts, therefore, the military has crimped the high hopes of the revolution, and hints that it will play an overbearing role in defining the newly elected President’s powers are further cause for concern.
It is for the presidential elections that the verdict on Mr Mubarak and his henchmen has the profoundest implications. To the disappointment of many of the young, liberal protesters who led last year’s demonstrations, the run-off in two weeks’ time is between two candidates who personify the divide between the old guard and the Islamists they fought to transcend.
The choice was never a comfortable one, and it is Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, who gains most now. His opponent, Ahmed Shafik, had hoped to benefit from liberals’ wariness of Islamism in any form. But the offices of the former Mubarak-era Prime Minister were attacked in the aftermath of the weekend’s verdict; and amid speculation that he might, as President, pardon his former boss, Mr Morsi spoke out for the protesters and vowed to retry the acquitted officials.
The prospect of an Islamist President remains a disconcerting one, for all Mr Morsi’s alleged commitment to freedom of expression and women’s rights. But what Egypt needs above all else is a government with sufficient credibility to deal with the country’s growing economic problems and to heal the social fractures caused by 30 years of despotic misrule. With protesters returning once again to Tahrir Square, that need is greater than ever.
Egypt Reimposes Martial Law, Ahead of Closely Watched Ruling
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: June 13, 2012
CAIRO — The military-led government issued a decree on Wednesday reimposing martial law ahead of an anticipated court ruling that could delay the presidential election scheduled for this weekend and the promised transition to civilian authority.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court unexpectedly announced last week that it would rule Thursday on a legal challenge to the legitimacy of the presidential elections — two days before a scheduled runoff between Mohamed Morsi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, and Ahmed Shafik, former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister. The announcement’s timing has stirred speculation here that the court might invalidate the first round of the elections and require a revote.
Legal experts say the court’s ruling is impossible to predict. But during his final years in office, Mr. Mubarak packed the court with loyalists in anticipation of presidential elections then scheduled for 2011. Many judges are believed to be suspicious of the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that dominates the Parliament.
When the foreign minister recently announced the results of votes already cast by more than 220,000 Egyptians abroad, the Brotherhood candidate had a three-to-one lead over Mr. Shafik. Ordering a revote of the first round might decrease the chances of a Brotherhood victory.
The court is also expected to rule on a separate case that could mean the temporary suspension of Parliament, undermining another step in Egypt’s shaky transition to democracy. That case challenges technical details about how seats in Parliament have been filled, and it could require new elections for as much as a third of the total number of seats.
The decisions will be the latest in a series of judicial intercessions in the elections held under the military-led government. Less than a month before the first round of presidential voting, a panel of judges overseeing the election knocked out three of the most popular candidates on technical grounds. It set aside for review legislation barring Mr. Shafik from running because of his senior role under Mr. Mubarak.
It is that decision that the constitutional court will revisit on Thursday. Legal advisers to the court have said it could disqualify Mr. Shafik on technical grounds involving the standing of the election authorities, and experts said his disqualification would almost certainly require a revote.
By Wednesday night the military had deployed several armored personnel carriers as well as trucks packed with hundreds of soldiers around the courthouse in anticipation of protests.
The timing of the announcement on martial law added to speculation that the generals might retain control beyond the scheduled handing over of power after the weekend election. The Justice Ministry granted military officers the right to arrest civilians for trial in military courts until the ratification of a new constitution. The new powers appeared to replace a law allowing arrests without trial that expired two weeks ago.
“It is formalizing the expansion of the powers of the military that we have seen over a year and a half,” since the generals took control, said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Robert Fisk: Hosni Mubarak has fallen. Assad clings on. Yet the fate of their nations is anyone’s guess
The Long View: They can say Shafik’s rule would be ‘a more ferocious version of a police state than that under Mubarak’
Robert Fisk Monday 04 June 2012
There is nothing so bad as a journalist in the wrong place at the wrong time. So here I was in Cairo, covering the trial of Hosni Mubarak, arriving from Lebanon – where 15 people have just died – while Bashar al-Assad pops up on my television screen yesterday to say that his army was not responsible for the massacre at Houla a week ago. And there was Assad, talking of the most serious crisis since the end of colonialism. Well, you can say that again.
And I don’t feel a lot happier. Ahmed Shafik, the Mubarak loyalist, has the support of the Christian Copts, and Assad has the support of the Syrian Christians. The Christians support the dictators. Not much of a line, is it?
On Saturday, the dictator of Egypt was sentenced to life. On Sunday, the dictator of Syria fought for his life. And he said – he warned, he threatened – that his war could extend to other countries. And we all know what that means. The future of the Lebanese city of Tripoli is in doubt. Not long ago, a Lebanese friend said to me that she feared for her country if Assad was in danger. Now I know what she means.
These are bad times for the Arab “spring” or awakening. In Yemen, there are bad times – the government helping the US drone attacks on al-Qa’ida operatives. In Egypt, there are Americans who want to support Shafik. Yet in the country’s Al Ahram daily, editors are free to say that the first reaction of Shafik’s spokesman to the presidential election is that “the revolution has ended”. And they can write that Shafik’s rule would be “a much more ferocious version of a police state than what was under the second half of Mubarak’s three-decade rule”. The paper spoke of “endless sacrifices of young men and women so that all of Egypt, those who took part in the revolution, those who sympathised with it, and those who opposed it, can have a better life whereby violations will not remain the norm”. Could I have read anything like this under Mubarak?
But could I have read anything like this in Lebanon? Is Lebanon not serious about freedom? Is Yemen? The fact is that the Arabs are waking up – which is why I prefer the Arab “awakening” to the Arab “spring”. And I think Syria is “awakening”. Now, President Assad said yesterday that his country’s “security” is a “red line” and implied – only implied, mind you – that the war in Syria (and he called it a war) could topple over into a neighbouring state (for which, read Lebanon). And so I am worried about Lebanon and the Alawites in Lebanon who support Assad, who deserve better.
But I am also aware that the Shafik warriors, those in Washington who want Shafik to restore Egypt’s old relationship with Israel, those who want, in effect, to restore Mubarak’s dictatorship, to recreate the old paradigm (Mubarak “stability” versus the old fear of Muslim Brotherhood), will want to pump up Christian fears and frighten the West with the awfulness of “Muslim fundamentalism”, will pop up their heads again as surely as Assad. And as the Republicans close in on Obama, will they not show their love for Mubarak’s last Prime Minister?
But maybe we shall have to live, perhaps, with Mohamed Morsi as the next President of Egypt, a Muslim Brother, a man who will have to show that a Muslim government can actually run an economy, can tame corruption (or cannot, as the case may be) as the Muslim government of Algeria should have been allowed to do in 1991. I’m not sure.
But let’s go back to Lebanon. Its press is free. Its people are. It got shot of Syria in 1995 (albeit at the cost of an ex-Prime Minister’s life). It can look over the border to Syria to see how democratic and free its nation is. And – dare one say this? – poor Syria. It doesn’t deserve the pain and massacres it is enduring. Its President is claiming that international conspiracies are destroying his country. Given Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s interest in helping the resistance, he may be right. And weapons are certainly entering Syria from Lebanon.
So here’s a bad omen from Cairo. Shafik may win – though Mubarak’s trial may prove otherwise. Assad may fail – though I fear the civil war of which Kofi Annan speaks. And Lebanon will live. Maybe I should fly back tomorrow.
June 5, 2012
Special Dispatch No.477
Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Sallah: Implementing Religious Law Will Make Egypt the Mightiest Country in World, Richer Than Sweden
Muhammad Sallah: “[In the West] they want to clone the civil strife that has afflicted Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Afghanistan. Yet the Islamic world has not collapsed. They have realized that the collapse of the Islamic world must begin in Egypt. Be sure not to allow any room for civil strife to afflict this country. If civil strife afflicts Egypt, it will spell the death of Islam. I say this loud and clear.
“If you consider all the triumphs over the oppressors and infidels in modern times – they were all achieved under Egyptian commanders. In Afghanistan, with the help of the Arab mujahideen, they brought down the Soviet Union. The commanders of the Arab mujahideen were from Egypt. When the first Arab mujahideen reached Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, they defeated Serbia. That’s right, my dear brothers. When the first mujahideen reached Libya, they improved the military equipment there, they defeated and toppled Al-Qadhafi.
“Now Syria pleads for your help. It pleads for Egypt to save it from Bashar. This is proof that the collapse of Egypt would spell the collapse of the Islamic world, and the success of Egypt would mean the success of the Islamic world.
“Your country is the Mother of the World, where the best of soldiers are. The [West] does not want this courageous people to enjoy stability or security. […]
“You are wrong in your assessment that if Islam comes to power, people’s hands will be chopped off. This would mean that we are thieves. Are we really thieves? They say that Islam will stone people. This would mean that we are fornicators. Are we really fornicators? They say that people’s hands and feet on alternate sides will be chopped off. This would mean that we have committed hiraba. But we are not like that. This people rejects sin and rebels against tyranny. The shari’a of Allah is the way to resolve crises. […]
“If we accept the demands of Allah and implement His laws, we will live according to His words: ‘If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, we should have opened for them all kinds of blessings from heaven and earth.’
“The best proof of this is Saudi Arabia. Abraham said [to Allah]: ‘My Lord, I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, near Thy Sacred House.’ But this ‘valley without cultivation’ exports wheat, this ‘valley without cultivation’ received bounty from the skies. Thus, airplanes carrying pilgrims in their millions have landed there. The people in that country live a life of plenty, after having lived a life of hardship, poverty, and deprivation. The land gives forth minerals and petroleum, and it has become one of the wealthiest countries. Why? It is thanks to the law of Allah.
“If a country with no potential for wealth can live in such abundance and joy, it is needless to say what would become of a country full of natural resources, if it implemented the law of Allah. By Allah, [Egypt] would be the mightiest nation of the world. It would be richer than Sweden, and its per capita income would be higher than any European country. Hence, our enemies do not want us to have stability, prosperity, or security, and they are constantly instigating civil strife, which afflicts the people like wildfire. “Therefore, you must be vigilant. Be vigilant.” [...]
‘Muslim Brotherhood will Terrorize Christians,’ Warns Candidate
Presidential candidate Shafiq hits Muslim Brothers twice: “They think Palestine’s the capital of Egypt, would intimidate Christians.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/3/2012, 7:07 PM
Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq hit hard at the Muslim Brotherhood on two fronts Sunday, warning that an Islamist victory will lead to terrorizingChristians and accusing the Brotherhood of trying to make “Palestine” the central issue for Egyptians.
Shafiq was a close aide to ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the Brotherhood took the offensive after Saturday’s life sentence for Mubarak, instead of death, and the acquittal of his two sons regarding their involvement in the murder of hundreds of protesters last year.
Egyptians will go the polls in two weeks to vote for Shafiq or Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi.
In an unusually sharp attack, Shafiq accused the Brotherhood of acting as if “Palestine is the capital of Egypt.” He said that Egyptians face several domestic issues that should not be overshadowed by the status of the Palestinian Authority, whose Hamas faction was founded by the Brotherhood.
“Don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood control Egypt and take it to the dark ages,” Shafiq declared.
“I represent a secular state… the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness,” he said.
Shafiq, Brotherhood Attack One Another As Runoff Approaches
Days before the presidential runoff in Egypt, candidate Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood sharpen their attacks on one another.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/11/2012, 6:15 AM
Days before the presidential runoff in Egypt, presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood sharpened their attacks on one another on Sunday.
According to a report in the Egypt Independent, Shafiq started the round by accusing the Brotherhood of paying thugs to attack his campaignheadquarters in Cairo last month.
Speaking during a news conference, Shafiq, a former air force commander, said, “They [the Brotherhood] insist on using dirty methods,” adding, “I am an independent candidate backed by no party or group. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate is backed by his group and supported by an undeclared organization.”
The runoff presidential election is slated for June 16 and 17 and will pit Shafiq, who was former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi.
The Egypt Independent, reported that later in the day, the Brotherhood accused Shafiq of telling “huge lies” and said he did nothing to stop a notorious charge on protesters in what has come to be known as the “Battle of the Camel” during the January 2011 uprising.
The group said in a statement that Shafiq’s lies aim to tarnish the Brotherhood’s image and mislead voters so that they either do not vote for Mursi or boycott the runoff altogether.
The statement also denounced Shafiq for accusing the Brotherhood of killing demonstrators in the Battle of the Camel, saying it is well-known that Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party orchestrated the attack in order to thwart the revolution.
The incident they referred to took place days before Mubarak stepped down, when men riding camels and horses charged demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
“Shafiq was a member of the dissolved [National Democratic] Party and prime minister at the time of this massacre, but did not do anything about it except apologize for it,” the Brotherhood statement said, adding that the revolution would not have succeeded had the Brotherhood not defended Tahrir and its demonstrators during that battle.
Thousands of people demonstrated in Egypt last Friday to demand that Shafiq be banned from the runoff. Shafiq, meanwhile, pledged he would uphold freedoms in a press conference.
“Public squares will be free and secure for expression,” he said. “I promise you, no youth will be arrested for political activities.”
Shafiq previously hit hard at the Muslim Brotherhood, warning that an Islamist victory will lead to terrorizing Christians and accusing the Brotherhood of trying to make “Palestine” the central issue for Egyptians.
In an unusually sharp attack, Shafiq accused the Brotherhood of acting as if “Palestine is the capital of Egypt.” He said that Egyptians face several domestic issues that should not be overshadowed by the status of the Palestinian Authority, whose Hamas faction was founded by the Brotherhood.
“Don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood control Egypt and take it to the dark ages,” Shafiq declared. “I represent a secular state… the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness.”
Jun 13, 5:57 PM EDT
Mud-slinging campaign overshadows Egypt elections
By SARAH EL DEEB
CAIRO (AP) — In Egypt’s highly polarizing presidential campaign, both sides have been going for the jugular. Wild accusations have been flying, and Egyptians are seeing a return of old tricks that went on under the table during Hosni Mubarak’s regime, now used without inhibition.
The campaign, in its final hours Wednesday ahead of the weekend election, is between Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi.
Behind them another competition is going on, between the deeply entrenched police state and their traditional rivals, the Islamists. Shafiq has drawn from what he suggested was information from within the security agencies in hopes of discrediting the Brotherhood, accusing it for example of killing protesters during the anti-Mubarak uprising.
In support of Morsi, meanwhile, Islamists have been fanning out to mosques, telling congregations Shafiq is against Islam, is cozying up to the Christian minority and is perpetuating corruption.
In this foreboding atmosphere, revolutionary groups are escalating calls for a boycott of the election, which they say will only recreate the old regime and do little to resolve the messiness of the transition overseen by the military generals.
Ramy Yacoub, a 29-year-old liberal politician who says he will vote for neither in the upcoming elections, said both are “two sides of the same coin. .. They are both shooting bullets.”
Yacoub said the campaigning has been marred by mud-slinging typical of the “primitive electoral culture” Egypt is experiencing during the first competitive presidential vote in its modern history.
“Neither deserves my vote because neither represents what I stand for,” he said. “We know we lost the short term battle. In the long term, this is all on the record” to use against whoever wins.
Shafiq, a 70-year-old former air force commander who served as Mubarak’s last prime minister but was removed in the face of protests not long after Mubarak fell, has made it his main platform to attack the Brotherhood, stoking fears of the group’s lust for power. He accused them of wanting to take Egypt back to the Dark Ages, sidelining Christians and women and trying to reap alone the benefit of a revolution launched primarily by secular youth and later joined by the Brotherhood.
His campaign took a higher pitch this month when he accused the Brotherhood of being behind the killing of the protesters in one of the most iconic moments of last winter’s uprising. In a TV interview and later at a press conference, Shafiq claimed “bearded men” on rooftops were the ones firing at protesters during the Battle of the Camels.
The worst and deadliest clashes in the uprising occurred on Feb. 2 when pro-regime thugs on camels and horses and armed with swords and whips waded into crowds of protesters who had been holding a sit-in Tahrir Square since Jan. 28. The clashes, which lasted for two days, saw protesters battling off attackers firing on them from nearby bridges and buildings overlooking the square. The Medieval-style battle proved a turning point, winning the protesters wider popular support.
The accusations caused outrage and were dismissed as a slander by many supporters of the revolution, who consider the Camel Battle as a symbol of the steadfastness of protesters, including the Brotherhood who played a major role in the defense of the sit-in.
A group of 25 former regime officials are on trial, accused of organizing the attack. Shafiq said his claims were based on conversations with military and security and referred to footage from military helicopters from above the square. In a rare move, the intelligence service issued a statement distancing itself from Shafiq’s allegations and saying it accuses no one faction in the violence against protesters.
Shafiq was called in to testify in the court hearings following his remarks and is due to appear in court on Thursday.
In another twist from security sources that clearly boosts Shafiq, security officials in north Sinai also accuse Palestinian Islamist factions and other jihadi groups of infiltrating into Egypt and occupying mosques to campaign for Morsi. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Security officials in Cairo have not commented on the claims.
Morsi campaigners call such claims “black propaganda” against their candidate driven by the machine of the old regime. Yasser Ali, a campaign manager for Morsi, said they have detected up to 30 different “rumors” a day against their candidate, their group or supporters.
Parts of Mubarak’s old political machine have also geared up for Shafiq. Amr Ezzat, a columnist who is also an active campaigner for rights and freedom of expression, said his father – the head of a public sector company – was asked by former ruling party figures in his Cairo neighborhood in Imbaba to participate in a pro-Shafiq rally. The father turned them down, Ezzat said.
“This is their traditional way of operating,” Ezzat, who is also boycotting the vote, told The Associated Press.
“Now people in big posts are feeling threatened, they fear they will be replaced or investigated for corruption. Many of those in high posts who were in close contacts with ministers or the political class are afraid that these corruption files would be opened if the leadership is changed. It is in their interest to have this network return.”
In a sign of the election-season bitterness, Ezzat had a falling out with a friend, once a rights campaigner like himself who joined the Shafiq campaign.
In a long and profane blog post, Ezzat took his friend to task, saying he sold out his ideas by backing a representative of the old regime.
“When will you stop whoring yourself out?” he wrote – echoing the phrase his father used to refuse the ruling party members.
Shafiq’s accusations have won some sympathy for the Brotherhood even among leftist and secular revolutionary groups who had grown critical of the group, which they feel sold out hopes for deeper change after Mubarak’s fall and has been more concerned with making political gains.
Ezzat, himself disillusioned with the Brotherhood’s performance, is disgusted by how low the campaign has gone, a sign that the post-election era will be equally nasty.
“The debased dialogue is a reflection of a debased situation that we are going through – to accuse the revolutionaries of killing one another?” said Ezzat. “I can’t have a dialogue with that.”
But the Brotherhood has also relied on its arsenal of clerics and Islamic leaders and mosques to attack Shafiq. The group denies it is orchestrated. But an activist in a local Cairo neighborhood who is connected to Brotherhood members said the group made plans to retaliate on the war against it by resorting to mosque preachers from their more radical supporters, the Salafis.
In their sermons, preachers have been drumming up fear of Shafiq’s overtly secular campaign slogans.
Videos are circulating with clips from Shafiq interviews in which he advocates including texts from the Bible in school curriculums to balance the presence of Quranic verses. The video depicts the comments as an attack on Islam, proclaiming, “This is a matter of religion. After what you heard you still want to vote for him … What will you tell God on Judgment Day?”
In other anti-Shafiq videos, there are pictures of tortured victims under Mubarak’s security agents, many of them Islamists. Clerics have also denounced voting for Shafiq and said a vote for Morsi is supported by God.
The polarized atmosphere has strengthened calls among many for Egyptians to boycott the vote or cast spoiled ballots in protest. The campaign has been sharply criticized by Brotherhood supporters, who called it “treason” to the revolution.
For Sally Toma, a leading campaigner for the boycott, choosing a new president will not resolve the more serious problems she and thousands others revolted against. Neither Morsi nor Shafiq, she says, have a place in her dream for deeper change.
In the boycott campaign, she sees the creation of an empowered opposition to whoever comes next.
“No one will die if Morsi and Shafiq come. They are both just secretaries. One with a beard and another in a military uniform,” she said.
Robert Fisk: In Cairo, they know revolutions don’t always pan out quite as they wanted
Is Hosni Mubarak’s ghost going to be reinstalled, substituting a security state in place of democracy?
ROBERT FISK WEDNESDAY 06 JUNE 2012
Does a “deep state” exist in Egypt? I’ve been asking myself that in the streets of Cairo as more and more people – doormen, shopkeepers, policemen’s families and taxi drivers – express their support for “Stability Shafik”, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister who watched his former boss jailed for life on Saturday. Ahmed Shafik says he stands for stability. A spot of security on the streets – and now the young people of the 25 January revolution are asking what happened to them. Some of their cartoons are funny. The one where Mubarak’s face morphs into Shafik’s – via the all-powerful Field Marshal Tantawi – is a cracker. The young sometimes seem to be the only Egyptians leftwith a sense of humour – until you talk to them. And they speak of betrayal.
Is Mubarak’s ghost going to be reinstalled, substituting a security state in place of a democracy? That’s what many of the protesters are asking in Tahrir Square ahead of the second round of presidential elections on 16 and 17 June.
Shafik has already sectarianised the run-off by saying that his challenger, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, would have Egypt’s capital in Jerusalem – a clear dig at Morsi’s links with Hamas and Israel’s fears of an Islamist government, though Shafik might have said Morsi wanted the Egyptian capital in Mecca. That would frighten the Saudis. Under Shafik, the Egyptian capital will remain Cairo. It’s all a bit rhetorical. But how did all these Egyptians suddenly come to regard Morsi as a dangerous man? Is the crusty old dictator’s security regime still in action? They were, after all, past masters of the fraudulent vote. A little tinkering here and there – especially in the villages of Upper Egypt – and we might see Shafik safely installed.
“Do you think we had a democratic election?” a lady from Al-Watan newspaper asked me in Cairo. “Do you really think so?” She obviously didn’t think I did. Then I’m chatting to a very prominent Egyptian reporter and the questions come thick and fast. “Isn’t there a ‘deep state’, can the security apparatus not fix the election by using all their old agents?” And yes, why can’t the guys who handled Mubarak’s witless polls not put the word out that Morsi is too dangerous to have around.
And then there are the cops who’ve got away with it; the sniper, for example, who shot demonstrators in the eye and whose picture was actually printed in the Cairo press but who has never been arraigned. Not a single police thug has been charged with attempted murder. I even heard from a reliable source that a policeman imprisoned under the Mubarak regime for brutalising a Cairo man served his sentence and then emerged to be reappointed and promoted. And he’s still there. Why has not a single “baltagi” plainclothes criminal been arrested for beating and killing demonstrators?
Then there’s the obvious question of who Washington would like to see in power. The brotherhood? Surely not. However democratic he claims to be, Barack Obama doesn’t want Morsi installed in Cairo before his own presidential election.
So think of the demonstrators in Cairo who still want their revolution honoured, who believe the Mubarak regime has got off too lightly. New trials for the Mubarak clan? Unlikely, of course. But revolutions don’t always pan out quite as we want. Past revolutions come to mind: France and Russia. Revolutionaries are always demanding security against foreign plots. It’s all about questions right now. And the Egyptians want to ask them before they get the “security” some people think they deserve.