A response to Mr. Siddiqui regarding the Egyptian REVOLUTION

There are few things that frustrate me in this world. Nothing frustrates me so much as when people ignore important facts.

This frustration is on display in this article by Haroon Siddiqui from the Toronto Star. In it, he writes that apologetics for the Egyptian revolution are offering “lame excuses” for why the Egyptian revolution is a people’s revolution and not a military coup.

From what I see, Mr. Siddiqui turns around and offers some pretty lame excuses for why this is a military coup and not the other way around. I hope he can read this, because he should know that you have to acknowledge all the facts in a scenario, and not just pick and choose the ones that appeal most to your already pre-established opinion.

Let’s start with what should be a seemingly obvious conclusion: in a protest that is backed by “disenchanted youth, discredited functionaries and crony capitalists of the despotic administration of Hosni Mubarak, the Coptic Church and the arch-conservative Islamists known as Salafists, belonging to the Al Nour party, a rival of Morsi’s moderate Muslim Brotherhood”, is this not an indication that a significant portion of the population has spoken up against the ruling Brotherhood?

And, if that’s the case, isn’t it possible to say that there was popular dissatisfaction with Morsi and the Brotherhood, so much as to drive them out in the largest protest in human history? Why are you ignoring this important piece of information?

Perhaps it’s because you’re skeptical that there actually were that many Egyptians out in the streets? OK, that’s fine – I’m willing to accept that. What about the 22 million Egyptians that signed the Tamarod (“Rebel”) Petition demanding early presidential elections in Egypt? Because, you know, if there were that many people who really didn’t want Morsi in office anymore, that’s a pretty significant number to indicate that Egyptians don’t want Morsi anymore! Isn’t that what democracy is about? Why are you and a lot of other media outlets ignoring that information entirely?

There are some problems also with the other things you mentioned in your article, which I quote here and respond to them below:

  1. The situation was chaotic and the economy in ruins — someone had to restore order. That’s the standard excuse for military coups. Besides, the army itself encouraged the undermining of Morsi by Mubarak-era courts, Mubarak-era police and Mubarak-era financiers who backed mass demonstrations. They created the upheavals that killed tourism and stifled the economy.
  2. Morsi only controlled the parliament where his Muslim Brotherhood had nearly half the seats. But the assembly was dismissed by the courts, leaving him only his own elected legitimacy — and that was what was systematically destroyed.
  3. Morsi was partisan and unilateral. He was — but far less so than, say, Stephen Harper and the Republicans in Congress. He appointed no more party loyalists and nincompoops than Harper has to the Senate or other public institutions.
  4. Morsi had only a “narrow mandate,” at 52 per cent in a two-way race. But his was a bigger margin than Obama’s. And in multi-party elections, the Brotherhood proportionately won more seats than either Harper’s or David Cameron’s Conservatives.
  5. Morsi was taking orders from the Muslim Brotherhood. He no doubt was but no more so than members of the Congress sing their key funders’ tunes.
  6. He was advancing sharia or he may have been preparing to do so. In fact, he fought off Salafist demands for constitutional guarantees for Islamic law.

Six Reasons that Disprove You, Mr. Siddiqui

1) Ok, let’s get one thing straight here, Mr. Siddiqui: “they” (i.e. army cronies and Mubarak-era officials) did NOT create the upheavals that scared tourism away. You know what it was? It was the fundamentalist, extremist ideas that Islamists and Islamist-minded people had that drove away tourism. The army never forced hotel owners to go alcohol-free and segregate men and women. The army never appointed a terrorist from the 1997 Luxor Massacre as Luxor governor. The army hasn’t played a political role in Egypt since it handed over the reins to Morsi in June 2012.

And when you belittle the economic crisis that came because of Morsi’s rule, that’s an insult to every Egyptian that put their life on hold to go and protest this “incompetent nincompoop”. Try not to belittle the economic crisis that drove people to extreme poverty over the past year, while you sit in your comfortable office writing about this situation. It’s incumbent on you to understand how dire this economic crisis was for some people.

2) If that was such an issue, why didn’t he just call for another election? He probably wouldn’t have been in this situation if he had an elected government to hold him to account. Either way, you just admitted that the assembly would’ve been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (whom you also admitted were giving orders to Morsi). Since that was the case, how can it be said that Morsi was going to be held to account by a government dominated by the very party that he takes orders from?

3) You just indicated that Morsi was less evil than Stephen Harper. Sir, I’m not even a fan of Stephen Harper, and I’m insulted on his behalf. Morsi was hell-bent on power, and he was part of a fascist organization that has expressed, on numerous occasions, that political Islam is its ultimate goal. Whatever your convictions are of Mr. Harper, surely they can never be equated with Morsi!

4) Just because Morsi’s voting margin was bigger than Obama’s or Cameron’s, doesn’t mean that he was more popular. Egypt is coming out of literally DECADES without a proper election, it doesn’t have clear electoral laws, it doesn’t have an independent election commission, and there are literally MILLIONS of allegations of voting fraud in every election held in Egypt since the dawn of time. And even if it was a clean, transparent election, so what? Dictators have been brought to power through large voting margins also. Democracy is about more than just winning at the ballot box. By sticking to this argument, you’re repeating what Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been saying in Egypt for the past week, and what many opponents have mockingly dubbed “Sandooqrateya” – Democracy by the ballot box only.

5) Even if that’s true (which is not) you’re saying that this is OK? What if the Egyptian people don’t want their president to be taking orders from an unelected official – is that such a foreign concept to you?

6) Now you’re grasping for straws. Even Morsi’s closest allies knew that his number one priority was implementing Shariah law in Egypt. And if you’re seriously in denial about this, go read up about it a little bit more – it’s clear that you haven’t done your research for this claim.

Final Thoughts

I can go on for hours about this, and I have already with some of my close friends. The reason I write about this is because there is a lot of misinformation about what is happening in Egypt. There is a very limited understanding of what has happened and what continues to happen. The government that is currently running things in Egypt is headed by the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court: it is the best option at this point in time, considering that there is no viable opposition (and even if there was, it wasn’t elected). The Supreme Constitutional Court’s mandate by constitutional convention across the world is to take over the decision-making power of the executive in the absence of the President, or if the speaker of the elected legislative body cannot fulfill the duties. Egypt doesn’t have either one right now, and therefore, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court took office.

All I’m asking is that people look at all the facts. My conviction on this situation didn’t arrive because I looked at certain facts and not the others. It came as a result of examining every piece of evidence. I have no interest whatsoever in labeling this event one way or another – this is about getting the facts straight, and not giving Mr. Morsi credit where it’s not due. This is about more than just frustration with his incompetence at governance – it’s about getting the facts straight about EVERYTHING that happened.

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