Overview of the Past Year

General el-Sisi

On the 30th of June 2013, Egypt witnessed one of its most tremendous demonstrations against any ruler or government. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, one of the 19 Generals of the infamous SCAF, and who has been Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces during the presidency of the former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, was moved by the massive protests, and decided to overthrow the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood by force, since they were not willing to cooperate with the demands of the people by any means necessary.

Back then, General el-Sisi declared that the SCAF did not have any intention other than to protect the country borders, and specifically mentioned that the military taking over the power once again wasn’t part of its plan. A statement which many people, including myself, took for granted, and only a few along with the MB started chanting ‘Down Down with the Military Rule’ right away.

Though the Muslim Brotherhood organization is not to be taken carelessly, it’s one of the most organized and widespread organizations in the Mideast, on which most of its official members rely religiously, financially, and without its significant presence on the surface, those members would suffer big time.

So the MB, along with those in favor of a religiously based country, started demonstrating all over Egypt, and finally chose Rabaa Mosque and its surroundings to be their ‘base’, where they started building camps and lecturing their spectators, holding on to a fine line of hope for Morsi’s government to return; i.e. The electoral legitimacy. But the decision was already made, MB leaders were taken into custody one by one, and the MB organization was gone to a point of no return inside Egypt. Its only residual remained around the Rabaa Mosque area for about 40 days, before being eventually evacuated by force.

After the evacuation took place, dozens of corpses were discovered, covered in white sheets around the Rabaa Mosque area. Some of which were burnt to a degree that makes them unidentifiable. Countless rumors were already spreading, some in favor of the MB, others in favor of the officials who ordered the evacuation. To this day, which side exactly was responsible for this genocide, is still unknown to the public.

Nevertheless, the MB was officially pronounced a terrorist organization by the Egyptian officials, something that rendered new internal conflicts between the Egyptians. Families were torn apart from the very inside out following this announcement. One mother reportedly turned her own son in to the police because he was a member of the MB.

The MB supporters, along with ordinary non-politically oriented people who were merely concerned about the return of a military rule in Egypt, started demonstrating and organizing marches. Some demonstrations were naive enough to demand the return of Mohammed Morsi to the presidency. Others were just demonstrating against the premeditated violence committed against civilians, journalists, and anyone daring to oppose the military coup.

Local media went back to its old habits of polishing the officials, specifically General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was now seen as the savior who managed to free the Egyptians from radical Islam unto salvation. Regardless to el-Sisi’s dark past with Mubarak’s Regime and SCAF, he was suddenly held over shoulders, and was seen as the hero of this epoch.

The reputable Bassem Youssef, who played a huge role in overthrowing the MB, started criticizing these scenes on his satirical TV show Albernameg. He tried hard enough to direct the people to a non-idealizing mentality, one that refuses to create a new dictator, and one that is always anticipating hard work from the current regime towards achieving the goals of the revolution. But after the very first episode following the coup, his contract with the local media channel CBC was ended abruptly, which lead to him moving to a Saudi financed Egyptian channel MBC Masr. When his show continued to air on MBC Masr, he was then heavily criticized by the local media to the extent of being called an infiltrator.

Although el-Sisi was very clear about his and the military’s intention following the coup, that is being only concerned about the crimes committed in the name of religion and far from taking over the rule, he nominated himself for presidency. He, along with the local media, started utilizing the term ‘War on Terror’ in order to gain legitimacy for his actions, that included thousands of unjustified civilian and journalist arrests, not to mention the shooting and killing of protesters that has yet to be stopped.

Almost all youths of the Egyptian nation took the decision to boycott the presidential election, though their reasons slightly differed. Some saw that el-Sisi isn’t qualified to be president due to his lack of experience in the political world. Some simply saw that it wouldn’t be ethical to elect a president whose hands are stained with Egyptian blood. Others, who watched his interviews on local TV, saw how he thinks about serious problems that have been with the Egyptians for decades, such as unemployment, poverty and hunger, with such amateurishness. But most of all, many criticized his lack of concern towards having a presidential program, that he doesn’t seem willing to be obliged to have specific well known goals in his campaign.

Nevertheless, the elections took place but with an extremely low turnout, a turnout that was seen by almost everyone across the country, which made denying it rather difficult, even on the local media. Hence, the supreme electoral committee suddenly announced the second day of elections a national holiday. When that attempt failed to let people contribute, they decided to extend the elections to an extra day, with the local media heavily criticizing those who chose to boycott the elections, and warning them about a 500 Egyptian pounds (70 dollars) fine on everyone boycotting. With all these desperate attempts to let people go and vote, the incidence rate continued to be insignificant.

Surprisingly on the next day, all national news announced the winning of el-Sisi with 23 Million votes, an outcome that is significantly high compared to previous elections outcome that had all political parties contributing.

The Egyptians have been struggling with dictatorship for quite some time now. The transformation from dictatorship to democracy will need massive awareness, cure from denial, and eventually willingness to change. All those aspects are yet to be present among the Egyptians. We have to be aware of the huge degradation that has gotten into us due to the military dictatorship. Unfortunately, we are still divided. Some have already given up on the revolution, fearing to end up as Syria or Libya. Some think we do not deserve democracy, that we are barbaric and will kill each other when given the chance. Some truly believe that nothing other than a military rule can guide us to being a developed nation. Only a few still believe in change, and gladly they’re the youths, without whom nothing will ever continue to succeed.

May God be with us all