Sunday, June 24, 2012

Letters from Egypt: Sadness

Egypt has been my home for four years (July 10 will mark my anniversary). Four years ago I never thought anyone but Mubarak or someone from his clan would be leader. I never thought I would live through a revolution. And I certainly didn’t think the Muslim Brotherhood would gain power.

The only bright side that could possibly arise from this is knowing that the first president is going to be marred with problems. So perhaps it’s best that the Muslim Brotherhood did win in order to let people become disenfranchised with them. However, what will life be like now? Will we all still enjoy the things that we love about Egypt? Will it become more extreme or will the military still rule with Moursy only acting as a figurehead?

I don’t want to play the part of furthering fear over the Muslim Brotherhood’s control. But these are concerns that everyone has. Valid because to date, the MB has gone against everything it has said. First, the MB refused to take part in the Jan. 25 revolution. However, now it claims to have been instrumental in the movement. Second, the MB said it would not have a presidential candidate and even dismissed one of its members when he was rumored to run. This was prior to parliamentary elections. Naturally, as soon as the MB garnered enough seats in parliament, all of the sudden a presidential candidate was put on the ballot.

Economically, Shafiq posed the best option for Egypt. He was instrumental in infrastructural improvements including the newest terminal at Cairo International Airport. But some say, “Just because he built an airport doesn’t mean he’d be a good president.” And yet the MB does not have one strong, economically and internationally renowned business under its umbrella. So I guess we’ll see how well it works managing an entire country.

The saddest part of the day is how everyone is now breathing a sigh of relief. Had Moursy not been pronounced the winner, violence would have immediately erupted. This should say something about the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

I was sitting at my favorite café listening to Radio Masr. I couldn’t keep up with the official results from all the governorates (numbers are hard enough to translate, much less numerous numbers being said rapidly). However, I could understand the final results. I was surprised. I was sitting alone and in tears over Egypt’s next president. This isn’t my country, but it has been my home for awhile now.

I look up and a café employee came out to smoke a cigarette. He had tears in his eyes and shook his head. He said, “Are you going to leave now?”


  1. I'm a 20-year old Swedish girl living here in Cairo and I was watching the result at a friend's house. When Morsy was announced the winner I headed back home with a very heavy heart. When I stepped out on the street I suddenly felt very uncomfortable, on the edge to scared. It never happend to me before, and all the people shouting and bumping their horns and celebrating suddenly appeared frightening. It's ridicuolus since they barely took notice of me (oh well just normal every-day harassment). Choosing candidate was choosing the lesser of two evils, and I'm happy for the Egyptian people to be able to have a democratic election, finally. However, in my opinion politics and religion should never be mixed and therefor the future of the country that is my home now scares me.

    Right now, it will be a safer place with Moursy as a winner. In the long run, it will be more dangerous.

    Thank you for a great blog that is helping me alot!

  2. Oh now you've gone and made ME cry too. Love your blog. Love Egypt.

    1. While media showed various people celebrating, there are many (according to polls, at lest 48% of those that voted) that are sad. I've looked into the MB's initial presidential candidate and second-in-command, Khairat's 12-year Renaissance Program and while it all sounds fine, there's no direct plan of implementation; however, why should this be shocking seeing as how none of the electoral candidates, including for parliament, had any clue of a step-by-step plan and instead generalized (ie economic and educational reform, but how?).

      And then others hope to be like Turkey. First, Turkey is not without its problems and any Islamic government taking control over a moderate regime implements rhetoric slowly. Yes, Turkey is great economically, but how long will that last? Erdogan's leadership has seen a shift in more Islamic rhetoric with the veil becoming more commonplace than the rarity it used to be. Turks are fighting now against the ban on abortions, but how many times do moderates win over religious rhetoric in this region?

      And I'm not here to say Islam is bad or the veil is an abomination on women's rights. My thoughts are that women should just be allowed the CHOICE to choose if they veil or not. Democracy is not sharia compliant and nor will it exist in any MidEast nation for awhile if ever. My fears are that now that the MB has control, even if it is only a so-called figurehead, will they ever relinquish power? If they follow in Erdogan's footsteps, their non-secular beliefs (no matter what they publicly claim) will be more widely accepted because they keep the economy up. People will then say it's Allah's will and if they weren't meant to be in power, then the economy would be failing.

      The Arab Spring has resulted in hard-lined religious regimes taking control beginning with the Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. This is not progress. However, Egypt is different since it is still secular with 10% of the Egyptian population being Christian. I'm just worried about the slowly but surely changes that will occur when the country has their heads turned. Maybe I'm wrong...