Egyptians marked the third anniversary of their 2011 revolution with a bloody weekend. While January 25 of that year marked the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime, it also spelled the hopes for a new democracy.
Many Egyptians gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to remmeber the revolution that has come full circle to its authoritarian led days. Egypt is again a country led by a military regime, having only been allowed a sip of democracy before its first democratically elected president, Muhammad Morsi, had been ousted in a military led coup.
While some celebrated, many others protested. By Sunday, around 1000 people had been arrested around the country and health officials said the death toll from clashes with the police had reached at least 49, most killed in the Cairo area.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – Egypt’s top military body – has given its approval for armed forces chief and coup front man, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to run for the presidency. He will resign and announce his candidacy within days. “Elections” will take place by mid-April.
“Sisi is serving foreign interests … and he has stolen ruling the country from the democratically elected president Morsi and he is trying to get away with solidifying his control of the country and rule on the country as president as soon as possible thinking that this is going to give him the control over the country and the stability of his regime,” said Professor Nidal Sakr.
Sakr spoke to Cii Radio from Cairo about Sisi’s run for the presidency and what it could mean for Egypt.
“The fact of the matter is we care less about what Sisi is planning, we care less what he has in his mind, we are determined to bring this coup to an end and we are determined to hold them all to account and to persecute them for all the crimes they have committed against the people.”
Pro-democracy Egyptians are aware that they have to intensify their campaign to “regain their freedom”. Regarded by many as a “war of attrition”the one with the strongest stamina is likely to prevail.
According to Sakr the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) will play a key role in bringing Egypt out of the dark. Generally labelled by media outlets as a “terrorist organisation”, Sakr says the MB is “like the most moderate organisation”, something politicians around the world are aware of.
“The MB stand to represent the mainstream of the Islamic civilisation project. That scares of course the enemies of Islam, be it America, the West, Europe, China, Russia, whoever it is… they think that they can uproot MB, and then neutralise what they perceive as threat to the alternative Islamic civilisation project that’s why it’s spreading worldwide right now,” explained Sakar.
“They will fail. MB is much stronger, its experience and its human input is much bigger than all their contributions to humanity… . Islam will prevail. The MB, as long as they are sticking to the ideology of reform and rehabilitating societies and all of these enemies against the Islamic project are bound to fail.”
The number of political prisoners is well over 30 000 and people are being killed in increasing numbers. Attacks against anti-military protestors are “more brutal” than before.
Activists are frustrated at the candidacy of another soldier, three years after they forced the removal of Hosni Mubarak. Sisi headed military intelligence under Mubarak, and was a member of the military council that drew criticism for the heavy-handed way it ruled Egypt following Mubarak’s overthrow.
Sisi does have a following considering the number of Egyptians who gathered to rally in his name at Tahrir on Saturday. But majority of the population is also indifferent and waiting for an outcome. The other segment of society is made up of citizens who Sakr described as “free from corruption” and who have a real love for the country.
“The ones who … want to make sure that this country really gets back on its feet and has a brighter future, I don’t think he [Sisi] has any support in that segment. And this is what I consider to be the striking force of the revolution, this has always been the striking force of the revolution and that revolutionary core remains very solid and intact.”
Since the coup, thousands of people have been killed and thousands of members of the MB detained by the interim authorities. Morsi and many other senior MB leaders are currently being held on a variety of charges, including incitement to murder and conspiring to commit terrorist acts. The trial continues today.
“This coup has no idea what we have at our disposal. This coup cannot even imagine how many surprises we have up our sleeves, does not know all the avenues that we have whether locally or internationally and as time goes by we’ll get better and better at what we’re doing and we’ll definitely bring this coup to an end in the foreseeable future Inshaallah,” said Sakr.
Sakeena Suliman – Cii News |29 January 2014/27 Rabi ul Awwal 1435