The U.S. was clearly red faced when only in a matter of weeks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tone and the U.S.’ overall support of President Mubarak changed during the revolutionary uprisings in Egypt between January 25 and February 12, 2011. Has America again backed the wrong horse in Egypt’s democratic sprint? Suzy Hanna takes a look.
America; home of the free. A famous line that I grew up believing. I had always been one of America’s greatest defenders. I grew up on American culture. Saved by the Bell and Full House filled my childish mind. Babysitters’ Club and Sweet Valley Twins book series kept me literate. McDonalds and Coca Cola were more normal to my system than water. In history, they taught me that America saved the allies in World War I. When people complained that America meddled in people’s business, I would explain that America is the world’s watchdog- its duty to the world is to keep peace and promote security. They wanted the world to be free like them. And I won’t even get into my love for President Obama. One of my favourite images was him greeting a janitor down a lobby with a gentle fist bump. In that image, I saw the equality and dignity of all people in beautiful America, the home of the free. And most importantly, I knew “I got a crush on Obama” off by heart, dance moves and all.
So my anger at America’s reaction to the Egyptian protest against the tyrant that is Mohamed Morsi was just as passionate as the love affair I thought was for life. I watched in disbelief as Ambassador Patterson spoke to the Egyptians about the great relationship the US had with the Muslim Brotherhood. I watched in confusion as she asked Pope Tawadros to stop the Copts from matching in the streets with their Muslim brothers and sisters against the man who usurped what was supposed to be a glorious revolution. I watched infuriated as President Obama studied the speech of El Sisi to say how he felt about the leader of the great Egyptian Army saying that they would defend the Egyptians in any decision they made.
I read in anger as ridiculous tweets from American journalists who had the audacity to laugh at the Egyptian people for trying to demand early elections after “only” one year. I laughed at Turkey and Bangladesh as they stood in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood. The truth is-your opinion does not matter to us. This is not about you. This is about us. This is about the Egyptian people, reclaiming a revolution. This revolution was expensive. It was paid for with the sweat, blood, tears and lives of its people. One man, Ahmad Harara, a budding young dentist became the face of the revolution when the hero lost one eye in the Revolution Protest and his other in a subsequent protest trying to keep the revolution on track. This cannot be in vain. This cannot be to put Morsi, who proved an unprecedented tyrannical leader, in the place of the leader before him. Within 9 months of his rule, Morsi had tried more political opponents than Mubarak in his 30 years. This was not what we wanted.
The reaction to one year of Morsi’s rule led to the biggest protest in the history of the world. Although scheduled for the 30th of June, Egyptians could not wait and on the 28th started settling in for the protests. By the 29th, 14 million people were on the streets. This number has increased to 17 million and counting. Keep in mind that under Mubarak, the people felt that 1 million people protesting, was a shameful action against him. The numbers continued to climb until the BBC declared that this was the biggest protest in history. Yet the world laughs at us. It does not understand why. It *cannot* understand why.
I often question, if Obama had dissolved the Supreme Court and usurped the role of the judges, would Americans watch idly by, as their scales of justice were tipped against justice? If Obama kidnapped, tortured and/or killed the political opposition, bloggers, journalists or even youth speaking out against his decisions, would the Americans accept the demolition of their inalienable right of Freedom of Speech? The punishment for the crime of exercising Freedom of Speech is demonstrated in the case of Mohamed el Shafie. Mother of murdered Mohamed el Shafie said that she could only identify his tortured corpse through his hair. If Obama gave away American soil to Mexico and Canada and subsequently allowed Japan to annex Hawaii, would they not care? If Obama threatened anyone who did not agree with his policies and spoke like Shrek’s Lord Farquad, “Some of you will have to die, but that is a sacrifice that I am willing to make” would they simply think, it is ok, he is President? Forget employment or medical care, if Americans had to live in poverty with no electricity, water or petrol with constant terrorism on the streets, would they simply adapt? If rapes in torture chambers on women and men who dare to speak out against him were common place, would they silently endure the full term of his election because he was legally elected? Would they wait three years in a nightmare that I have not even begun to describe?And my favourite Scenario; what If Obama had the court demand his arrest for espionage and spying against his country? I haven’t even touched on Port Said, the Cathedral Attack, the verbal attack on Al Azhar the main Islamic authority in Egypt, attacks on the Media Studios and personalities and a systematic decline of living standards for the people.
I do not believe that if Obama behaved like this, he would have lasted an hour let alone a year.
You do not know what it is like to see mothers of the dead killed under Morsi, crying on television, wailing that they wished their hands were paralysed before they voted for him. Mothers cried with mothers they did not know but felt for. You do not know what it is like to watch on television funerals attacked in retaliation for what the government sees as a political crime, with the relatives of the dead dropping the corpse as they ran for shelter from the hail of bullets. The tears that flowed through the land of Egypt became a second Nile, wept for by those who mourned their dead and those that mourned with strangers they never met.
As for the legality of his elections. Just a few things.
The Muslim Brotherhood would hand out “oil and sugar” to the poor in a campaign to show them they “care”. In a religiously devout country with majority illiteracy, it was easy to campaign saying, “If you love God and want to go to Heaven, you must vote for the Brotherhood”. And even then, reports of rampant fraud were ignored despite that the video evidence of the blatant acts of fraud were streamed through the media. Ahmad Shafiq, the main presidential candidate running against Morsi made request a few days ago, asking for a recount of the votes as there were rumours that Morsi had in fact not won the elections, the response by a scared court was that they cannot say for “embarrassment”.
So that is my response to his winning the elections.
Even if none of this was true, I am certain that in a democracy, the leader loses legitimacy when he starts murdering his people. The idea that a democratically elected official has carte blanche to treat the masses according to his evil whims was not applied to Hitler so why now to the Islamic Brotherhood?
Even though the current regime feels that violence is an acceptable way to address all manner of “sins”, the Egyptian people did not resort to this in their fight for justice. Instead they started a grassroots campaign called “Tamarod” or Rebellion. They created a petition that asked people who were eligible to vote to ask for early elections. They argued that if the number of people who want the early elections was greater than the number that elected him democratically, then he would be forced to listen. The reprisals against them were immediate and harsh. Fatwas or religious rulings came out saying that taking part in the campaign rendered you an enemy of God. Buildings and signed petitions were burned to cinders. Death threats were declared against anyone protesting. Petrol was no longer sold and cheap holidays were offered away from the major cities in an effort to decrease the amount of protestors. Despite all these underhanded efforts it is the biggest protest the world has ever witnessed.
I had often hoped that the world felt empathy for us. I wanted them to watch and say, “We understand and pray for you. We wish you security and freedom.” All I saw was an arrogant contempt and laughter at a situation they cannot understand. It seems that the dream of a land for the free is desired for other countries only when it suits American policy. As I spoke to my mother, telling her about Obama’s consideration of El Sisi’s statement, she taught me a new lesson. “Egypt is for the Egyptians, not Obama. And if the US love Morsi so much, Congratulations: keep him.” The truth is, it’s not about them. Whether the world understands or not, whether the world agrees or not. 17 million Egyptians should get to decide their fates not one foreign entity.
Egypt is for the Egyptians.
Suzy Hanna is member of The Australian Coptic Movement Association working within the media and public relations area. With a Bachelor in Law/Arts, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Bachelor in Arts (Honours) and Bachelor in Secondary Teaching, Suzy’s education and personal interest in sociological affairs of Copts and Egypt has seen her on the front lines of elevating the Coptic Cause. Suzy has fronted an array of media outlets including SBS Broadcasting, Sky and local and independent media. You can contact Suzy via email@example.com.
The Australian Coptic Movement Association’s operating costs are run purely on the donations received by its supporters and the tireless work of its volunteers. Please donate to our cause by clicking here and help the Copts promote their rights and their community. All donations greater than $2 are 100% tax deductible.