Death of a Tyrant, Mohammed Morsi

Photo source: Fox News

By Naveed Qazi | Editor, Globe Up Front

After the death of Mohammed Morsi in June 2019, the global media, is in a stir, as reactions have come from all quarters, of the globe. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, called his death, ‘a slow death’, but Morsi also had a dark side, and many flaws.

Mohammed Morsi, was a pivotal member of Muslim Brotherhood, that started its political undertakings, from the shadows of Egyptian society. In his ambitious political resolve, he believed that he could provide a transition for a democratic Egypt, but, in the process, also feared an assassination. A charismatic leader, for his followers, in the Brotherhood, he wouldn’t have become a democratically elected president of Egypt, in 2012, and earn a name for himself, in the political clique of Middle East, and beyond, if the first choice candidate, Khairat Al Shati, disqualified by the electoral commission, for serving a prison sentence, under Mubarak, ran for the presidency. 

He had started his presidency, by giving Egypt, a flicker of hope. It had appeared, then, that Egypt might replicate the Tunisian model, for a successful democratic transition, but, after one year, his rule reflected a breach of trust, and aspirations. 

The Tamarod Revolution, triggering million-strong protests, by unhappy Egyptians, had started, and it gave impressions, of a prior concluded Arab Spring, when idealists, anarchists, revolutionaries, feminists, minorities, reformers, and dreamers, all became united, for a cause. Eventually, the interim president, Adly Mansour, replaced Morsi, until the democratic installation of Abdel Fatah el Sisi, in 2014, but Egypt’s soaring problems didn’t end there.

Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, has stifled democracy, and has become instrumental in banning all forms of protests, shutting down independent media, and even engaging in extrajudicial killings, after the tragic Rabaa Square massacre, during the last days of Brotherhood’s political activity. During his rule, he has been accused of cementing military privileges, over a robust, and vibrant civil society.

Before the military coup, when Morsi was in power, his stubborn Islamist policies had no clear recovery plan, for Egypt’s economy. In his brief despotism, he failed to reform the security apparatus that continued to kill, harass, and torture people. The economic reserves were slowly plummeting, as expensive food, and fuel subsidies, were mainly bestowed, upon his cadre, or precisely, electorates. He had enmity towards Egypt’s secular constitution, and towards its liberal-minded people. That’s why, his regime-attacked Egypt’s Coptic Christians, and Shiite minority, thereby reflecting that his regime was not interested in plurality. 

Despite the worldwide condolences, giving him a status of a 'martyr', or a 'hero', the fact remains that he was the brain behind different endeavours that killed Egypt’s democracy. He purged nothing bad, but alleviated it. That’s why, it is not paradoxical to believe that  Egyptian liberals, and socialists, looked upon him, as a thorough sectarian. As protestors against his rule grew, in the past, it also became apparent that he had lied to several youth activists, regarding their inclusion, to reform Egypt’s sleazy institutions. 

During his rule, he stripped his predecessor, Hussein Tantawi, the army chief of staff, and denied him the right for any consultations, for Egypt’s new constitution, that boosted the role of Islam, and restricted freedom of speech, and assembly. The political power, in Egypt,  was now looked through the prism of Islamic fascism, and democracy, unexpectedly, turned utopian. His decisions were so authoritarian, that they went beyond judicial review. He replaced regional governors, from the Brotherhood, and one, for Luxor, from Gamaa Islamiya, the dreaded extremist group, responsible for the massacre of tourists, in 1997, in Luxor. In June 2013, he was locking horns, with the Coptic pope, Tawadros II, the judiciary, the police, the army, and the intelligence.

Morsi was a wrong man at the wrong time. Robert Fisk, in an article, for The Independent, wrote: ‘Morsi’s near-year in power was also second-rate, uninspiring, disappointing, occasionally violent, and tinged by a little dictatorial ambition of his own. Trotting out of cabinet meetings to phone his chums in the Brotherhood for advice was not exactly running a government through primus inter pares’.

A former Muslim Brotherhood member told The Atlantic, in an interview: ‘in the fall of 2012, thuggish Morsi supporters tortured anti-Morsi protesters on the grounds of the presidential palace, proving even that even minimal hope was unrealistic’. However, Egypt still remains in a quagmire. According to journalist, Thananssis Cambanis, who authored The Atlantic article, dissidents are described as a threat in Egypt, irrespective of the fact, whether, they are powerful, or minor, Islamists, or secular.

As of now, there are around sixty thousand Egyptians, imprisoned, on various charges, most of them, charged under the Mubarak regime. Cambanis further wrote: ‘every notable political faction has been subject to the same indiscriminate sledgehammer, from youth movements to a breakaway alliance of secularists and former Muslim Brothers, as well as the Brotherhood itself, and even politicians, who loyally backed Sisi’s coup, but dared to disagree with the new dictator about minor policy matters’.

Morsi had joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1979. He studied for a doctorate in material sciences, at the University of Southern California, and then joined California State University, where he served as the assistant professor of engineering, in 1982, until returning to Egypt, in 1985. After that, he also remained as the assistant professor, at the Zagazig University, where he remained as a professor, until 2010.

After his post-graduation, in 1978, he married his seventeen-year-old cousin, Nagla Mahmoud, who told one magazine, that Morsi, sometimes, used to cook food, for her, and helped her, in the household chores.

When Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, was founded during the 2011 revolution, Morsi served as its president.

Now years later, he was eventually put into prison, and convicted for twenty years, for instigating clashes, between his supporters, and anti Morsi protestors, in Cairo, in December 2012. He was not given a death penalty, initially, as he was cleared of not inciting the Brotherhood, to kill two protestors, and a journalist. It may have been his worst nightmare. A month later, after December 2012, he was sentenced to death, after being accused of collaborating, with Hamas and Hezbollah militants, in organising a prison break, during uprisings against Mubarak. In terms of pursuing freedom from his jail, it was a final nail in his coffin. He was later also accused of espionage, for selling Egypt’s state secrets, to Qatar, some fraud, and also insulting the judiciary. During court hearings, he was compelled to sit in a soundproof glass cage.

During his conviction, he suffered from diabetes, kidney, and liver disease, but Muslim Brotherhood members were not allowed to visit him. However, the poor conditions, at the Tora prison, where he was based, were condemned by a report, of British MPs, as they believed that the jail conditions were below international standards.

Whatever the whimsical reactions, there are, history wouldn’t be kind to Mohammed Morsi. In the court, like a Pharaoh, mad in pride, and arrogance, he still believed that he was Egypt’s ruling president. And before collapsing, he is reported to have told the court judge, that he knew many secrets that could have harmed Egypt’s security. After the case was adjourned, he was supposed to have fainted, and was brought dead to the hospital. The Brotherhood had accused the government, of a plot, in killing Morsi, through poor living conditions, and regarded him, as a victim of unfair trials.


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