Since early April 5th 2016, many people have been asking me,
“Hafez, what on earth is going on in Egypt”. Well, I always answer back with, “It’s the Middle East habibi”.
A very short answer that not only allows for the topic to pass, but also makes me evade explaining the long conflict of the region, and contributing my effort, time, strength, knowledge and perspectives into the topic. That is until I found a much easier and more relatable answer that could more or less explain to my American friends the situation in Egypt. What Egypt is witnessing right now is a demo of what the United States of America could be witnessing if one of the Republicans wins.
In the past 3 years, Egypt has been failing very fast, in all parts of its systems. A “state” according to the Oxford Dictionary is a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government. Within this organized political community led by one government. Yet, there is a difference by international law that distinguishes between a non-physical state and its government. Something many people forget to mention when talking about politics, or when attacking a certain country’s action and taking it out on its Citizenship holders. And in most cases I highly disagree with that, (I put Israel as the exception in not differentiating between the state, the government, and its citizens, but that is an entire new blog).
Back to Egypt, on June 2013, Egypt witnessed another overthrow of yet another dictator, just after one and a half years, Egyptians marched the streets in even greater numbers than the previous Revolution that ousted a 30 year ruling dictator. Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi took over under the military coup. Democratically elected, fair and square, I admit. 1 year later he started violating the constitution, and his 96% popularity started to go down, faster and faster. By April 5th 2016, Sisi has agreed with Saudi Arabia to re-draw our sea borders with the country that has saved us from financial bankruptcy numerous of times, with a total of roughly $50 billion over the past 4 years.
The Saudi King visited Egypt for the first time since he was crowned in 2015and for the first time since Sisi was elected President. The trip was not that significant to the Egyptian public, we had low expectations of more financial support from the oil rich country, trade agreements and more of the memorandum of understandings. By April 6th and the following week Egyptians were investigating in the topic of whether these Islands were actually Saudi or Egyptian, Television debates, talk shows, and daily Sit-ins started from the Journalist Syndicates. Egyptians read in the media that they were giving away two of their strategically located Islands that more or less control Israel’s trade with the Eastern Part of the world to Saudi Arabia in exchange for a $2 billion every year. Unlike most catastrophes, the regime usually neglected responding, that is until Sisi came out and pretty much told people that what is done is done and they need to shut up, (yes he actually said that). By 13th of April thousands of people hit the streets to protest again. An estimated number of 200 people were arrested during these protests, which led to larger protests a week later on the 25th of April, where 400 people were arrested. The Media, for the first time since Sisi took power, went wild .Escalations were already rising between the Police and other public representations. Recently, the police forces have had clashes over internal non-political conflicts with the Syndicates of Lawyers and the Doctors Syndicates, 2 of the largest and most powerful syndicates in Egypt. On the 1st of May, the Police violated article 70 of the constitution by invading the Syndicate. This was the first time in Egypt’s 200 years of having a modern organized “STATE’s” history to witness this. They arrested two journalist under charges of spreading false data on the Tiran and Sanafir Islands. An online and Public relations fight started between the 3 syndicates and the Ministry of Interior affairs, the words were being thrown back and forth, that is until the ministry sent their media plan on journalist syndicate raid to journalists.
Today several NGO’s and movements are working to liberate those arrested protesters as well as removing the minister of Interior affairs, yet in my opinion, it is not. We as a country need a technocratic non-represented coalition to lead the country for a 4 year period into a proper democratic state. Setting up a new constitutional article that forces any future Minister of Interior Affairs to be from the civil society. Many revolutionary steps await Egypt. The only good news I have to offer at this point is that we can still depend on many Arab states to support us in our transition. I’m just worried that Oil will end before we transition.