Two predicaments, part of the new norm, are creating a stir on the streets of Egypt: the sentencing of 21 women to 11 years in prison and the anti-protest law, both backfiring in the face of the interim government.
In today’s norm, 21 females, some under age, are accused of stirring violence, blocking roads, and damaging shop facades. It is an effort on authorities’ part to curtail the disarray on the streets, but the harsh sentencing sparks outrage amongst activists and MB followers, the two ends of the spectrum.
In today’s norm, a law enacted to improve public safety is so flawed that it fuels activists into fault themselves. They insist on defying the law ultimately standing against authorities. Adding fuel to fire, two renowned activists get detained. I have no qualms with the detainment of either since they did indeed, one, break the law, two, incite others to violence. However, Alaa Abdel Fattah’s wife gets slapped while her husband is being taken into custody. Has the police force not learned anything from its previous mistakes?
University campuses across Egypt seethe with anger and protest. One non-activist is killed by bird shots.
Why stop there? In today’s norm, a woman walking on a street is verbally abused by a niqabbed woman partaking in an MB protest. In a shift in strategy, the MB now transports its loyal members on microbuses and disperses them in smaller groups everywhere. The woman passerby comments angrily on the blockage of the already congested street; the MB follower shuns her back. A row ensues. Intimidated and fearing for her life, the woman avoids clashing with the protestor further and walks away.
In today’s norm again, a veiled woman travelling with her elderly mother has her car windscreen smashed and her veil torn off by an MB group who, again, were blocking the road. She truly believed she was going to die.
The picture is blurry. I don’t doubt that the women who were sentenced to 11 years hurled stones and smashed store windows; I don’t doubt that the innocent looking, white adorned veiled youths vandalized, but the judiciary system is faulted if it takes away their best years for hurling stones. I don’t doubt that the appeal will end this fiasco, but I wonder why the court chose such harsh measures against such young women. Murderers get lighter sentencing.
It doesn’t seem as though authorities have learned anything from the last three years, but many Egyptians haven’t learned much either. The Brotherhood is pulling Egypt one-way, the activists are pulling it another way, and the name of the game is defiance: break the law for you are above the law.
All this takes place as the remaining 90 million go about their businesses, trying to feed, clothe, and shelter their families. Amidst the doom and gloom, they try to come up for air, but they are unable to as one wave after another of disasters hits them pushing them further down.
How does Egypt go about changing this sobering reality, this new norm?
Well, to quote my tweeting friend, RachidH, Egypt needs a “selfless, benevolent dictator until indoctrinated oldies vanish and unprepared youth learn.” Though profoundly wise, it is a tall order. Where does Egypt find that leader, respected and admired enough to bear the brunt of the circumstances and unite all these divisive and split factions?
Since January 25, not one single authoritative figure has remained untarnished; just about every prime minister, and president, has been unsuccessful in his task. Except Abdel Fattah El Sissi.
No, Abdel Fattah El Sissi has not figured out the equation to unite Egyptians, but the masses are behind him. Call it Sissi frenzy or Sissi mania, call it going back to military rule, or even call it a coup, El Sissi has succeeded in what no one else did: emerge as a leader. Whether he is selfless and benevolent remains to be seen.
Without respect, a leader cannot lead. This El Sissi has maintained. Today the disapproval confronts Prime Minister Beblawy, and to a lesser level, Interim President Adly Mansour while El Sissi remains unscathed.
I’m not for the return of the military to power. I hoped that we could prove western media at fault, but I’m now behind El Sissi’s running for presidency. The West will find fault no matter what, so their criticism is of no importance.
I’m looking for a leader that can work for Egypt in its dire times. Oh yes, Egypt has many capable and efficient men, and women, with the necessary expertise. However, if this individual has not emerged while Egypt was facing this bitter struggle, I don’t when he will.
El Sissi, I’ve given in. I find you the most appropriate man for Egypt today. I’ll elect you if you run.