The video for this week comes to us all the way from Egypt and discusses the impending trial of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. As always, some background information to bring unaware readers to the loop.
At the peak of the Arab Spring in 2011, Egyptians overthrew their dictator, Hosni Mubarak, who had been ruling Egypt for 30 years. As per the demand of the people to gain more democratic rights, elections were held across Egypt in the early months of 2012. In that election, Mohamed Morsi emerged victorious. He ran as the candidate from the party of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist social and political organization who had utilized acts of violence to promote their cause in the early years of the 20th century. After continuous battling with successive governments in Egypt, in the 1970s, they pledged to give up their violent ways and to participate in Egyptian politics. Even though they entered elections and tried to participate in the Egyptian political forum, they were continuously scrutinized and persecuted by the Mubarak regime.
After the fall of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood was able to reenter Egyptian politics with force and won the subsequent elections. Morsi assumed power and Egyptians were hopeful of the future. However, within just one year, many Egyptians had become disillusioned. Morsi had been completely inept in managing the country’s economy. What’s worse was that Morsi had started to centralize government power and had started to remind many of Mubarak. For example, in order to speed the writing of the constitution, Morsi announced that the constitutional amendments passed by the Supreme Council restricting the president’s powers would be annulled. In July of 2013, the Egyptian people had enough of Morsi and took to the streets once again in the largest protest ever seen by man.
After several days of protests, the military lead by General Sisi stepped in and overthrew Morsi. He was jailed in an undisclosed location and arrest warrants were issued for several Muslim Brotherhood members. Morsi called on his supporters to take to the streets and challenge the military’s coup. Unfortunately, in the ensuing days, clashes between pro-Morsi supporters and protesters against Morsi as well as against the military, led to the death of hundreds of Egyptians.
Since then, Egypt had remained relatively calm. That was until today when Morsi was placed on trial by the military. As the video points out, critics of Morsi demand justice for his inept policies and political crimes whereas Morsi’s supporters believe that this trial will be unjust and that he still remains the legitimately elected leader of Egypt.
Morsi is currently charged with inciting murder and could possibly face lifetime imprisonment or even the death penalty. Today, it was announced that the trial would be adjourned until January so that both sides could review the evidence.
If Morsi is found guilty, this could ignite a further round of protests by his supporters. We will have to wait till January to find out the result. Until then, the only thing we can do is hope that Egypt solves its internal problems so that the bloodshed comes to an end and that Egyptians finally get the democratic and just government that they deserve. It is truly tragic to see a country with a history so grand as Egypt suffer. It is very normal for someone to support either Morsi or the military. However, we can all agree that we wish for peace and democracy to return to Egypt once again.
“We pray for this beloved country, Egypt, for God to protect her safety, security, stability; to protect her unity and more so, her image.”
-Pope Theodoros II