(Photo via the Brotherhood’s website, Ikhwanweb)
- Activist Ahmed Douma charged with insulting president Morsi
- ‘Black Bloc solidarity’ protesters released
- Investors banned from owning land along Suez Canal
- Armed Forces respond to Al-Wasat remarks
- Tribal leader proposes Bedouin militia to secure Sinai:
- April 6 founder survives serious car accident
- Constitutional Court adjourns key lawsuit on status of Shura Council
- Salafist Abu-Ismail condemns anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign
- Egyptian lawmakers demand dismissal of Israeli ambassador
- PM: No conflict between independency of NGOs, and monitoring it
- After two-week hiatus, Shura Council to tackle raft of thorny legislations
- Egyptian teacher accused of insulting Morsi over “sheep” question
- Anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaigners assaulted in Cairo
- Morsi: Egypt can reach self sufficiency in wheat within 4 years
- Draft judicial law violates constitution: Appeal Court
- Judges’ Club boycotts Justice Conference
- Military veterans form a party calling for Morsi to step down
- Tamarod members shortly detained in Zagazig
- TV presenter slapped with fine for Brotherhood’s El-Erian
- Islamist gunmen kidnap seven security personnel in Sinai
- Sinai kidnappers demand release of detained colleagues: Security source
- Sinai residents blame interior ministry’s policies for Thursday kidnapping
- Emergency presidential meeting over Sinai
- Alleged Black Bloc members detained for another 15 days
- Egyptian wheat farmers hobbled by shortage
- Egyptian police close Rafah border to protest kidnapped soldiers
- Clashes erupt near Tahrir Square between police, and unknown civilians
- North Cairo may face power outages as workers strike
- Sabbahi’s daughter arrested on charges of fraud
- Salafists launch another attack on ‘ruling’ Muslim Brotherhood
- State Department issues new travel warning for Egypt
- Case of 25 jihadist suspects postponed to 17 June
- Salafist leader Yasser Borhami: The Brotherhood does not represent Islam in any way
- State Department issues new travel warning for Egypt
- Deadly clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria
- ‘Rebel’ campaigners announce 3 million anti-Morsi signatures
- Egyptian police block Israel border crossing in fury at kidnapping
- Paratroopers stationed in North Sinai, ready to engage in “large scale operation” if negotiations fail
- Judges elect new constitutional court chief
A Few Thoughts
Last week, I wrote about “Tamarod,” a rebellion grass root campaign calling for withdrawal of confidence from president Morsi. Today, the campaign has announced a total of 3 Million signatures. Initially, Islamists were indifferent, even dismissive, however, the campaign has started to attract the wrath of the Islamists. Many doubt the legality and even the morality of the campaign; Salafi Assem Abdel-Magid has correlated it to “the rebellion of the devil against the Almighty.” Other Islamists cast doubt on the numbers, claiming that they are overinflated by the campaigners and some have even accused the campaign of fraud by either tricking Egyptians to sign the petition based on false information or by bribing them. Ironically, and despite the opposition of many Islamists, many Salafists have joined Tamarod and signed the petition, citing their frustration with Morsi and his failed leadership. Campaigners also reported various incidents of intimidation and dome brief arrests by authorities.
Tamarod is a good example of political entrepreneurism, which clearly caught Islamists by surprise. If anything, these accusations not only reflect the success of the initiative, but also the small-minded, mediocre, silliness of many Islamists.
I totally agree with The Big Pharaoh on the significance of Tamarod; however, as the campaign has started to enter its crucial phase, organizers need to be careful in planning their next steps, which could be detrimental to the final outcome.
First, I doubt the wisdom of Friday’s protest, although the gathering reflected the positive spirit of the movement, the relative low turnout handed over some credibility for the Islamists’ false claim that the campaign is not that popular. The demonstration also turned violent in the end with another episode of rock throwing between kids joining in and the police. The movement should plan future protest more carefully to prevent any rioters from joining and spoiling the scene.
Second, the ex-presidential candidate, Shafiq, and his endorsement of the campaign is a thorny, double sword issue. If the movement really means to serve all Egyptians, “regardless of their political affiliation,” then those who are pro-Shafiq should be allowed to join in.
Third, mainstream opposition parties who have repeatedly failed to articulate a clear vision or policy should not hijack the movement or try to capitalize on its gains for their own interests. Tamarod is not a replacement to other much-needed groundwork by non-Islamists political parties to rejuvenate their support, particularly in rural Egypt.
Finally, organizers should carefully consider their next step; surely, no one really expects Morsi to leave just because Tamarod mange to collect the desired (and ambitious) 13 million signatures. In fact, possible scenarios are either a legal battle to stop the campaign or a bloody violent day on June 30 (the date of planned march onto the presidential palace); both of which are nightmarish scenarios that the movement should prepare to avoid.
Harvest Day, Morsi’s style:
The story of Egypt and wheat as old as the pharaoh; harvest day was always an occasion of joy and celebration. This year, president Morsi has decided to celebrate wheat harvest by adding a political spin to a very tricky issue; self-sufficiency.
“Egypt can reach self sufficiency in wheat within four years after which it will not need to import wheat again,” said President Morsi last Wednesday.
He also claims that wheat production has increased by 30% this year. The reality on the ground does not really match the president’s rosy numbers; shortage of fuel and fertilizers are undermining Morsi’s strategy for Africa’s biggest wheat grower and consumer, and there’s mounting concern that farmers don’t have enough of either to deliver the grain needed to replenish silos. As of April 28, stockpiles were down to a 64-day supply, which is less than during the 2008 global food crisis that triggered riots.
President Morsi conveniently ignored that the government has expanded the allocated land to plant wheat in the hope of increase productivity, but productivity did not match the expansion. The storage problem is also a big issue that still has not been addressed properly.
Here is an interesting Arabic piece about wheat production and Morsi’s spin by Ahmed Esmat.
I heard this rosy promises of increases in productivity since I was very young, thus far, what seems to increase is the population of Egypt, rather than wheat production. Yet, our leadership is still singing a bad version of the legendary Abdel Wahab’s song “ May God Bless our Wheat.”
Yesterday, I have written few thoughts about Sinai, you can read it here.
I would like to add one more comment, General al-Sissi should consider any military operation carefully; any hasty plan that put the life of the kidnapped soldiers in danger or fail to secure their release will have enormous counter-productive impact on him as a leader, and on the moral of the Egyptian army.
As the political war in Egypt has gotten dirtier by the minute, the daughter of the leftist leader Sabbahi has grabbed attention by a stream of accusations against her of Internet marketing fraud, clearly apolitical charges that still have not been proven, yet, Islamists are using it as a weapon to discredit Sabbahi and his eligibility as a leader. The Islamist’s abhorrent misuse of the case contradicts their previous sympathy with other Salafi figures arrested for various crimes. This kind of hypocrisy is yet additional proof of their small-minded, mediocre, religiously unethical behavior.
- Egypt’s dismal opposition: A Second Look. Thomas Carothers.
- Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia are all slowly Islamizing. Steven Cook
- The Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia. Hicham Mourad
- Egypt’s Judiciary between a tea ceremony and the WWE. Nathan Brown and Mokhtar Awad
- Bi-National Egypt. Salama Moussa
- The story of a bridge, a city, and lost heritage. Rawya Rageh
- With conservative Islamists in power, blasphemy cases have surged in Egypt. Maggie Michael
- Report on Brotherhoodization of Egyptian government. Ahmed Darwish (Arabic)
Finally here are Jayson Casper’s prayers for Egypt