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Arab America Media: Egyptian People Will Not Accept ‘Old Regime’

Posted: Jun 23, 2012

Photo: Tahrir Square protests in 2011

Eighteen months after the toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, ending his 30-year rule, throngs of Egyptians have returned in protest to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where the revolution began on Jan. 25, 2011.

For nearly a week, people have demonstrated in opposition to actions of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the country’s delay of declaring a new president. The country’s presidential election was conducted May 23 and 24, with the final runoffs held on June 16 and 17.

Representing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, (FJP) was Mohammed Morsi, who was educated at the University of Southern California and taught at California State University, Northridge. The other candidate was Ahmed Shafiq, a senior commander in the Egyptian Air Force and the last prime minister in President Mubarak’s administration.

Early morning last Monday, Morsi declared victory with 52.5 percentage points, five more than Ahmed Shafiq’s 47.5 percent. Yet the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission has announced that the final decision will be made by Saturday or Sunday of next week. This decision has exacerbated political tensions as it comes just a week after the SCAF has ordered the dissolution of Egypt’s parliament, which was newly elected earlier this year and had majority of its members from the FJP.

Also, the SCAF Constitutional Declaration included amendments giving them powers previously to be held by the new president, such as legislative responsibilities, the power to write the new constitution, powers of arrest, control over the armed forces and the right to veto wars.

New America Media asked members of the Arab American media in the United States for their views on the significance of Egypt’s presidential elections and the subsequent social unrest.

Mansour Tadros, Publisher, The Future Newspaper, Chicago, Ill.

I am not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is a game going on [with SCAF)] and Ahmed Shafiq’s agenda. It’s not going to be easy for SCAF to give up power. They’ve got something up their sleeves.

If the Freedom and Justice Party won, they should be given a chance. I hope Egypt does not go back to square one. I hope the military does not underestimate and undermine the Egyptian people and their intelligence, as they have been. The military is playing a game with the constitution, now, and it’s [making the Egyptians look] as if they’ve done nothing over the past year and a half.

If Ahmed Shafiq does win, I hope it is because he earned it, not because of some monkey business, which I suspect. If the Muslim Brotherhood wins, we can’t take that away from them--and the votes, they have legally earned that. They are Egyptian. They are a legal entity.

Yes, there is a fear that Egypt might become a religious Islamist government, but that’s ridiculous. That would never happen. They are all PhDs and aware of the repercussions.

The Egyptians would go back to the streets immediately, just like they did when they demanded an end to the Mubarak regime--and everyone with The Brotherhood knows that.

At the moment, Mubarak’s health has taken tremendous attention in the media, but the truth is he has practically been dead for 12 years. His current health (and eventual death) is not an issue. The main issue is the Egyptian people and their future, and that’s where the attention should be.

Fatmeh Atieh, Publisher, Al Enteshar Newspaper, Los Angeles, Calif.

This is completely political theater. SCAF… pre-empted [the democratic process] with the recent Constitutional Declaration, which grants them legislative powers as well as greater control over the constitution-drafting process.

I’m not in support of the Brotherhood, and I’m not against the view that the majority of Parliament should not be held by the same party represented by the president. And the Brotherhood initially pledged that they wouldn’t push for their party to pursue the presidency. But I am with the freedom of the people.

You must respect the voice of the people. If the people voted for the Brotherhood, if they voted for the Devil or for a monkey, we must respect that and only that. There is no room for voter fraud and games.
Morsi, to the people, is largely the lesser evil, and he is winning because he’s got the people’s support.

If Shafiq is somehow is announced as the winner that could cause a blood bath and severe chaos. He represents the Mubarak regime, and that is everything the people want to see changed. Did hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in revolution to overthrow a regime only to bring it back into power?

Amani Ghouleh, Publisher, The Arabic Horizon Newspaper, Chicago, Ill

The key issue is to make sure that everybody’s vote is counted. The people must feel and know this was a fair election. The public chooses the president. It seems that most of the votes went to Morsi. What needs to be taken in to consideration is that this is who people voted for.

SCAF cannot undermine the people of Egypt, but it is [trying to do so]. The people should know that after the president is announced, they should focus on rebuilding Egypt.

If Morsi is the winner, he has the chance to put the right people in the right place. Just like the U.S. Elections, or any election really. Presidents have advisers—they can’t rule the country all alone. Everybody now is looking forward to the next steps.

Shafiq is a copy of the old regime, and if Morsi loses, I feel that it would be a big problem. I fear for another revolution with more bloodshed. But it’s also difficult to predict the future. What I can say is that whether Mubarak dies or not will not change anything, that’s not the issue, people want to turn the page and move Egypt forward.

Ahmed Tharwat, Producer and Host, BelAhdan, Minneapolis, Minn.

SCAF has made one too many mistakes by dissolving the parliament. They are acting the same way that Mubarak did and are abusing power. Everything they have done has been counterproductive to the revolution.

As an Egyptian living abroad, it’s just amazing that my home country is not getting what it deserves. It is disheartening and ridiculous. There is no way they can declare Shafiq as the winner.

SCAF has really succeeded in dividing the majority of Egyptian against the revolution. They are sacrificing the country, abusing their own people, just for a few crumbs of power.

The Brotherhood needs to show the people that they mean business. This is their last chance to show that they are there for Egypt, not for the power. Egypt needs someone to strengthen the institution. That doesn’t have to be someone with strong political background. We need a new look, someone who represents us. We’re sick and tired of the people who come and try to cater to the West and yet don’t care about their own people.

What’s impressive is that what you see in Tahrir has been going strong for 18 months. After people have been killed and tortured, they still--and will--have the energy. That is scaring the military. The voice of the street is coming back.

The Constitutional Declaration is nothing but an admission by the military that it is losing to the Brotherhood. That declaration helped Morsi bring people who would have otherwise stayed home to vote for him and against what SCAF is doing. But change will happen no matter who is in power because people will not accept the old regime.

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