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Sisi and failure

December 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Scores of Egyptian demonstrate outside the UN headquarters in New York against a visit by President and coup leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on 20 September 2017 []

From the Renaissance Dam, to the massacre at Al-Rawdah Mosque, and most recently Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, these are the best examples of how Al-Sisi’s government deals with its failures. It holds the Egyptian people responsible for these disasters, as if it has nothing to do with the failures and is not responsible for the current disasters.

In the case of the Renaissance Dam. Al-Sisi’s media mouthpieces accused the January Revolution of being the reason for deciding to build the dam, despite the fact that the decision to build it was made during Mubarak’s rule. Many found it offensive that the Egyptians would be asked to ration their water consumption, as Egypt will undoubtedly experience a huge water shortage as a result of the dam that Al-Sisi failed to deal with.

As for the Rawdah Mosque massacre, the situation was not much different, as the people of the village were held responsible for the deaths. They were asked to avenge these deaths, as if they were required to do the work of the army and police.

Read: Freedom for Sisi and death to the masses

After Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, there were various accusations thrown around directed at the usual foreign parties, such as Qatar, Turkey, Daesh, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The state’s media mouthpiece, Mustafa Bakri, asked: “What is the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood doing about what is happening in Jerusalem?” It seems that he isn’t aware that they are in prisons and detention centres, and that Al-Sisi is ruling the country now.

If we look back in time, we would find that this is Al-Sisi’s government’s preferred method for dealing with all domestic and foreign issues. Al-Sisi himself has held the media outlets responsible for the fall of the Egyptian pound’s value against the American dollar, rather than his decision to float the currency. Furthermore, his judicial agencies accused businessman Hassan Malik of being responsible for the crisis, and a state newspaper reported that the security forces found half a million dollars in his flat. The police even arrested citizens they claimed were a cell spreading pessimism in the country. They even claimed they were the reason behind the currency and fuel crises, as well as fuelling sectarian demands.

Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood is always mentioned in every incident and setback, in order to hold them responsible, including for the currency crisis and the flooding of Alexandria two years ago. There are also other figures who are blamed for various incidents and crises, depending on the situation. During his meeting with a group of intellectuals, Al-Sisi blamed the current disastrous situation on the deposed president Hosni Mubarak, saying: “The state institutions are rundown and Mubarak ran them into the ground.” He even referred to the January 25th Revolution and the events on 30 June as having “positive and negative impacts, but some overlook the negative impact it has had and the price we’ve had to pay.” During the same meeting, Al-Sisi said that he is not Egypt’s president, but its “son”, as a way to share responsibility with others and not to be responsible on his own. He expressed this when he said: “Don’t come and make a statement and then leave me and walk away.”

Read: Sisi’s terrorist organisation

The regular donation campaigns imposed by the government and its media outlets on the people also serve the same purpose. From the Long Live Egypt Fund, to the “Say Good Morning Egypt and Donate a Pound” initiative, the Egyptian citizen is continuously blamed and exhausted by demands, as if these initiatives would resolve the ongoing economic failure. Meanwhile, the government agreed to reduce the price of gas for iron and steel factories (includes the factories owned by businessman Ahmed Ezz, a senior Mubarak regime official) from $7 to $4.5, and state officials are paid salaries amounting to millions of pounds.

Al-Sisi himself has avoided the responsibility of protecting Egypt’s borders after a boat carrying illegal immigrants sunk and over 160 Egyptians on board died last year. He justified this by saying that protecting the borders requires an enormous effort and they cannot completely be controlled. This is the same idea reiterated by “preacher” Khalid Al-Jundi when he said that the head of state is not responsible for protecting the country’s land, but that the people must protect it. In addition to this, it was Al-Sisi himself who told the Egyptians, over a year ago, that they must be silent in the face of the crises they are facing and that responsibility for them is shared between him and the people. He added that the Egyptians are the ones who will determine the future of Egypt, not him, and that they promised to stand by him. He also said that he has played his role and carried out his duties, as if the Egyptians have the power to make decisions and as if they are political representatives who have the option of sharing responsibility with him.

As for the government’s political and media mouthpieces, they have repeatedly held the Muslim Brotherhood, the people, and even the blue genie responsible for all the country’s failures; everyone except Al-Sisi. With regards to the economic crisis, the media accused money exchange companies of being responsible for the decline in the price of the pound. The speaker of the parliament described the exchange companies as “cancer in the body of the Egyptian economy” and called for shutting them down. The media also accused traders of being greedy and the reason behind the rise in the prices of goods.

The then President elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech after signing the handing over of power document in Cairo, on June 8, 2014 [Egyptian Presidency / ApaImages]

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech in Cairo, on 8 June, 2014 [Egyptian Presidency/ApaImages]

When the editor-in-chief of a private newspaper tried to appear “revolutionary”, he accused the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, of being the reason for the current economic crisis and said Al-Sisi had nothing to do with it. The former prime minister came up with a new idea, that was out of the box, and decided to hold “housewives” responsible for the crisis after demanding that they manage their resources better since the country is experiencing economic hardship. Another private newspaper summed up the entire situation by saying that “the people are responsible for the president’s success in performing his duties”. All that was left for the newspaper to do was to ask Al-Sisi to evaluate the people.

Read: Brotherhood leader demands Sisi regime be prosecuted

After several police officers were killed in Badrashin a few months ago, the media mouthpieces scolded the people and blamed them for the death of the police officers. They claimed that the people did not do a good job in protecting the police from being killed. Some media outlets went as far as blaming the people for not taking action when they saw the gunmen opening fire on the soldiers! It is as if the unarmed people are obliged to confront armed gunmen and be killed instead of the soldiers. This is despite the fact that the video footage broadcast after the incident showed a police officer present only a few metres away from the site of the incident, but he hid and fled the scene in a panic, instead of performing his duty and protecting his colleagues. Another individual voiced the idea that the police do not work for the people, despite the fact that the official slogan of the Interior Ministry is “the police are in the service of the people”, and despite the fact that this is actually the police’s main duty, and without performing it, the police force becomes worthless.

In short, the rebels, Muslim Brotherhood, traders, housewives, Hassan Malik, Hosni Mubarak, Morsi and the masses are all responsible for the current situation in the country, according to the government and its mouthpieces, while Al-Sisi is not responsible for anything!

This article first appeared in Arabic on Arabi21 on 27 December 2017

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.