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Egypt is the land of the bizarre

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attends a press conference in Cairo, Egypt on 12 April 2018 [Egyptian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

The streets in downtown Cairo were completely shut down and the people were banned from running their errands and attending to their businesses. Cars were also prevented from accessing the streets, while planes flew low in the sky two days before Egypt’s pharaoh was sworn in for another presidential term in front of the parliament. The parliament’s building is located downtown and preparations to secure the path to the location were underway two days in advance in this provocative manner. As for the actual day, he arrived with an enourmous entourage consisting of dozens of cars in front of and behind him, while planes guarded him from above. He even drove in the opposite direction, despite the fact that the streets were empty of both vehicles and pedestrians, as if the country had no other people but himself and his guards.

This occurred despite the fact that they claimed he won the elections by 98 per cent vote and that the people chose him. Why, then, all this fear from his allegedly loving nation?

This scene reminds us of the election of the first civilian president in 2012, President Mohamed Morsi, when he stood in Tahrir Square, amongst the people, not separated from them by a barrier or guard. He melded into them, he is from them and them from him. On that day he held his jacket open and bravely exposed his chest to the people, telling them he wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest. This is the difference between a truly elected civilian president and a military man who came to power on the back of a tank by means of a military coup.

Ironically, while he was being sworn in and making his pledges to the Egyptian people, the decision was made to double the price of water. In addition to this, at a time when he is promising reconciliation and tolerance, he had arrested many political activists known as liberals and those opposed to the Islamist trend. The arrests are no longer limited to those affiliated with the Islamist trend, but now also include all those opposed to military rule.

Read: Egypt convicts journalists for insulting Al-Sisi’s family

During an iftar event held by the Civil Democratic Movement last week, the Interior Ministry’s thugs attacked the attendees while Maghreb prayer was being called. A number of the movement’s members and party leaders were wounded and the hall was trashed. This was a very clear message, a message of intimidation sent by the government to the opposition, articulating that it will not allow them to get together, even if it was not politically related. It is also a warning to hotel owners, warning them against hiring out their halls to the opposition, otherwise they will be subject to damages and loss.

Since the first day of the coup, we have been telling these civil forces, which acted as the civil backing for this coup, over which the coup’s tanks crossed, not to be too happy about the violations and arrests against the Muslim Brotherhood, as they would regret it and it would come back to bite them. We told them to keep in mind that what goes around comes around, but they covered their ears, as their hatred towards the Islamist trend, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, is greater than their love for their homeland and democracy. We said, imagine the coup were to rid you of them and give a new government, but I do not think they were that naïve to believe this, however, the intense hatred towards the Muslim Brotherhood filled their hearts. This hatred stems from their hatred towards Islam. This is the truth they are trying to hide behind their support for the military coup and their encouragement of it. Now they are swallowing the bitter pill that they were involved in preparing for their fellow Egyptians.

#SisiEra

One of the bizarre matters that occurred these days is the fact that the deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Alaa Mubarak, was present in Al-Hussein Mosque for the dawn prayer. The worshippers left their prayers and gathered around him in what looked like a display of love and welcoming. Everyone was competing to take a selfie with him, completely forgetting the fact that he is the son of the corrupt president they revolted against seven years ago.

One cannot tell if this is an expression of nostalgia and longing for this bad presidential rule after they witnessed a term worse than Mubarak’s during Al-Sisi’s rule or is it a depressing message to the people from the intelligence agencies saying there is no point in trying to revolt once again against the current government.

However, Egypt is the land of bizarreness and God has always helped its controversial people.

Read: Egypt repatriates stolen artifacts from France

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

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