On 28 December, contractor Mohamed Ali (or son of the army, as he calls himself), released a document, which he said the entire spectrum of the Egyptian political opposition in the diaspora had participated in formulating. Some supported the document while others rejected it, but they all supported his call for a revolution on 25 January against the coup-led government in Egypt, in which the political forces rally around Mohamed Ali’s call as a face for the opposition army, and not as a leader of the revolution.
Mohamed Ali’s document contained some clauses in the 2012 constitution, as it contained key points on justice, rule of law, strengthening citizenship rights, and respecting human rights. It also mentioned the freedom to establish and manage political parties and NGOs, re-structuring the state’s relationship with all religious institutions, activating women’s participation, transitional justice as a guarantee for achieving societal reconciliation, preserving full national independence and rejecting subordination and dependency.
For support of his document, Ali relied on two factors, the first of which was the Muslim Brotherhood’s approval of his initiative, after he tried to ignore the group during the 20 September movement. The Brotherhood did not participate, so he adjusted his path and contacted it to receive its support. The second factor is the affirmation of the secularism of the state, which he expressed with the term “civil” to avoid a confrontation with the public regarding the content. The Muslim Brotherhood agreed with the concept of a civil state in their Islamic sense, because Islam does not have a theocratic religious rule, despite what those who confuse ecclesiastical history in the Middle Ages with Islamic history claim or as the proponents of the counter-revolution in Egypt claimed when they wanted to topple a president with an Islamic reference.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Ali talks about a civil state under the understanding that Islamic legislation contradict a civil state, and said he would leave this up to the people to decide and that they could disagree with his document. However, he reiterated that this would be his guarantee when he returns to Egypt. It is as if he is trying to gain legitimacy for the document by bending its meanings. Ali did not announce the team that helped him formulate the document.
I must reiterate that the concept within the document is different for each side, so that we do not find some claiming that the Brotherhood betrayed their principles, like we heard in the past.
Despite Mohamed Ali’s admission that there was a coup d’état on the elected legitimate President, Mohamed Morsi, he insists that the period from 2012 to 2013 be erased, and promotes the idea that Egypt did not go through a democratic experience. He erases from memory the fact that a number of candidates presented platforms and programmes for presidency, the occurrence of strong debates broadcasted on satellite channels, the people’s choice of a president who won by 52 per cent, the election of a parliament and Shura Council, a referendum on a constitution by 64 per cent, and that Morsi’s rule was not a dictatorship, but a democracy.
Ali denies that he depended on the efforts of others, and did not mention that. had it not been for the thousands of corpses that the coup had crushed, killed and executed, and had it not been for voices that spoke the truth before him, he would not have been able to speak in the name of the people! Mohamed Ali used the same vocabulary as Al-Sisi when he considered the document as a mandate to become the official spokesman for the revolution with the army when the people removed the coup. Ali explained his future plans after the success of a revolution in whose name he is speaking from abroad and he will land as a leader of the revolution, like Mohamed El-Baradei did before him.
The Brotherhood announced in a statement that it will stand with the people. The rest of the opposition forces announced that they would take to the streets on 25 January, and they are only unified by the toppling of Al-Sisi’s government. This is not a good sign, as the wounds have not yet healed and there is no unified ground to stand on. The side that participated in the coup continues to tear down the party that was toppled.
How can the revolutionary forces fail to agree throughout the past nine years but reach an understanding when they are put on one field? How can we imagine that those who acted against the democratic government and killed its supporters, with the help of the army, work together with the families of the victims? What future can be drawn with these broken pens?
The dimming of the success of the democratic experiment in Egypt after the January Revolution in favour of the forces that participated in the June coup and who are now calling for freedom and democracy, makes us wonder, what kind of democracy they seek. Is this dimming required, so that the distorted popular mental image of the Brotherhood remains the same to make it easy to exclude them later from the political scene?
Mohamed Ali is announcing a revolutionary movement and reassuring people that experts prepared it. At the same time, Wael Ghonim, the icon of the January Revolution, is apologising to the Mubarak regime that he revolted against, and announced his support for Sisi’s government that staged a coup against an emerging democratic government that was acquired by the January Revolution, of which he was one of the youth. He is asking the youth not to take to the streets on 25 January and frightening them.
This charged atmosphere may indicate the end of the coup-led government or it may end in nothing. However, there is no doubt that every movement that occurs shakes the throne of the coup leader, and makes the revolution burn brighter in the hearts of the people. There is no doubt that every night is followed by day and that every oppressor will come to an end. We will continue to monitor the situation and tomorrow is just a day away.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.