On the first anniversary of the death of President Mohamed Morsi, the first civilian-elected president in the history of Egypt, I recall the words of tribute about him. They were not words of praise by those who loved him, or criticism from his opponents, but rather words expressed by various figures about the man who suffered injustice, both in life and in death.
We saw how he was careful not to shed the blood of the Egyptians or to diminish the legitimacy derived from the January revolution, even if the price was his seat and his life. This was evident in the statement of an Egyptian officer quoted by the Associated Press, in which he claimed that Morsi tied the army’s hands, as they wanted revenge when the armed attacks against the army occurred in Sinai. He reportedly told President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi: “I don’t want Muslims to shed the blood of fellow Muslims.”
From preventing bloodshed amongst Egyptians, to the panic his presence imposed on the occupation state’s leaders and their friends, their own words are the best proof of this. Israeli former Minister of Justice Yossi Beilin wrote: “Obviously, Israel cannot mourn Morsi’s death. If pressed, even this author would have to admit a preference for Sisi’s dictatorship over Morsi’s democracy,” referring to himself.
As for Israeli army brigadier, General Aryeh Eldad, as quoted by Saleh Al-Naami: “The outbreak of the January revolution coincided with the Israeli security assessment that President-elect Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood man, intended to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and send more Egyptian military forces to the Sinai Peninsula.”
If we were to put aside the issue of foreign policy and international relations, and look to the minefield of the leaders of Islamic thought and politics, specifically regarding art and media, we find the answer in President Morsi’s dealings with artists. Singer Mohamed Mounir described his meeting with Morsi as being in good faith, and that the president extended his hand to art, therefore artists must extend their hands as well, so that they have a positive role in the revival of Egypt. Meanwhile, actor Adel Imam’s response to a presenter’s question about his meeting with Morsi was significant. He described that President Morsi spoke in a manner that indicated that he was very cultured, and had great respect for freedom of expression, as Morsi mentioned American films considered to be part of cinematic history.
After Morsi’s victory, Imam called for respecting legitimacy as a national duty, expressing: “We accept the outcome of the ballot and will help Morsi as he is required to help us, provided that there will always be a strong opposition that drives us to the right path.”
On 27 August, 2012, German DW-TV channel broadcast Morsi’s decision regarding the formation of his team, reporting that Morsi appointed a Christian intellectual, a university professor and a Salafi leader as part of his team of advisors, seemingly seeking to open up to his opponents who accuse the Muslim Brotherhood, who he is associated with, of wanting to dominate the country.
However, this was not enough to spare Morsi from harm, and was one of the tools of the attack against him during his presidency. Nor did his imprisonment spare him from media outlets’ criticism of him. This was also the case with many leaders of Arab and Western countries and governments.
Upon announcing his death, many paid their respects and offered condolences, such as the Turkish president, the emir of Qatar and former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. However, the Queen Dowager of Jordan Noor Al-Hussein surprised everyone with her condolences when she tweeted: “RIP first and only democratically-elected President of #Egypt #Morsi.”
“The death of martyred President Mohamed Morsi in the tragic circumstances we have seen, forever bear witness to the strength of the man and his courage and humanity, and his attachment to the last soul with its values and positions,” conveyed former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki.
President Morsi departed, and his immortal positions and steadfastness during his imprisonment remain as a lesson for all that come after him; a lesson of commitment to our stances, courage in truth and refusal to give into falsehood, no matter how loud its voice is.
Translated from Arabi21, 17 June 2020
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.