They never fail who die
In a great cause: the block may soak their gore:
Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs
Be strung to city gates and castle walls—
But still their Spirit walks abroad. Though years
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom,
They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
Which overpower all others, and conduct
The world at last to Freedom.
Lord Byron, Marino Faliero
Yesterday an estimated 17 million citizens protested against the absolutist ruler that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Morsi, by his own decree has become.
The head quarters of his party is a burnt out shell, looted, a symbol of frustrations that Morsi served not the people but the Muslim Brotherhood:
Morsi claims constitutional legitimacy during this crisis, having granted himself absolute powers being unaccountable to either the judiciary or elected assemblies. All institutions of the state existed to serve his designs, that of islamofacism over the will of the people to live in freedom. It is a far cry from what he told those in Tahrir Square on the eve of his inauguration:
“You are the source of power and legitimacy. There is no person, party, institution or authority over or above the will of the people.”
The scale of the opposition is something to behold after a year of failed delivery of the promise of the revolution.
… a coalition of opposition groups — dubbed Tamarod, or “rebel” — says it has collected more than 22 million signatures from Egyptian voters who want to see Morsi gone. If verified, the petitioners would far exceed the 13 million that voted Morsi into office. [The Atlantic]
Freedom of religion
As members of the US Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF) observed recently:
During this visit, USCIRF confirmed that Egypt is failing to meet international religious-freedom standards. In our 2013 annual report, released on April 30, we elaborated on our findings.
Among our concerns are Egypt’s new constitution, a code forbidding blasphemy, an impunity problem, restrictions on building places of worship and problems regarding religious identification and conversion.
While Cairo’s constitution affirms “freedom of belief,” it mentions only the right to practice religious “rites” and establish places of worship. It appears to limit even this narrow freedom to Egypt’s three “divine” religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, excluding Baha’is, atheists and agnostics, among others. [Al Monitor]
The New Promise of the Revolution
“He betrayed the revolution, betrayed Egyptians, and arrested everyone who opposed him,” said Amal Sharaf, one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, one of the earliest revolutionary groups in Egypt. In last year’s elections, it supported Morsi, but it’s now one of his most vocal critics.
“He thinks only he can write the constitution, only he can safeguard the Parliament, and he appoints governors from his party only…everything is his,” Sharaf said. [The Atlantic]
Whilst we can hope the demands of the people are finally listened too, and that it will be effective civil protests that work, I do not relish the thoughts of Byron above, or those of Jefferson below which sadly are true through the ages:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Tonight the world watches to see what happens next, as the army threatens to intervene in 48 hours if Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood do not reach an accommodation with the protestors. [Source BBC news]
UPDATE 8:10PM: with double digit resignations from his Cabinet pressure mounts on Morsi.
Army statement has been reported as:
“The Egyptian Armed Forces will not become involved in politics or administration; it is satisfied with its role as is spelt out in line with democratic norms,” read the statement, stressing that Egyptian national security was in “great danger” and referring to the armed forces’ “responsibility” to step in if national security was threatened.
“The Egyptian Armed Forces have set a deadline, which ended yesterday [Sunday], for all political powers to reconcile and end the current crisis, but no progress has been made. Consequently, the Egyptian people have taken to the streets,” the statement read. “Wasting more time will mean more division and conflict, which is what the armed forces warned of and of which it continues to warn,” the statement added.
According to the statement, the absence of national consensus is what led the people to take to the streets in full determination, “which has been praised on the internal, regional and global level.” The statement went on to warn that more time would only lead to greater polarisation, urging all parties to put the public interest first. “The armed forces reiterates its call that the demands of the people be met,” the statement read, giving political factions a 48-hour period “as a last chance to bear the historical burden that the nation is currently facing.” [Ahram Online]
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog