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February 18, 2013

Morsi: The beginning of his end

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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November 22, 2012 was a black day in the short history of the two year old Egyptian revolution. It was the day when Morsi gave himself absolute powers and turned into a dictator.

Before that date most Egyptians, including those who did not vote for him, were willing to give Egypt’s first elected president time to prove himself and to successfully tackle the country political as well as the economical and social justice files.

But the peoples’ hopes of having an elected president whose loyalty would be for all the Egyptians, men and women, rich and poor, Muslims and Christians, young and old, conservatives and liberals, and to serve them all well were dashed away.

Instead Morsi has proven he himself is fully controlled by his Muslim Brotherhood group and he was only working hard to maximize their grip on power, no more.

January 29 was another black day when Morsi newly appointed Prosecutor General Tal'at Abdullah ordered the mass arrest of The Black Bloc group, and also their supporters claiming it is a group engaged in "terrorist" activities.

The Black Bloc, a new Egyptian opposition group of young people, made its first appearance on the eve of the second anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution with a declared aim of fighting Egypt’s new dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The group is drawing its inspiration from the European Black Bloc protesters, using the same tactics first seen in Germany in the 1970s. Its members dress all in black.

Last Friday February 1 was another black day when Egyptians along with the whole world witnessed a live video showing Morsi’s police force using excessive violence against a poor unemployed labourer, 50 years old Hamada Saber who was protesting near the presidential palace.

What has made matters worse were the attempts of Morsi and his government to threaten the man to lie and to say that the protesters not the police who did beaten him and dragged him in the nude to the waiting police car.

Then Morsi’s interior minister lied in public saying Mr. Saber is telling the truth. But in the footage, Mr. Saber can be seen surrounded by a group of half a dozen officers clad in black riot gear and wielding batons. They hit him several times, remove his clothes, and drag him into an armoured vehicle.

Initially the interior ministry suggested that Mr. Saber was carrying petrol bombs or firing a gun and promised an investigation. On Saturday, its spokesman told the state news agency the incident was "regrettable and unacceptable".

The footage was shown repeatedly on Egyptian and international media and went viral on social media.

The president's office trying to do a damage control said it was "pained by the shocking footage of some policemen treating a protester in a manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights".

Yet Morsi’s office insisted this was "an isolated act". But it was a lie as Egyptians know full well that the police force is now in the service of Egypt’s new dictator Morsi and his MB group; most of those killed protesting after Morsi took office were killed by the police.

The story got the attention of more media coverage again as Mr. Saber appeared on state television from a police hospital.  He described how he had been drinking a soda and watching the scenes when “protesters” surrounded him. "They didn't leave me any money and took my clothes," he said.

But his relatives, including his young daughter Ranya gave a series of TV interviews contradicting her father version of events.

"He's afraid, he's in hospital and everyone around him tells him what to say," she said. "They [the police] hit him, you saw what happened."

But Mr. Saber got the courage to tell the truth when human rights lawyers promised him legal help.

"He's a coward," said Mr. Saber cousin, Ashraf when Mr. Saber was forced to lie. But the real cowards here are Morsi, his government and his MB group. The Saber’s incident is the beginning of the end of Morsi’s dictatorship; it is a matter of how and when, as the killing of young Khalid Saeed by Mubarak’s police ended his dictatorship two years ago.

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