Ever since Morsi was elected, I have been taking a mental break from Egyptian politics. I was also busy with other things which could potentially serve as an excuse for the silence that reigned on this blog in the last weeks. But let's face it: I simply embraced the relief that Morsi's victory meant for me and many Egyptians and used the occasion to not think politics for a while. In the eyes of an activist friend of mine, this is what most Egyptians have done as well. But from his point of view this is a fundamental mistake, reproducing the people's failure to be active and resilient citizens in the last 30 years. In my friend's eyes, by not paying attention, people give SCAF a free hand in preventing Morsi from actually governing. And my friend himself was already worried because "it's been a week and Morsi has not done anything."
|Even though it was clear which struggles where lying ahead of the newly elected president, this couldn't dampen his supporter's joy on the day of celebration. (Unfortunately I have not recorded the woman ululating.)|
By now it's been a bit more than a week, and indeed, Morsi has not yet solved the traffic problem in Caro. But obviously it is not the case that nothing has happened since he was officially announced winner of the 2012 presidential race in Egypt. Rather, a lot has been ging on since then, even though the outcome remains unclear: Morsi was sworn in, gave speeches in Tahrir and at Cairo University, and allowed for a lot of speculation about potential ministers in his cabinet. Morsi also met with the heads and ministers of other states, among them the king of Saudi Arabia and Foreign Secretary Clinton, and maybe most importantly he decreed that the parliament be reinstated. Reinstating the parliament was possible (and maybe necessary?) because it had previously been dissolved by SCAF after the Supreme Court had declared parts of the electoral law unconstitutional. SCAF and the Supreme Court on the other hand refuted the legitimacy of Morsi's decree, but up to now the case is still pending as the administrative court also has a word to say in that issue.
The issue of the dissolved - reinstated - pending parliament is illustrative of the overall situation: none of the power struggles has come to closure yet. And: there is a lot of unfinished business, in pretty much any field that you can think of.
While this was to be expected from an ongoing revolution facing a counterrevolution (or at least a resilient military regime), what's shocking me is the lack of sound analysis in both Egyptian and international, commercial and non-commercial media and in the public discourse. Take the parliament issue: Barely any journalist, politician or self-proclaimed commentator (like I am) discusses the question whether SCAF's decision to dissolve parliament was legal or legitimate in the first place. Hardly anyone makes the effort of distinguishing between the judiciary's verdict (= Supreme Court declaring electoral law as unconstitutional) and the executive's action (=SCAF dissolving parliament). I started going through the English version of the court's decision, in an (eventually futile) attempt to figure out what exactly the court had decreed. In face of several pages of legal slang (Arabic legal slang translated to English might even be worse than legal slang per se), I soon threw in the towel and gave up to make up my mind about the legality of Morsi's reinstatement-decree. Thanks God, the absolutely incredible journalist Issandr El Amrani was more persistent and eventually commented on the issue in his post "Moustafa: Don't call the SCC's decision on parliament a dissolution" on his blog The Arabist. Yet, and this is the surprising part: hardly anyone else does.
People dozing away in the summer heat, giving in to exhaustion after 17 months of revolutionary turmoil and worries, helpes SCAF and the judiciary clinging to power and preventing democratically elected politicians from actually ruling. But the mediocre quality of political analysis in media and public discourse might do the bigger share. What we see is the endless swamping of the audience with rumours, conspiracy theories, and dramatic catchphrases. What we need is transparent, well-informed, and analytically sharp writing.