The Egyptians have come around full circle since the January 25th Revolution, right smack dab to where they started. Former General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has been crowned (a much better word choice than elected) president of Egypt in a landslide win that surprised zero percent of the population. I still don’t know why Hamdeen Sabahi even bothered to run (the symbolic gesture was otherwise) and I really don’t know why the Egyptian Presidential Committee even bothered to hold elections in the first place.
Sisi has been groomed for the role of Supreme Leader, or Lunatic, or Power-Luster, since the coup (what else do you call it when a military hijacks a legitimately elected president?) so he should have just taken office then and called it a day, democracy be damned. Because what was democratic about this election? Only one other candidate participated. Reporters were prevented in some areas from going to the polling stations. People had to travel further to vote rather than stay in their original voting district–a fact which was changed only after the PEC realized that this was an issue. Elections were extended an extra day because of poor voter turnout. So what? In a democracy, majority rules. If only 5 people turn up to vote, you count their damn votes and whoever wins wins.
Despite the rumours of corruption at the polls, maybe the majority of Egyptians do want him president. Maybe he really is the most-qualified Egyptian out there to do what it takes to bring the country around… but I highly doubt it. Where were his plans for office? He didn’t campaign. He just assumed he would win. This is arrogance, hubrous–and for what? He was a military general, not a politician. Who will be his advisers? Other military men? What do they know of economics, of culture, of democracy?
The world has been mostly silent for this election, unlike when Mohammad Morsi was elected in 2012. Morsi was hailed as the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s history–he was–but look where that landed him. Today, Monday 2 June, the “results” of the election will be officially announced, although everyone knows that Sisi won. Yet there is not a single article on CNN; you had to dig on Fox News to find an article. There was no mention of the elections today on Ahram’s homepage; Al-Arabiya mentioned Sabahi’s appeal to the PEC only at the bottom of the page. Even Al-Monitor, which is more editorial in content than news-reporting, did not feature it’s Sisi article-which did not denounce the elections-as a main article.
Why the silence? I know it’s not surprising that Sisi won, but I feel that everyone is afraid to critique him, lest they be labeled a terrorist/Muslim Brotherhood member. Al-Bernameg, Bassem Youssef’s satirical TV program, has officially been canceled, and although he insists that he canceled it after a mutual decision with his crew, there is no doubt that he was pressured into doing so or else knew that he wouldn’t be able to air the show without extreme censorship. This is not a good way for Egypt to start “afresh.”
The bottom line is that there is nothing “fresh” or new about Sisi’s presidency. Only time will tell, of course, but the Egyptians decided to head straight back into the mouth of the army. It’s like the January 25th Revolution never happened, and the thousands who have died died in vain. Well, the Egyptians made their bed; if they want Egypt to sink back into its decaying, dusty doldrums, than they made the right choice. And if they decide Sisi is just as bad as every other leader, well….they can always try to revolt again.
2. http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/102760.aspx al-bernameg