As a year passes since president Mohamed Morsi won the presidential elections, frustration is quite obviously erupting in the streets of Cairo. The stress has been building up for more than two months, dating from the launch of a campaign that goes by the name of Tamarod (or rebel), initiated by a group of unaffiliated young people who declared that they would start collecting signatures and canvass for votes nationwide in order to impeach the president. They chose June 30, the anniversary of the date that President Morsi took office as a day of massive protest to go out on the streets in a peaceful manner to force the president and his Brotherhood from their posts paving the way for an early presidential election.
As the date approached, tension has been rising. Shop workers have been milling about outside their shops, trying to escape the summer heat exacerbated by the long and recurring power cuts, that last for days, especially in rural areas. At 3 am in the morning you can see people pushing their cars in a 2km queue that they have been standing in for hours just to get gas. Frequent profanities interjected by President Morsi’s name, or that of the Muslim Brotherhood, are part of the day-to-day backdrop to Egyptian lives.
The term 30-June or talateen seta as it is in Arabic, is a password that you can depend on every time to discharge an endless volley of complaints and political theories and speculations. Not everybody is against Morsi and the Brotherhood, and people do argue in their defence, if only on the rather obvious grounds that Morsi was actually democratically elected, and that this means they must have had their share of support.
Since the beginning of the revolution, it has frequently been said that the majority of the Egyptian people have nothing to do with politics, and that they have no ideology or agenda, but wish to live quietly and raise their kids. So, the logic goes, they don’t care who the president is as long as he can bring about some betterment of their lives.
So what do they think now?
Karim Adel Eissa, hip hop artist: “I’m protesting because there have been no change in Egyptian society and life and politics and everything has simply got worse under the rule of the new government. Moreover, every influential position is slowly being taken over, booting out more worthy names and replacing them with candidates from the Muslim Brotherhood who happen to be far less experienced, and who end up ruining the quality of the services that they are meant to provide. We don’t know if anyone has any real solutions to our problems. All we do know is that the current regime is rocketing Egypt into outer darkness and that we have to change direction NOW before Egypt has had it.”
Ahmed Samy, an oil trader : “The protesters, however numerous, cannot settle the political dispute in Egypt, especially if they are asking Morsi to step down. If this were to happen we can kiss the future of Egypt goodbye, because no president will last more than a year, even if he was very good.”
Amr Ammar, pharmacist, agrees: “ More protest will not do anybody any good, and will only result in young people dying, and more bloodshed being shed on both sides.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamic political movements, have exerted a lot of effort to make the political struggle sectarian,” offers Hazem Hossam, who is studying for his doctorate, “They want to make it look as if Islam is under threat, and that they are the only ones who will be able to save it. This they hope will make them invincible – an impregnable position that in itself defies the concept of democracy.” This is why, he adds, “ I believe protesting is the only thing we can do as we cannot find a democratic solution under current conditions.”
There are expectations that the 'remnants of Mubarak’s regime' will be joining in the protests this time and actually make up a big proportion of the protesters. On this subject, Hazem Hossam is unmoved, “ Blood will be shed, but for the sake of saving Egypt. Blood is already being shed thanks to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Amira Refaat, an Arabic Language professor, mostly agrees with Hazem Hossam and adds, “ Unfortunately the bad management of the country under the Muslim Brotherhood has led to the elevation of people with political agendas and nothing else to recommend them. It is indeed mainly the remnants of Mubarak’s regime who are now flocking to the side of the revolution, but I am certain that the revolution has learned its lesson from the first time around, and will not let anyone hijack it a second time.”
Unfortunately most of the political parties and their leaders seem to have nothing to offer by way of a serious set of policies to address the major problems that Egypt is facing. So many people have decided that toppling the Muslim Brotherhood is the first step that they should take.