Sentencing Egypt to death and propping up the pharaoh

The death sentence handed down by a Cairo court against Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt, is emblematic of the country’s transformation into a despotic and repressive military state. Since Abdul Fatah el-Sissi’s coup in July 2013, the Egyptian junta under his command has managed to kill thousands, imprison opposition members, sentence over 1,500 people to death and carry out a political cleansing campaign across the country. The court system, if one can even metaphorically give it that title, has been transformed into an effective tool to shape the political landscape and eliminate all opposition to the coup by sentencing hundreds to death and imprisoning some 20-30,000 across the country. In the context of the coup, the judges are presiding over kangaroo courts and in the process are not only condemning Morsi and his supporters to death but also Egypt itself. What we have is an attempt to prop-up a modern pharaoh in a land that has grown accustomed to museums exhibiting mummified figures.

The charges against Morsi included spying and collaborating with Hamas and Hezbollah, escaping from prison during the 2011 uprising, and supposedly inciting the killing of demonstrators in 2012. Had these charges been serious and had real evidence been available then the junta would have had a public trial and possibly televised the event to the world, but alas it was behind closed doors and in secret. The irony of having a secret closed-door trial for the first democratically elected president of Egypt escaped el-Sissi and the handpicked judges in the kangaroo court. Trials of this type harken back to bygone European medieval inquisition “courts,” the dungeons of the communist era and despotic Arab leaders acting as judges, prosecution and executioners to stay on top of a rotten political and socio-economic pyramid.

While this verdict against Morsi is alarming; nevertheless, it could not have been possible without the support and embracing of el-Sissi by the Gulf States, European powers, the U.S. President, congressional leaders, Israel and AIPAC in Washington DC. Had an animal been sentenced to death, the response from the “civilized” capitals and men and women of opinion would have been different and media coverage would have been around the clock. Embracing and rehabilitating el-Sissi and his junta was a first rate operation, stage managed with public relations firms and well-paid lobbyist that worked overtime to cast the “strong man” into a strategic ally in the fight against terrorism.

The same logic that propped-up Mubarak for some 30 years is at work and el-Sissi’s junta have unleashed a domestic war machine against a fomented terrorist threat that allowed them to appear as custodians and saviors of Egypt. The military and the interior ministry forces are skilled and crafty in creating the needed security conditions in the country to appear as if terrorists are hiding behind every pyramid and only the pharaoh and “his magicians” can save the day and rescue all Egyptians from possible harm. What is assisting el-Sissi’s effort is the apparent chaos across the region, with wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, allowing the merchants of death to argue once again for stability based on exhibited strength. Precisely, this argument is what makes it possible for all to stand silent while Egypt itself is sentenced to death to preserve the supposed global interests in the region. When an elected president is removed by the military, then all of the voters, whether for or against Morsi, suffer the same fate as him at the hands of the handpicked judge who sentenced him to death along with hundreds of his supporters. The verdict makes a mockery of justice.

Where are all the spokespeople of democracy and human rights? Where are all those who advocate the rule of law? Where are all the groups that advocate religious freedom? All is quiet on the Western Front and not a single ambassador has been recalled, not a single contract has been cancelled and not a single military equipment delivery has been delayed. When a Muslim subject is involved then the response differs on whether he or she is guilty, even when they are the victims of a crime. At the core, Islamophobia is having its desired effect by producing a reflexive hatred toward the Muslim subject that negates the possibility of him or her being a normal human that is endowed with human rights equal to everyone else and ready to defend them when needed. Alas, for those wanting to defeat terrorism, el-Sissi’s military junta will only manage to breed a new generation of terrorists so as to justify perching themselves as the new pharaohs on top of a pyramid of Egyptian skulls.