Egypt on the road to new democracy ? – Hopefully


The Mursi régime in Egypt has fallen. His party the Muslim Brotherhood has lost their formal power and the country is again in turmoil where sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood clash with modern Muslims, secular groups, feminist movements and Christian Copts. 30 people have died since yesterday. Mohammed Mursi was ousted and his constitution suspended by July 3d 2013.

On January 25th 2011 the former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in the last Egyptian revolution during the Arab Spring. Today on July 6th 2013 the trial against the former President Hosni Mubarak continues. Mohammed Morsi came into power on June 25th 2012 and his year in power has been very dictator-like, and especially women have had to suffer a lot during the rule of Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Having said that one has to keep in mind that reactionary, conservative forces with a patriarch structure exist in all religions and countries, and is by no means unique for Egypt or the Muslim world. Both strong believers, more moderate, modern believers and seculars suffer. The Egyptians are absolutely not stupid, even if they are fiercely divided. In the first election after the initiating revolution in 2011 the first backlash came quickly. The until then 64 seats in the Egyptian Parliament for women were withdrawn. In June 2012 The Egyptian Supreme Constitution Court decided that the election contradicted the constitutional law of the country. Until a new House of Commons was formed the judiciary power were in the hands of the Shura Council. That Council consisted of 93% men, and after Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood came to power last summer they bit by bit have opposed the human rights of women.

  • The Shura Council with the Muslim Brotherhood lowered the minimum age for marrying off girls to the age of 14.
  • They made it easier to allow purchase of sexual favours from girls and women without being punished for it.
  • A suggested law bill about gender equality was excluded and stopped.
  • Article 2 continues with saying that Shari’a is to be the primary source.
  • Article 10 says that the state “is to balance between the woman’s obligations towards the family and public work”, which litterally means that it’s up to a judge to decide whether a woman’s career “is in balance” or not.
  • Women’s organizations and women’s shelters have been opposed and pressured back.

This however has not gone by without protests from Egyptian feminists, different women’s organizations, by seculars and moderate, modern muslims. During 2012 ca 50 demonstrations were arranged to oppose those rules. One of a great number of protesting women was and is the Egyptian artist Bahia Shebab who already after the revolution in 2011 handed out stenciling leaflets on the streets of Cairo which read: “No to military rule, no to burning books, no to violence”. The organization Woman to Woman has pinpointed the enormous amount of violence against women, sexual harrassments, rapes, beatings etc. Saba Nowzari from Woman to Woman and Rebecca Chiao from HarrasMap have described how it’s done. As late as 2005 the subject was taboo in Egypt, but now it’s on everybody’s lips.
The attacks on women have increased this last year and become worse and worse. Often the attacks seem to be planned and organized. Some men are payed for attacking women, this has been proven by films shot by stealth. There might be five to ten men attacking and assaulting a woman and up to 100 spectators. The Mursi régime blamed the women for this and said that they only have to suit themselves. Egypt has no law against violating and attacking women and culprits can’t be punished for it. For my part I wish that it will change, even if I’m no woman. I however want to see fairness in the world we live in: be it in Egypt, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Greece, France, USA, Great Britain, Australia or Sweden… Or any other country. During the Mursi régime there has been an increase in sold young brides in their early and later teens to men in especially Jordan and the Gulf States, female circumcision, as well as an increased poverty in the Egyptian population where the above mentioned has been an unwished way out of that poverty. After the dictatorship declaration from Mohammed Mursi last winter which gave him almost complete power as dictator, millions of Egyptians took to the streets on December 7th 2012.


Egypt is the most prominent country in the Arab world when it comes to IT, media, film, journalism etc, which has become an important factor for why this revolution and democracy grass-root movement has developed so quickly. On January 25th 2011 the independent newspapers e.g. wrote that everyone ought to go to the Tahrir-Square to demonstrate. One important Egyptian-American journalist who’s very active on Twitter is Ghazala Irshad whose tweets are very strait to the point, direct, clear, but also varied. Reading her tweets and others give anyone interested a good idea of the brightness, straightforwardness and prominence in what’s going on in that ancient, but also very modern country. Of course Mohammed Mursi also has many followers. He nevertheless was elected by devout conservative muslims last year, and he still has many followers. Egypt today is very divided, and lots of people on both sides in the engulfed conflict have lost their lifes… and tragically enough it most likely will continue like that for some time. On June 20th 2013 the Tamarod-movement or Rebell-movement arranged new demonstrations in Cairo on Tahrir-Square and elsewhere with the intention to gather at least 15 million signatures against the Mursi régime. They succeeded and actually got 22 million signatures in all. Their protest note said: “Since Mohammed Mursi came to power the average citizen still has the feeling that none of the goals from the revolution – a worthy life, freedom, social justice and national independence – as yet have been achieved.” On June 30th, last Sunday and this last Monday, July 1st 33 million people were out protesting. On July 3d 2013 Mohammed Mursi was forced to leave his presidency and the Egyptian millitary put him under house-arrest. Adli Mansour has been chosen as temporary president until the next elections. The military has taken command, which for the moment maybe will give some security – maybe, but it also worries Egyptians who long for real democracy. 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested by the military. Egypt’s most famous feminist Nawal El Saadawi wrote: “Down with the islamists and the military… We need a secular state which accepts the demands of the revolution. A dream I have long nourished”.

Since yesterday at least 30 people have been killed. A summary of the last days could be summed up like this. At least 10 dead when Mursi’s followers and security forces clashed outside Cairo. In Alexandria shots were fired and stones thrown – three people killed. In the city of Minya – three people killed, in northern Marsa Matrou – four dead. Civilians opened fire the other night on 2000 Mursi-followers near a Mosque in a suburb to Cairo, according the Mursi spokesman Ghehad al-Haddad. Egypt has closed down three TV-stations, among others one belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. Security forces have arrested five people working for Al-Jazeera. The violence has increased and Mursi’s followers have arranged counter-demonstrations after the shooting towards the mosque. Yesterday five police officers were killed  and earlier this afternoon the Coptic Priest Mina Aboud Sharween was killed by followers to the Muslim Brotherhood when he was out walking in the Musaeed area in El Arish on the Sinai peninsula. The Muslim Brotherhood have persecuted Christian Copts and Jews for a long time, while the Coptic Pope Tawadros have supported the removal of Mohammed Mursi from power. There are ca 8 million Copts in Egypt, which is one of the earliest churches in the world.

All this hate between groups is a great tragedy, and I personally would like to see a more accepting co-existence. It’s not likely or preferable that all the world would become Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish, or Communist, or Capitalist, or Socialist or whatever. What we do need though is to find ways for co-existence for the survival of our species. I have explained that in several of my earlier texts. We must learn to recognize human dignity, an acceptance for wonderous variety and respect for human rights and diversification. If we do that it will become easier to focus on our common human survival. A future that we might be proud of as much as possible. I hope that all the bloodshed in Egypt finally will lead to tranquility, a re-built country, a proud Egyptian people and democracy that includes human rights, free elections and gender equality from both female and male perspectives to, hopefully, make the love and understanding between the sexes better instead of a gender war, male hate of women and female hate of men. What kind of future do we want, and what do the Egyptians want? A democracy, a theocracy or military dictatorship?

Anders Moberg, July 6th 2013

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