When the world thought, in supporting the Arab Spring, that the Egyptians were doing the right thing in ousting military dictator Hosni Mubarak and replacing him with Mohamed Morsi, the first Islamist to lead the Arab world’s most populous nation, now it is seeing, sooner than expected, history repeating itself as the Egyptian people are back in the streets demonstrating and shouting for the ouster of yet another ‘pharaoh in the making.’
The protests against Morsi are even larger than those against Mubarak as they see little or no difference in Mubarak’s regime and the one Morsi is trying to impose on Egypt.
Morsi seemed to have come out a different person and his true color is showing now than when he gave that rousing speech on the day he took his oath of office, where he promised dignity and social justice and swore to uphold the constitution and “the republican system”, reciting the words of an oath he took in front of the supreme constitutional court.
He insisted then that “no institution will be above the people”, critiquing an army which has sought to shield itself from parliamentary oversight. ”You are the source of authority,” he told the crowd.
But then we already have heard of the saying that, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
This is what seems to have happened to Morsi, especially when he emerged as a major regional player in the Israel-Gaza cease-fire deal last month.
For an Islamist leader, who, report says, refuses to talk to Israelis or even say the country’s name, to mediate that militant rocket fire into Israel stops and that Israel allows the opening of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and stops its own attacks against Hamas, and be successful finally turned Morsi into Israel’s de facto protector.
Needless to say that Morsi won the trust of the United States and Israel, which once worried over the rise of an Islamist leader in Egypt.
“I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who met Morsi, said at a Cairo press conference with Egypt’s foreign minister announcing the accord.
“This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace,” she added.
This compliment and acclamation from Clinton and the rest of the world must have fatten up Morsi’s ego and his clout must have corrupted him absolutely for not long after that he announced and adopted sweeping new powers in a decree and even stripped the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.
He has also called a nationwide referendum for 15 December on a new constitution, which opponents say has been rushed through and fails to protect the rights of minorities, particularly women.
Thus, up to 10,000 protesters converged on the presidential palace, cutting through barbed wire and reaching the palace walls after police, who fired tear gas into the crowd, were forced to retreat.
Protesters surrounded the palace on at least three sides and a handful attempted to scale the wall.
“The people want the downfall of the regime,” the demonstrators chanted, echoing a slogan that was used during protests against Mr Morsi’s ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak.