Nearly four years ago in January of 2011 the Egyptian Revolution began. Citizens began an uprising to over throw Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
It was part of the greater Arab Spring that engulfed the region at that time. The revolution saw many give their life for freedom with many more injured. In the end, it was a success as it led to the ousting of Mubarak. Parliamentary and presidential elections were held and in June of 2012, Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president was announced: Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi’s background was from the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which also won parliamentary seats in the new Egyptian Parliament. During Morsi’s brief tenure, Egypt experienced freedoms it had never seen, from freedom of press and the ability to criticize the government, to allowing any peaceful protests to occur against the government or president. Morsi also began swift changes to improve Egypt’s economy and lessen its dependence on foreign aid. Under his leadership, Egypt’s agricultural exports increased by 43%. He also vowed to end Egypt’s dependence on foreign wheat within four years, as Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. This required lifting restrictions on farmers in Egypt that the previous government had in place.
While his critics decried many of his domestic policies, blaming energy and infrastructure issues on him, most unbiased individuals felt these issues were due to the previous regime and the country was moving in the right direction. Sadly Western imperialism does not take into account what is beneficial for countries. For decades puppet regimes have been installed in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region to serve western powers.
On July 3rd 2013, a coup led by defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removed Morsi from power. Martial law was implemented and Sisi appointed himself as commander in chief. While this was a clear military coup to any outside observer, President Obama issued a lengthy statement never referring to it as such. The reason for doing so was acknowledging it is a coup would mean to stop aid to Egypt. Per US law, aid cannot be given to a country which came into power via coup. This is an obvious protection to Sisi and a blatant disregard for the will of the people of Egypt.
During Sisi’s tenure thousands have died protesting his coup. Most famously the Rabaa massacre. Human rights and freedoms were violated as the press was no longer able to criticize the government. Homosexuality became forbidden and many were arrested for things such as filming gay weddings. Mock elections were staged to legitimize Sisi’s powers which the West cheered for. Agricultural restrictions were once again placed upon farmers. It is worth noting the Egypt has some of the worlds best soil for growing an array of crops.
Most recently Sisi began mimicking Israeli policies of demolishing homes. Plans are underway to remove all the homes in Rafah, Egypt. This blatant displacement of citizens is done under the pretense of creating a security zone from the Hamas governed Gaza Strip. It is worth noting the Hamas has never attacked Egypt; they have clearly stated their fight is with the Israeli occupation and attacking Egypt serves them no purpose. However this buffer zone greatly serves Israel, as it cuts off tunnels used by Gazans to import many items from medicine to agriculture to building equipment. Removing this lifeline further strengthens the Israeli siege placed upon the Gaza Strip by Israel. This siege was placed after another fair election yielded a result that was not approved by Western powers when Hamas won elections.
As the situation in Egypt gets worse day by day, one cannot help but feel the pain of the Egyptian people who have sacrificed so much to obtain freedom — freedom unjustly taken away by a Western-aided coup. US aid to Egypt has now resumed and Israel has hailed Sisi as a great ally. Sisi himself has declared he has Egypt’s best interest at heart while continuing to imprison opposing voices, criminalize journalism and make refugees of his own citizens.
Imperialism continues to dictate the lives of many in MENA. Official statements from Washington claim that America promotes democracy worldwide, but democracy is an illusion in MENA and to some degree even in the United States.
The will of the Egyptian people is strong and their day to enjoy a just and happy life will come. For the sake of many, let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.