Which Egypt are you speaking about..!
By: Dena Kamel and Mohamed S. Kamel*
December 31, 2013
[This is a clarification on the situation in Egypt in response to Patrick Martin article on Egypt published in the Globe and Mail in Dec 18, 2013 titled "Egypt’s new charter stronger on personal freedoms"]
While Egyptians are being called to a referendum on a new constitution, the second in a year, they have become divided on the coup and its constitution. The division is not ideological or religious, as you can find liberal, Islamist, leftist, Muslims and Copts in both camps. On one side stands coup supporters, defending the army dictated process without any reasoning, repeating propaganda fed to them by Egypt’s media. On the other side stand the anti-coup campaigners, refusing the entire process, wondering why they lost the newborn democracy and at what price.
We really wonder from where Mr. Martin in his article in the Canadian Globe and Mail on December 18th, 2013*, got this theory that “Egypt’s new charter stronger on personal freedoms”? He claims that it eliminates the religion state as if Egypt had a theocratic regime.
We all lived the aspiration of January 25th, 2011 revolution lead by the Egyptian people, not by any politician or any political party, but by the people!
Less than 3 years after the removal of the longest and worst dictator Egypt had ever known ‘Mubarak’, Egyptians are being asked to vote again on a modified constitution; even though they already approved one a year ago.
It might seem to some acceptable and reasonable for a revolting people to change directions, but what was the motivation of this change is the critical question that is looking for an answer.
In 2012, Egyptians adopted a constitution that is not perfect but acceptable from people writing their own constitution for the first time of their life, a constitution being written by a people assembly and not being dictated by anyone but their own will and aspiration, working under the pressure from the “deep country” remained after ‘Mubarak’. Voted in a free referendum and carried within itself a mechanism for modification.
As the newborn democracy crossing its second year, the street started to explode under a heavy media propaganda spreading rumors and creating a hostile environment lead by the old regime taking it to the edge and labeling everyone of the new administration of wrongdoing and labeling the entire process of failure.
The army was the main tool, using all means and methods, to create the point that lead to the coup on July 3rd, 2013, removing the first freely elected president and suspending the first people constitution, drawing a road map that people never approved in a democratic process. And how can a democratic process happen under a military coup?
While the outcome of this process is a drafted constitution, drafted behind closed door without any real consultation by appointed pro-coup people, Mr. Martin named them ‘50 notables’ who drafted the document as ‘healthy contingent’ lead by ‘Amr Moussa’ an ex-minister in the Mubarak regime.
Mr. Martin’s claims that the new constitution ‘reinforce press freedoms’ and ‘Freedom of assembly and demonstration also is declared’ while all opposition media is being silenced under the military coup and peaceful assembly has been targeted by killings and young girls have been sentenced to 11 years in prison for manifesting against the coup. None of this happened under the 2012 constitution before July 3rd coup, and a campaign to arrest people refusing this drafted constitution is already undergoing.
Mr. Martin gathered his information from the pro-coup elite and they either never read the 2012 constitution and that drafted in 2013 or they are just spreading propaganda.
Without going into the draft itself our discussion is not complete, but we are not in an article by article comparison to defend one in front of the other, we would just like to point out the main differences between the legitimate constitution and the illegitimate draft.
The major changes include making the army a state within the state, where the president can’t appoint his minister of defence, he is not his minister of defence anymore, and nulling the article banning Mubarak’s corrupted regime from politics.
We question the process asking why Egyptians would accept the military coup, nulling five (5) free votes and creating a new one. How can we guarantee the fairness of the process and any vote, while?
· all opposition figures are detained and all opposition in the street is targeted by the army and the police between arrests and killings.
· no one single opposition media outlet is allowed to operate
· all state agencies took one side (Police, army, juridical system, district governments, media)
· the coup annulled the counting of the vote on the spot, and will move boxes to count somewhere else
· investigations into judicial election fraud during the 2005 and 2010 elections periods have been suspended and the same judges are back to administrate this vote.
· What would be the guarantee that the military will not do it again if the self-appointed minister of defence disagrees with the so called ‘elected president’?
We think it is clear why this coup took place and why the constitution is being re-written, and that is why we can’t participate in this process and that is why we are calling on all Egyptians to boycott the process that is defeating the revolution and handing the country over to the army and the same old corrupted regime.
For all of this, we can’t accept a process that has been dictated by a coup that is killing thousands of peaceful Egyptians while promoting and freeing ‘Mubarak’ gangs,
We can’t accept to participate in the counter revolution.
* Dena and Mohamed S. Kamel
Dena Kamel is a Project Manager Montrealer, grown and educated in Montreal, graduated from John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. Prior to the Arab spring, she dreamt of a democratic state in Egypt, her birthplace. Her relation with Egypt strengthen by the 2011 revolution, shared millions of Egyptians disappointment in the military coup that shattered the new born democracy.
Mohamed S. Kamel is a Project Manager Montrealer Engineer born and raised in Egypt is active in the democratization of Egypt since 2006.