Andrew Moubarek is a rising Senior at The Beacon School in New York City. Andrew was born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to the United States on August 23, 2009 when he was 13 years old. Matt spoke with Andrew about the situation developing in Egypt. The interview covers Andrew’s opinion on Morsi, on President Obama’s handling of the situation, and on the future of the Arab Spring.
Matt: What is your initial reaction to everything that is currently happening in Egypt?
Andrew: I’m happy that the people can finally get their say. It’s not easy to remove a regime, doing it twice within 3 years shows the resiliency and strength of the people when they’re united.
Matt: So I am assuming you are anti-Morsi? Am I right?
Andrew: Yes, along with at least 30 million other Egyptians.
Matt: Did you dislike Morsi from the start or did you believe that he had some potential to be a decent leader?
Andrew: From the start. He was too religious, and if you put religion before politics you will get nowhere. He had no voice of his own. The leader of the Brotherhood was the real president and Morsi was just there as a cover up. Nobody knows how legitimate the elections were and therefore his presidency could have been based on lies. He was racist towards coptic orthodox Christians like myself and he supplied all the Egyptian goods to other middle eastern countries for billions of dollars, all for himself and the brotherhood. In his one year term, more bad things happened than in Mubarak’s 30 year term.
Matt: So you were skeptical from the start and he proved to be inadequate for the job. Do you believe that the military has too much power or do you believe that they have the interest of the people at hand? In other words, do you think it was justified for them to topple Morsi?
Andrew: They have the interest of people at hand. No question about it. It was not a coup like the Western media is saying. The army gathered all the different political parties and together agreed that toppling morsi was the right decision; that was the people’s will.
Matt: So you think that the military will yield their power once a new president is elected?
Andrew: They will follow the people’s will. If the people like the new president then there will be no problem.
Matt: What would you say to a pro-democracy advocate who claims that in order for democracy to develop the military cannot overthrow every unpopular leader? Because there are many Morsi supporters in the country that just want to see a functioning democracy.
Andrew: Then that leader will have absolute control, without checks and balances, and therefore there won’t be a democracy.
Matt: Do you think that the West should play more of a role in the revolution or less? How would you rate Obama’s job handling the situation?
Andrew: The west should stay out of it. The American embassy in Egypt had been supplied wrong information and based on it the white house is reacting falsely. I give Obama an F because he’s trying to turn his back on the average Egyptian citizen by trying to do things his way.
Matt: Can you cite some examples of some false information that the embassy received and Obama’s attempt at trying to do his own thing?
Andrew: He told the army that Morsi should stay as president but the rest of the ministers will be new ones based on the people’s choice. Egyptian media said that. Also, there was this Congressman talking about this a couple of days ago. CNN has also been saying that it was a military coup while it wasn’t mainly because that’s what Obama thinks it is.
Matt: Obama has not yet said whether or not he thinks it is a coup, but I see what you are trying to say.
Andrew: He’s implying it is.
Matt: If you were an aide to Obama, would you advise him to continue to give $1.3 billion to the Egyptian government each year?
Andrew: Yes I would. That money is mostly due to the camp David treaty of 1972, I think (not sure about the date) and it basically says that the United States will provide Egypt with money in return for Egypt acting as a proctor of Israel. Not through military aid, but more of a “social way.”
Matt: Okay, but Egypt and the entire Middle East has changed drastically since 1978 (the date of the Camp David Accords). Do you still believe that the money is the best way to approach our policy towards Egypt?
Andrew: Yes. That’s the most thing Egypt needs.
Matt: Do you believe that the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Lybia will spread throughout the rest of the Middle East and even the world? Which country do you think will be next?
Andrew: Iran. The Islamic oppression took it’s toll on the people and they look to Egypt for inspiration so they might be next.
Matt: Interesting. do you think that the election of the moderate Hassan Rowhani in Iran is an important step for the country? Do you think he will make a big impact?
Andrew: I hope so. It is a main sign of change. The Muslim extremists hoped for an Islamic empire after the Arab springs. It seemed to work for a while but now the people are waking up and that dream seems to be collapsing.
Matt: How long do you think it will be until Egypt has a functioning democracy? How do you think they can avoid another blunder like Morsi?
Andrew: Education is the key. Many people are illiterate, and when it comes to politics the number grows even more. A good education will give the people an opinion and it won’t be as easy to fool them. In 30 years from now Egypt might be a first world country.
Matt: How do you think education can best be improved in Egypt and in general?
Andrew: Quality teachers. Hand on experiences. Technological advancements. Better subjects. Easier said than done.
Matt: Absolutely. Thanks very much for talking to me. I enjoyed hearing what you had to say and I hope other teens will read it as well, learn from it, and share their perspectives.