AN INTERVIEW WITH OUR EGYPTIAN CORRESPONDENT, ANDREW MOUBAREK
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.
MORE ON THE EGYPTIAN CRISIS FROM ANDREW MOUBAREK
Dear President Obama,
It is my pleasure as an Egyptian-American to write you this letter clarifying the situation in Egypt. It is true that ex-president Morsi was democratically elected, although the actual count of votes was never announced to the public and there were many violations to the law through the elections, but for now we will agree to the fact that he was democratically elected. Through his presidency Egypt has faced many hardships and all time lows in the international market. Many of the Egyptian resources were being sent out to other Arabic countries in the name of Islamic unity. While places like Gaza and Qatar enjoyed the Egyptian resources, the people of Egypt spent countless hours in darkness due to lack of electricity. High school students could not study for the biggest tests of their lives, many hospitals were not able to provide the correct treatments for their patients, many shops lost a lot of their supplies and the limited working hours meant less money in a country where money is everything. Those were some of the financial reasoning why Morsi was overthrown. Other reasons include the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group who made their hate for Coptic orthodox Christians very obvious through many incidents including bombing churches, slaughtering of Christians in front of their families, destruction of Christian houses, kidnapping of young Christian girls, raping them and forcing them to convert to Islam.
The listed above were just few reasons of why Morsi was overthrown. According to the election committee, the percentage that Morsi won by was 51% of voters, not the whole population just voters. The People who took to the streets on June 30th, 2013 were more than 50% of the population as a whole, which is obviously a much bigger number than the 51% Morsi became president by. All the leaders of different political parties, religions, and communities supported General el sisi in the decision to overthrow President Morsi, so Mr. Barack Obama, it was not a coup, and rather it was the people’s free will to overthrow their oppressive leader. This reminds me of a story about a country named the United States of America. This country, before it became independent, was just a couple of colonies. A guy by the name of George Washington decided that enough was enough and formed his army to go against the oppressive king George. That’s the story we teach little kids in school, to tell them you always fight for what’s right, for what you believe in, and you fight for your freedom. So wouldn’t it not be fair to take those rights away from the Egyptians who are trying to become civilized. Wouldn’t it be unfair to take away rights of another human being just because we do not agree with their actions? Mr. President, Detroit is bankrupt, we’re still in humongous debt to China and other nations, and Israel’s safety was threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood. But there are many more problems in the United States to be taken care off, so once you’re done fixing everything wrong with America, go ahead and worry about other nations.
One more thing, Mr. President, it was not a peaceful demonstration. The brotherhood took the square of Raba’ el adawia and transformed it into a battle ground. They barbed wired all the perimeters of the square and hid many weapons inside their “peaceful protest”. After the Army was able to break up the protest they found over 20 bodies hidden in the square of the protest that were tortured in the most inhumane ways and burnt and buried in a mosque, that mosque was later burnt down to erase the evidence. If a “Muslim” group is ready to burn down their own holy place of worship then it becomes obvious that religion means nothing to them and they’re just terrorists. Over 90 churches were burnt and destroyed; hundreds of people were killed, including army soldiers who were protecting the borders of Egypt. If a group uses religion in vain to their own profit and would be ready to kill people for their personal profits they deserve to be thrown out of power. The Egyptian media has finally stood together as one, and they all provide evidence of gruesome acts of terror preformed by the Muslim brotherhood and their followers.
ROUND TWO: INEFFECTIVE MORSI OUT AS EGYPT’S QUEST FOR DEMOCRACY CONTINUES
By Matt Propper
Just two years after the overthrow of long-time President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, has been forced out of power, exhibiting the resiliency of a country that desires a true leader. Though the elections last year were legitimate, Morsi proved to be a religious leader not fit to guide a nation in need of a political overhaul.
Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies rushed the drafting of a Constitution that was laced with Islamic influence. Furthermore, in a desperate attempt to pass the Constitution, Morsi overstepped his executive power by “exempting his decrees from Judicial Review until ratification of a Constitution.”1 In other words, Morsi gave himself supreme power over the Judicial branch and therefore control over the drafting of the Constitution. After this gross overreaching over power, Morsi called a two-part referendum where about 64% of the population approved the new Constitution.2 Although that constitutes the majority, a good percentage of the population disapproved of the Constitution.
Morsi never fully recovered from this debacle and the rift between the old authoritarian members of government and the new Muslim Brotherhood leaders expanded. Even if we just look at the state of the country and not the internal politics, we see a looming disaster. Whether it is the lack of foreign investors or Morsi’s inability to keep the electricity running; whether it is the soaring unemployment rates matched with the plunging inflation rates or whether it is his intolerance of any form of opposition, Morsi had no future as the leader of Egypt.3 His presidency, The Wall Street Journal editorial page concurred,“had descended into incompetence and creeping authoritarianism.”4
Now that Morsi is out of power, two momentous questions remain: Will the military peacefully hand over power to Morsi’s successor and should the United States continue to provide Egypt with $1.3 billion of aid a year? I say yes and no. Though the military has a power-hungry, self-serving reputation, they have no interest in a radical-Islamic government and “favor regional stability.”5 As long as they sustain their power, they will be happy to sit on the sidelines and allow a democratically-elected president to run the country. Secondly, this change in power is a perfect time to shift our strategy regarding aid to Egypt. Because of Egypt’s strategic geopolitical position, it is imperative to the US that they sustain an amiable relationship with the Egyptian government. However, throwing money at the country while it is trying to develop a democracy will not help anybody. The US should watch the situation develop and re-access what Egypt really needs. Even if Egypt receives the money at the beginning, a plan in which Egypt slowly becomes less dependent on US aid should be devised.
It will take years before Egypt has a fully developed democracy, but the removal of Morsi was the first step of a long and tedious process that will culminate in freedom for the Egyptian people.
Photo Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/06/reporters-notebook-millions-march-in-egypt-protests/