ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After the successful ousting of the former Egyptian regime, many thought the revolution had achieved its objective — asking for three basic demands: bread, liberty and social justice.
The question is, did they get what they asked for?
As Egyptians commemorated the sacrifices that began two years ago, fears of an emerging new autocracy suppressed their feelings of joy. The deterioration of the economy, sabotage of the basic infrastructure, and allegations of increasing corruption and discrimination give clear indications that the country is in total disarray. The Muslim Brotherhood rose to dominate power in Egypt, and the idea of creating national reconciliation is a myth.
In 2002, when Mohamed Morsi was serving in parliament, he confronted the Mubarak government in response to a deadly train accident, demanding full accountability from the regime.
The irony is that in the six months since Morsi’s election as president, there have been five fatal accidents. Egyptians asked for accountability and the removal of the prime minster, Mohamed Qandeel. However, the president insists on keeping his prime minister.
Members of Morsi’s government, including his cabinet, are politically immature; his advisers know little about governance, yet they are refusing to listen to people who brought them to power.
In their attempt to remain diligent in debating the new constitution, the chief of the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly — that created the constitution of 2013 — claimed that each article required 300 hours to discuss and write. This claim seems improbable. The constitution contains 236 articles and spending 300 hours on each would mean the assembly invested 70,800 hours in less than one year.
Did the Muslim Brotherhood have a pre-made constitution? Was the Constituent Assembly nothing but a rubber stamp, a staged democratic sham? As for the Egyptian people, they had only 15 days to read, understand and vote for this constitution.
Within the new constitution there is no support for minority rights. In addition, there is no punishment for crimes against minorities, or for extreme Islamist activities. While the provisional articles were firm on how to deal with the former leaders of the National Democratic Party, there is no mention of steps that should be taken against the extremists.
With the increase of Al Qaeda's presence in Egypt and North Africa, the Egyptian constitution should have been more decisive in creating a deterrent to extremism from any party. Quite the opposite, in the Egyptian media, extreme Islamists are promoting race-based hatred against minorities without reprisal.
Liberals have long warned of this chaotic evolution, but such warnings were dismissed as being simplistic. As the situation in Egypt evolved, liberals have been proved to be right. Egypt’s Arabic media raises serious concerns for the safety and security of non-Muslims. Extremists are publicly confronting the Egyptian Church and Egyptian Christians.
The Muslim Brotherhood has classified the country into two main categories: the Islamists and “the others.” The latter category is identified as liberal and secular (the Kharijites), holdovers from the former regime (al-Folool) and Christians (the Infidel).
The Brotherhood is using mosques and their imams to call for the unconditional endorsement of the Morsi regime by promoting the false claim that standing by the regime is standing by Islam.
In his campaign, Morsi promised that he would step down if the people asked him to step down. Currently, Egypt is boiling and hundreds are either injured or killed; yet Morsi has declared emergency rules and threatened of more to come.
Before the Jan. 25 anniversary, Egyptians did not ask Morsi to step down; all they asked for was reform. The Muslim Brotherhood has lost its credibility, and voters who cast ballots for them feel betrayed.
The tools the Mubarak regime employed were easy to recognize; these were the members of the State Security Agency. Now these elements are the police, the army and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ayman Mottaleb teaches language, culture and comparative jurisprudence of the Middle East at the US Naval Academy. He is an authority on extreme Islamism. He has published commentary on the Arab Spring in the Times of Oman.