Two years ago today, Egyptians celebrated their toppling of President Hosni Mubarak and looked ahead to a future of change. Yet the second anniversary of Mubarak’s departure has been marked by further demonstrations, bloodshed, and new scenes of extreme state violence. Amid the now-routine use of tear gas and live fire on protests nationwide, there was the incredible footage of the repeated beating and violation of a citizen stripped naked by a gang of policemen in riot gear, and the death by brutal police torture of Popular Current activist Mohamed El-Gendy.
In this latest wave of national mobilization, Egyptians have been challenging a new president, whom they have dubbed “Mohamed Morsi Mubarak.” With this wordplay, and with the photo-shopped posters to match, Egypt’s revolutionaries have been demolishing the myth of the democratic legitimacy of the current incumbent, and ultimately that of the transitional period to which Egypt was subjected in 2011-12. They are also signaling that the revolution continues, a slogan that is hard to dismiss today.
Youthful political activist Ahmad Douma captured this reality perfectly in his retort to Abdel Moneim Abul Fettouh’s initiative for dialogue with Morsi: “this is the kind of talk that can be said in a television studio, but it has nothing to do with the street. Talk of dialogue while people are being killed is unacceptable. We should be talking about the president, who, for me and the people on the street, is not legitimate. He is merely a criminal on the run…” Activist and revolutionary icon Ahmad Harrara stated simply: “Morsi is not my president because he is a liar.” How did Morsi become Mubarak in just seven months? And how has the revolution grown to cope and resist?
Mubarak’s rule was reviled for many reasons, multiplying down the class scale. The language of the call to protest on 25 January 2011 gives the best indication: it was declared against “torture, poverty, corruption, and unemployment.” There was also a clear rejection during the eighteen days and afterwards of Mubarak’s deferent foreign policy pact with the United States and Israel. And yet, since the accession to the presidency of Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi in summer 2012, each one of these political grievances has been refueled and reloaded. (Jadaliyya)