Editor’s Note – Some say Obama’s Presidency began in Cairo, and now will end because of Cairo. Foreign policy failures abound, especially with the disaster in Benghazi and the cover-up over the facts of that incident now showing that the official story was less than truthful.
The facts are emerging on both events daily – each time adding more egg on the face of this administration. Here, a self-described Egyptian revolutionary speaks to America – a must read! As always we ask, is it complicity or just naivete and ineptitude?
Some unsolicited thoughts from an Egyptian revolutionary.
By MAHMOUD SALEM – Foreign Policy
How is it that, in just four years, Obama went being from the American president who called in Cairo for a new beginning with Muslims to the target of hostile chants by religious extremists storming U.S. embassies across the Islamic world (“Obama, Obama, we are all Osama”). If this ends up becoming a hot campaign issue, and Obama loses, pundits and historians will say that the Obama presidency started with Egypt and ended because of Egypt. As an Egyptian political geek always enamored with international political theater, how can I not be proud of that? How awesome is that?
The icing on the cake in this whole affair has to be the role the Brotherhood played in this attack, and how it provides fantastic fodder for conspiracy theorists and political analysts alike. Here is what we know: A bunch of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi figures started making an issue of this movie, which no one heard of before, a few days before the anniversary of 9/11. Both the Brotherhood and various Salafi groups called for protests at the U.S. Embassy on the anniversary of 9/11.
That day, a friend who works for the embassy informed me, the employees who left at 4 p.m. noticed that both the police and the army forces protecting the embassy had vanished, followed by the attack that you all watched on your plasma TV screens. Over the next few days, the Brotherhood would praise the attackers in the Arabic media and condemn them in their English language media, prompting a testy exchange between the U.S. Embassy and the MB’s English Twitter account and Obama’s remark that he no longer views Egypt as an ally.
The Brotherhood and its sympathizers went into damage-control mode, asking the world to understand the depth of Muslim anger and blaming the affair on the Interior Ministry, which had assured them everything was cool. So why didn’t the army — which President Mohamed Morsy supposedly now controls — step in? And why hasn’t Morsy fired a single Interior Ministry employee?
Meanwhile, we now have a call from the justice minister to reinstate the emergency law — again — and a call to boycott Google, which is so absurd it’s hilarious. Will the Brotherhood be throwing Gmail account-deletion parties?
How did we get here? What happened to all those images of cute, flag-waving Westernized-looking Egyptian girls? How did the face of Egypt become the bearded image of Mohamed Morsy? Have we gone from your favorite world drama and the subject of a million social media conferences and think-tank panels to being another cautionary tale, the harbinger of bad things to come, and now a threat to Barack Obama’s re-election? My little country, my beloved Egypt, did all of this with one peaceful revolution. Imagine.
OK. Maybe “revolution” isn’t the right word for what we did. Because let’s face it: the “revolution” is now over for the time being. My secular-minded revolutionary friends have become so traumatized and exhausted by the abuse they’ve endured at the hands of the army and police that they are now solely focused on holding those institutions accountable, instead of doing the broader work of trying to create the country of rights and freedoms of their dreams. Sure, it is safe to say that with Islamists in power, child brides are nothing but a taste of the horror we are bound to see over the coming years. As someone who fought on the front lines in Tahrir Square and even ran for parliament at the height of my revolutionary exuberance, all this breaks my heart in ways I can’t even begin to describe.
But, hey: At least we’re still making headlines, and maybe we’re even going to overthrow YOUR leader this year. And surely that counts for something.