17 September 2019 05:42 AM

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SHUBHDA CHAUDHARY | 25 JUNE, 2019

Is Morsi’s Death the End of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Is Morsi’s Death the End of the Muslim Brotherhood?


NEW DELHI: The sudden death of Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected President, in the courtroom on June 17 is yet another tumultuous blow to the most populous country in the Arab world.

After he was deposed by the military junta in 2013, Morsi’s existence diminished to mere ignominy as he languished in prison for six years, rendered voiceless in the egregious cocoon of Egypt’s military regime.

His dramatic death reveals the impact of psychological torture, a lack of medical care, hard survival in political darkness. It raises suspicion and must be investigated.

Former Indian ambassador Anil Trigunyat recalled that ‘the Arab Spring decimated regimes by throwing up new, aspiring, inexperienced yet driven leaders. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood won handsomely in the elections, ushering in a new era of democracy, but his inability to get along with the deep state and military led to his downfall and persecution.’

‘The way Morsi died and was buried was ignoble and may have undesirable consequences for Egypt,’ Trigunyat told The Citizen.

What next? According to Waiel Awwad, a journalist based in South Asia, ‘Morsi’s death will anger Muslim Brotherhood members and especially Turkey. The Muslim Brotherhood will take revenge in the times to come. Currently, they have been silenced by the army and know that any kind of retaliation would be dealt with using deadly force.’

‘But there is a growing need to have access inside Egyptian prisons,’ said Awwad. ‘Those detained need to be put on trial or else released. If Mubarak can receive excellent treatment in jail, why can’t others?’

Although Morsi’s death has garnered international attention, the mood on the Egyptian streets remains neutral. ‘The state media is reporting Morsi’s death but the common people have already forgotten him. It is not a national crisis,’ said an Egyptian journalist who has worked in the industry for 30 years.

According to an Egyptian TV presenter who wished to remain unnamed, ‘What happened to Morsi was tragic. While he was an inept ruler, he did not deserve what happened to him. Being locked in solitary confinement for six years without family visits or medical care is tantamount to torture and premeditated murder. It also raises the question of so many other political detainees in Egyptian prisons, some of them even older than Morsi.’

‘But the international community is also responsible for his death, as both the EU and US turned a blind eye. Human rights are not prioritised in Egypt.’

Asked about the ramifications for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah es-Sisi, the Egyptian journalists interviewed by The Citizen were equally pessimistic. ‘Egypt will not allow any independent enquiry or investigation. Remember, nothing happened after the Rabaa Massacre of 2013 where thousands of people were killed. Sisi will go scot free, mainly due to the tacit alliance with the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE,’ one journalist opined.

But given the strong reactions in the Euro-US press, there may be a silver lining. ‘If the EU declares sanctions against Egypt on the basis of human rights violations, that would not necessarily implicate Sisi in Morsi’s death, but it might perhaps improve the conditions of other political prisoners in Egyptian jails,’ suggested an Egyptian political activist.

‘Since 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood has been divided into two camps. The first camp advocates violence, especially against Egyptian security personnel. The second camp works against the first. Morsi’s death would anger the first camp, which has started operating terror cells. His death just supports their view that no resolution is possible in Egypt any more,’ an Egyptian investigative journalist told The Citizen.

Recent upheavals continue to haunt Egypt. The country’s year-long stint with democracy and pluralism during Morsi’s rule had its pitfalls, and revealed especially the inability of the Muslim Brotherhood to work alongside the military and judiciary.

Under Sisi the regime has only grown more authoritarian. With military surveillance, sudden arrests, an increase in the number of Egyptians disappeared from the streets and the absence of free expression, palpable fear is felt by everyone.
 

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