There are reports that Iran has offered Egypt generous economic support if Morsi would agree to allow Iran to manage the Egyptian mosques that were built in the days of the Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty, which ruled in Egypt about a thousand years ago. This Iranian requirement sounds logical, but Morsi firmly rejected it for two reasons: one is that he does not want to allow Shi’ite Iran to have any influence in Egyptian public life, which might allow Iran to lead the hungry Egyptians to Shi’a in exchange for a handful of dollars, and the second reason is that one of the mosques that were built in the Fatimid era is the al-Azhar mosque, the highest institution of Sunni Islam.
Strangely, many officials who were appointed in the days of Mubarak still operate in Egypt, and they remain in their jobs because of the bribes they pay to their superiors and which they, in turn, take from the citizens who require their services, just as in the days of Mubarak. Because of the terrible economic condition today, it is dangerous to walk the Egyptian streets, whether by foot or in a vehicle. Pedestrians are robbed by groups of the hungry who fall upon those people in the street who look like they have money in their pockets or food in their baskets. Other groups attack drivers who are stopped in traffic jams or at a red light (a rare phenomenon in Egypt, where traffic signals are considered only as suggestions), forcibly take the driver out of the car and make off with the car in order to sell it for a few lira to buy a little bit of food.
As a result of the economic, political and legal situation, a general sense of deep disappointment with the revolution exists among the public at large. As high as their hopes were two years ago, that’s how deep is the disappointment and frustration that exists today, and the price for the miserable situation is paid by the weak sectors of society: the women, the children, the homeless, the many who live in the streets and the millions of Copts. The government claims that the Copts are about one tenth of the population, but the Copts claim that the true proportion is at least twice that, and that they are about one fifth of the citizenry. It is in the government’s interest to underestimate the proportion of Copts within the population so that they will not be obligated to give them the rightful share in the government that they would deserve according to their actual number.
A day doesn’t pass without reports of suicides of people who have lost all hope of earning a decent livelihood for their families and they prefer death rather than to behold every day the hungry looks on the faces of those who depend upon them. The public space is flooded with many cases of abuse of the helpless, and many Muslims take their rage out on the Christian Copts, the original residents of the land. Their monasteries are broken into and their churches are burned, their houses are attacked and their stores are looted, their sons are beaten and their daughters are humiliated. Many Copts have lost hope that their homeland will ever be theirs again after it was Islamized by the Bedouins who burst out of the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century and forced the religion of the desert upon its indigenous agricultural residents. When looking at the situation of Egypt today, one concludes that when the Muslim Brotherhood took control in Egypt, it made the worst possible deal anyone can make: it tried to buy a car which was basically a “total loss”, and then drive it and its passengers as if it could actually get somewhere besides the garbage heap, the garbage heap of history. “He who dwells in heaven laughs, the Lord derides them” (Psalms, Chapter 2, Verse 4).
Originally published at Middle East and Terrorism. Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.