Morsi’s death, and the failure of the democratic experiment in Egypt

By: Professor. Marc Lavergne, a French Senior Fellow Researcher (Emeritus) on the Geopolitics and Geostrategy of the Contemporary Middle East and Horn of Africa at the French National Center for Scientific Research.

The sudden death of ex-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in the midst of his trial on Monday in Cairo, gives the opportunity to revert to lessons to be learned from the short lived experience of Muslim Brothers in power during this year 2012-2013.

This long-awaited trial was to provide the world with a better understanding of what was to make the first attempts of democracy to fail so miserably.

True, the Muslim Brothers have been from the start merely a political organization, that uses Islam and their motto” Islam is the solution”, to attract to attract sincere followers,

True, through their social organizations, they played for years before a welcome role in endorsing the traditional role of social and humanitarian in helping the poor, in the most destitute quarters of Egyptian big cities. This granted them some popularity and gratitude and, they were thus able to attract a short majority of voters in the aftermath of the January 2011 upheaval.

But one should not forget that they were not – I was living in Cairo at this time- in favor of the Tahrir square youth upheaval: their leaders felt somehow comfortable with the Mubarak regime, which at that time tolerated the movement and its social activities.  Morsi was himself a deputy in the Parliament from 2000 to 2005. What they feared most was the kind of revolution that the Tahrir youth were advocating, on the one hand, and on the other the Salafi movement, which had gained momentum at their expense, since their appeal was waning. They presented no plan to cure Egypt from its enduring plagues : demographic unchecked increase, land, air and water pollution, collapse of public education and health, widespread corruption of government services, and lack of sound governance at all levels, and were not ready to take over the affairs of the state.

That’s perhaps why they choose such a shallow and narrow-minded personality as Morsi to run for the presidency. Their promise of openness and honesty were soon broken, and this year in power was merely a shameful run for the sharing of the spoils of the cronies of the former regime by the new masters of Egypt, and the rejection of all blames for the sufferings of the society on the demands of women and Copts for equality.

They had just ignored the fact that democracy is not just about the right of majority, but also that of minority.