Egypt: Rasha Abdulla, gov't resignation won't change anything

Security alone doesn't work without political solution, activist says

25 February, 13:14

    Rasha Abdulla Rasha Abdulla

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - "I don't think the resignation of the Beblawi government will change anything. Changing a few faces doesn't mean change. What we have to chance is the system, not just the faces. As it is right now, it is not clear who has made this decision and for what reason". So the Associate Professor and Chair of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo Rasha Abdulla told ANSAmed, in an interview in Rome on Monday.

    Dealing with the issue as a security issue alone is not enough to put an end to the violent standoff between Egypt's army leadership and the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, added Abdulla.

    ''The action of the security forces must go hand in hand with a political solution. Otherwise are we supposed to execute the entire Muslim Brotherhood? And their sympathizers, and their families?'' Banned from political power with the July 3 ousting of their Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood has since clashed with the military leadership, which is de facto controlling the political transition in spite of a civilian government.

    And while the confrontation is not yet a civil war, the way it has been managed so far could make things even worse, Abdulla said.

    ''In the end, the regime must find a way for the Muslim Brothers to coexist with others in order to stop the violence.If the Brotherhood is in fact behind the escalation in terrorist attacks over the past eight months'', she added. ''Nothing has yet been proven. Responsibilities must be discovered through fair trials, and those who are found to be innocent must be set free''.

    There have been few fair trials since 2011, she observed. ''Those responsible for all the killings during the anti-Mubarak uprising have never been identified''.

    The future of Egypt, says Abdalla, also depends on the answer to the question that has been on everyone's lips for months: will Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army strongman whom everyone looks to as a national savior, run for the presidency? ''If he does, no one else has a chance'', said Abdalla of a man so popular, Egyptians often compare him to the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. If Sisi chooses to stay out of the presidential race, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi will likely take his place, according to Abdulla.

    An experienced politician, Sabbahi came in third with 20% of the vote in the 2012 presidential elections. He announced he is running for the nation's highest office earlier this month.
    ''Not all the revolutionaries would back him up'', because hardliners did not like his voiced support of a Sisi candidacy, the AUC professor went on. While Sabahi was a stronger candidate in 2012, the future in the nation on the Nile is hard to pin down, said Abdulla. ''Everything has been changing so fast in Egypt in the past few months'', she said.

    She went on to denounce the fact that civilians are still being tried in military courts, especially in the Sinai and Suez areas.While they are allowed in the constitution, albeit under a narrow set of circumstances, they are a violation of human rights, just like the ongoing torture in prisons and police stations, she said.

    ''Brotherhood supporters as well as secular activists are being tortured, in spite of the fact that the new constitution explicitly bans this practice'', Abdulla said. Sometimes, people who are most in the public eye are spared, she added, citing the cases of anti-Mubarak activist Ahmed Maher and fellow activists.
    They received three-year prison sentences for violating a new law limiting public protests, and risk being held in total isolation, which is itself a form of torture, Abdulla said. (ANSAmed).

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