News / Middle East

    Morsi's First Year Leaves Egypt Divided

    FILE - Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi looks at the crowd awaiting his speech in Cairo's Tahrir Square, June 29, 2012.
    FILE - Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi looks at the crowd awaiting his speech in Cairo's Tahrir Square, June 29, 2012.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    It has been a difficult first year for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, whose opponents call for it to be his last. 

    Morsi took the stage in Cairo's Tahrir Square last June as a jubilant crowd celebrated the nation's first freely elected leader.  Now crowds on Tahrir, the heart of Egypt's revolution two years ago, are calling for him to step down.

    Anti-government protesters burn a post of President Morsi in Tahrir Square, Cairo, June 26, 2013.Anti-government protesters burn a post of President Morsi in Tahrir Square, Cairo, June 26, 2013.
    x
    Anti-government protesters burn a post of President Morsi in Tahrir Square, Cairo, June 26, 2013.
    Anti-government protesters burn a post of President Morsi in Tahrir Square, Cairo, June 26, 2013.
    Opponents charge he failed to create an inclusive government and presided over a catastrophic weakening of the state.

    Morsi summed up his first year in power by admitting to some mistakes. 

    But he devoted much of a speech this week reviewing his tenure to pointing out what a mess he inherited.

    His supporters agree, pointing to the stagnation and corruption of nearly 30 years under deposed President Hosni Mubarak.  And they're keen to remind others of perhaps his biggest accomplishment.

    "We already passed a very hard period," said Mohamed Soudan, the foreign secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing from which Morsi hailed. "We already have a civilian country.  We don't have a military country anymore in Egypt and this is a very good point to Dr. Morsi. He made it in 40 days."

    Morsi's sidelining of Egypt's powerful generals last year was hailed by many at the time. But one year later, some of those same people welcomed the military's recent announcement it could intervene if the situation spirals out of control.

    Critic and publisher Hisham Kassem puts the blame for the turnabout squarely on Morsi.

    "From day three, day four in his government, he has done nothing to improve the situation, only make it worse," he said. "He had a chance for things to pick up, for consensual politics. Instead, he went completely the other way.”

    Kassem says Egyptians voted for him to address such issues as poverty and social injustice. Instead, he contends, they got a president trying to revive an Islamist state.

    The political divide between Islamists and secular-minded Egyptians is not the biggest challenge facing Morsi, adds Kassem.

    "It's an economic crisis that will push Morsi out of power. It's coming up and it has nothing to do with the peaceful demonstrations on the 30," he said. "He should look out for the bread shortage that is going to happen soon, or a shortage in power."

    It's already bad, he says, and will only get worse.

    Morsi's supporters counsel patience, pointing to new electricity projects underway and other capital investments. But more than anything, they stress he was legitimately elected and ask for the democratic process be given a chance.

    Mohamed Soudan of the Freedom and Justice Party says whoever became the country's first post-revolution president faced enormous challenges.

    “Mr. Morsi has had a very, very hard year," he said. "It is not easy for anyone.  I believe if he knew what is waiting for him, he [would] never, ever go to this election.”

    A sentiment his opponents wish he might have acted on.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.