Categorized | Egypt

Hamzawy interview: ‘We are returning to the old regime’

NOVANEWS
Egypt Independent
Amr Hamzawy is a political professor at the Polical Science Department of Cairo University and the American University of Cairo. He recently kicked off a new political party called “Free Egypt” aiming to reinforce the concept of a civil country and promote developmental national activities.
Hamzawy sat down with Egypt Independent to speak about politics and human rights under Egyptian state following President Mohamed Morsy’s ouster on 3 July 2013.
Where is Amr Hamzawy from the media and why did you disappear after the 3 July 2013?
I am in Egypt more than I should be; I have not disappeared or travelled, however I’m under a travel ban, but even though I had no intention to leave the country nor to turn my back or let anyone force me to, I will be in Egypt defending the values, principles and the dream of the democratic state and just society regardless any pressures imposed on me.
I thank God that in many pivotal moments I never gave up my beliefs and I have advocated my principles before and after 3 July 2013. Moreover, I have not been a person of double standards before or after the overthrow of Morsy, speaking against violations of human rights like the suspension of the Isalmists satellite channels though they were harshly attacking me during Morsy’s rule.
I also criticized all the violations that happened to the peaceful Muslim Brotherhood and their loyalists, who have not been involved in or incited violence, along with the violations presented in the protests dispersal.
I have a clear reaction towards 3 July 2013 which I have declared on the same day at night on the talk show of the well-known presenter Yousri Fouda and from this moment until today there are many things we should do.
However, I was one of the people who took to street on 30 June 2013 demanding an “early presidential election” according to true democratic values, not the storming of the democratic path or the suspension and deviation of all democratic procedures.
Moreover I was not supporting the interference of the armed forces into the political life; the army has a normal role which is to guarantee the security of borders and country, the army safeguards but not rule.
I think my current modest appearance in TV shows is relevant to the sweeping and dominant media wave which is characterized by the monotone and single-opinion, and I turned along with few people who persisted on their opinions and their standards to Twitter activists outside the swarm.
In any region have a public stream people do not usually like to hear to Twitter activists dissentients, especially if the stream has fascist attributes, like what was happening during the former president Mohammed Morsy’s rule, the public Islamists stream attacked the dissidents and named them “atheists,” and now the current stream names the dissentients betrayers, MB latent cells.
The second thing now there is truth monopoly. It has been monopolized under the name of the “islam” and MB supporters alleged that they know everything because they understand well the Shariaa. Currently the same trend is taking place alleging that they know everything under the name of “patriotism” and its false patriotism.
There are fascism traits that hail one institution to lead the nation and praise the heroic acts of the military and ignore the other people. There is a fascism dismisses any human rights organizations feedback claiming that they want the country’s dissociation and they are funded by foreign countries.
What is the difference between 25 Janauary, 30 June and 3 July 2013?
The masses talk to street on 25 January 2013 for 18 days demanding a better democratic country and just society that could fight corruption and guarantee equal opportunities for the people without any kind of discrimination.
25 January was a mobility of voluntary masses, I deeply feel painful towards the revolution and the attempts to its distortion in the minds of the Egyptians using the untenable talks which lacks the content about the plots and the foreign funds.
I believe the protesters of 25 January hold the better morals ever. There were no ideologies of the liberal and the MB or the salafis. All people were demanding better nation and good country.
On 11 February the popular pressure caused a real “change” which forced the military to political face-off, and the changes have not made by the SCAF but by the wide peaceful protesters who had “clear targets”.
The SCAF have many failures and mistakes accumulated until the 2012 presidential elections, especially on 19 March 2011 the MB stormed all the democratic compatibly and power monopoly took place.
The current political crisis is because MB has drifted the democratic path since 19 marches 2011 and disorderly dragged the religion into politics. No democratic transition could happen in a country without partnership between the effective national political parties, and if this partnership discarded the old regime will return and that is exactly what is happening in Egypt.
The one year of Muslim Brotherhood’s rule was a “replacement” era. I found the majority In Shura council and the parliament was trying to dominate and rule with the same way of the former dissolved National Democratic Party to be the center of making allies.
Since 19 March 2012 MB were coordinating with SCAF along with the executive organizations in Egypt, the economic and financial interest networks to take into the rule.
During the rule of Morsy, all the dissentients were suppressed, and the constitutional legitimacy was deviated in the constitutional declaration on 12 November 2012 and Morsy badly violated the law sovereignty and broke the national reconciliation. Which was a big reason for me to demand early presidential elections on 30 June 2013.
But there were allegations said that early presidential elections may lead to civil war, what do you think about that?
That is not true, if you remember the same allegations happened during 25 January revolutions ahead of the ouster of Mubarak, when people said that there were no alternatives , the same thing happened in 30 June people said there was no possibly for early presidential elections especially there were few who demanded these early presidential election.
The 30 June mass protesst were a good chance to be used to get out of the “democratic map” on 3 July, let both camps face off.
What is your comment on “MB” as a terrorist organization?
According to the contemporary history if a country faced terrorism or violence, it should put security solutions saved by the sovereignty of law and human rights. If the country did not take these steps it will fall into violence and counter-violence spiral downward and the geography of injustice will expand in the society.
The security resolution is not enough; there should be other political, economic and social solutions to fight terrorism.
The terrorism liability has two parts, political and criminal. The criminal one relates to the litigation bodies which are responsible for investigation, verification and accountability. But the political part based on the “political speeches” if these speeches incites violence and terrorism or not. And I am sure that the MB speeches have many grey areas. So, anyone violates human rights and involved or incites violence should be sent to court.
If anyone proved that not involved in any violations should be allowed to participate in the political scene with “restrictions” peaceful participation, never be against the democracy, mixing politics with religion.
How do you consider some political parties which used to ride the regime wave in Egypt?
Unfortunately, there are some parties in the political scene seek “narrow interests” which fight for some opinions according to the each time regime. These groups believe that the Egyptians have limited smartness and short-memory and could be tempted by cooking oil or sugar, and this is completely a wrong concept.
With arrogance, some parties and politicians believe that to be a loyalist to the “regime” could substitute any failures in your political role, which means their affiliations could be contradictory or changeable in return they could guarantee the “regime immunity”.
The future of these parties will catch up those which were appearing before the 25 janaury revolution and changed to “domestic opposition” after that.
How do you rate the report of National Council of Human Rights about the dispersal of Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins on 14 August 2013?
Following the dispersal many organizations exerted valuable effort to issue reports on the dispersal, and actually there were many reports documented the human rights violations happened like wikithawra and others.
Actually, the report raised many question marks, as it is far from the reality and mixed the places of the accountant and the tyrannized moreover, the report speech justified the acts done by the official institutions.
In a wider perspective currently there is a common case deals with the “human right organizations” with double standards, so the report is the outcome of this case.
What are the differences between the 2013 and 2014 constitutions?
Both acknowledged the exceptional situation of the military institution, did not construct transition justice or accountability to corruption. Both constitutions did not establish a balanced political system including its security, military and civil bodies.
The 2013 constitution acknowledged good articles about rights and social and individual freedom, but still this one along with the 2014 accepted the military’s trials to civilians
Are you with or against the candidacy of the Field Marshal Abdel Fatah El-Sisi?
Not for personal reasons, but I am totally against any presidential candidate has military’s background. I do respect the military in its normal rule to safeguard the country but not to rule, especially in Egypt the constitution put exceptional situation to the army and there is military dominance. The army has power on legislations, budget, economic and financial activity and the ministry of defense is immunized.
So far I did not settle on my situation about who I will vote for, I will disclose in the suitable time. But during this period I’m watching and following up the current circumstances and wondering if there will be real presidential battle with guaranteed by transparency and integrity.
Is Egypt far from being a “civil country”?
Under the concept of the “civil country” many failures have happened. There are some figures known by their loyalty to whoever rules sought to appear as civil country supporters, and others who showed their opposition only to the “Islamists rule fascism” apart from the “military’s rule fascism”.
There are many figures alleaged their support to the concept of the civil country to strengthen the cohesion between the government and public owned networks. Others trivialized the “civil country “by accepting to get off the democratic path in 3 July 2013.
All these figures implicated the concept of civil country in a deadlock.
There is hope in building a public trend for democracy, development, rights and freedom learn from the mistakes of those who misused the concept of a civil country.
Build a new civil trend that does not depend only on civil country grand meaning, but shed light on the social and economic rights. As part of a civil country is its respect to citizen’s rights.
The civil trend should combat the “authority swap” to avoid the failures one more time, as we have been involved in a political agenda including former presidential and parliamentary elections and we did fail in both. We should leave the political struggle and to build social capital that might extend eight or more years to construct popular acceptance and knowledge.

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