Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Morsi in Tehran: Crossing the boundaries

With all its uncertainties, Egypt has emerged as a moral voice from the heart of its revolution, writes Dabashi.

Hamid Dabashi

"When during his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared it an "ethical duty" to support the Syrian people against the "oppressive regime" of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus suddenly, for a clear moment, he became the messenger of the Egyptian Revolution for the Syrian people, and by extension for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world - that Egyptians as a liberated nation stand with them.

The utterance, in and of itself, suddenly placed Egypt as the leader of the potentially free and democratic Arab and Muslim world - dismantling the old cliché of the US as the self-designated "leader of the free world".

Morsi spoke with a presiding authority that stems from no religious conviction, but from a moral imperative that only a liberated nation can momentarily invest on their elected officials. For a moment - and may that moment be extended into the rest of our history - the flower of the Egyptian revolution had an aroma pleasing to the world at large....

Bahrain will always remain the acid test of the Arab Spring. Will that tiny island be allowed its democratic aspirations or will they be thwarted by the might and money of the Saudis. But it is not just Bahrain that President Morsi ignored.

Was a sectarian consideration also at work that he did not utter a word in solidarity with the repressed aspirations of Iranians for liberty - in conspicuous contrast to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon who did so deliberately and clearly - for he has no consideration who is a Sunni and who a Shia when it comes to people's civil liberties?

Are 75 million Iranians, just because like the one million plus Bahrainis who happen to be Shias, underserving of democracy?

Was Morsi there as a Sunni member of the Muslim Brotherhood mindful of the Saudi purses or was he there as the fruit of the Egyptian revolution and the Egyptian revolutionaries who have repeatedly expressed their solidarities with the cause of liberty in Bahrain and Iran?.....

It is only inevitable for Americans and the Saudis to try to buy the Egyptian revolution. That's what wealthy people do - they think they can buy everything.....

The Egyptian revolution needs vigilance, as Egyptians know only too well. A key factor in that vigilance is to see if the Egyptian president and other elected officials remain true to the cause of liberty, as they have in Syria, identically in other parts of the Arab and Muslim world. Despite these troubling signs there many causes for optimism....."

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