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Manal El-Tibi's resignation letter to Egypt's Constituent Assembly
Bassem Sabry provides English-language translation of Manal El-Tibi's controversial resignation letter to Egypt's Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting new national charter
Bassem Sabry, Wednesday 26 Sep 2012
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Manal El-Tibi
Manal El-Tibi (Photo: Ahram)

Nubian human rights activist Manal El-Tibi's 24 September resignation from Egypt's Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution) – and her strongly-worded resignation letter – have unleashed an avalanche of controversy, commentary and speculation. Following her resignation from the assembly, some have called her a genuine heroine who took a difficult stand, in hopes that more assembly members might follow her example to protest what they describe as encroaching Islamist domination of the constitution-drafting process.

Others, however, have harshly criticised El-Tibi, both for her resignation and what they see as her "unfair and improper" resignation letter, while also accusing her of orchestrating a "media stunt" for her own benefit.

Others still take the middle ground, agreeing with many of her sentiments but wishing she had not resigned and continued her reform efforts from within the council.

The following is an English-language translation of her resignation letter, which attempts to maintain the spirit of the original text. The original, Arabic-language resignation letter can be read here: http://gate.ahram.org.eg/News/254797.aspx

 

Resignation

Mr. Hossam El-Ghiryani, head of the Constituent Assembly,

Warm greetings,

I have issued a statement to public opinion before, culminating in the suspension of my membership in the Rights And Freedoms Committee in the general assembly for drafting the constitution, while still retaining my membership in the assembly. The aforementioned statement was both a clarification and a warning of such matters that are being prearranged so that the revolution's constitution would come out in a predetermined and pre-prepared manner, one that does not lead to the fulfilment of the goals of freedom, social justice and human dignity – the goals of the glorious Egyptian revolution. However, I had accepted to become a member of the assembly, despite the advice of many not to participate, for I had preferred to fully partake in the experience, to be a witness to it; an experience that I can now describe – honestly – as a bitter and black one.

I have reached a final conviction that there is no use in continuing to be a member of the Constituent Assembly, given that the final product – despite my struggle to present many suggestions for constitutional clauses that reflect freedom, social justice and human dignity for all citizens without discrimination – would never meet the expectations of the majority of Egyptians. Rather, it became clear that the constitution was being prepared to serve one particular group, entrenching the idea that the religious state might obtain power in such a manner. Eventually, the process would create a constitution that would maintain the same primary foundations of the regime that the revolution had risen up to overthrow, while only changing the personnel; not a radical change in the structure of the regime as an inevitable result of the glorious Egyptian revolution.

The truth is that my primary political position throughout this time had displayed itself in boycotting the parliamentary and presidential elections, within the context of my boycott of the entire current top-down political process. The reason is that – within the context of this process – the state institutions that are being reconstructed would never become institutions of the revolution, but institutions of the counter-revolution. This means that all of the state's institutions that have been, and are now being, constructed will represent a big step backward in the history of Egypt, and that they would be worse than the institutions of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

And experience has proven the correctness of my position. Egypt has obtained a backward parliament as a result of parliamentary elections whose integrity is shrouded in doubt. Even if this parliament was dissolved, its effects remain standing. It [Egypt] directed itself towards choosing between two real nightmares for the presidency: a president for an authoritarian, corrupt state for the military and the intelligence apparatus [Ahmed Shafiq], or a president that would lay the foundations of a religious, authoritarian and corrupt state based on what is called 'Political Islam' (Mohammed Morsi), elections which led to the victory of the latter.

All regrettably, and after the bitter experience in the Constituent Assembly, the drafting of the new constitution was not an exception of this context. We are approaching the drafting of a constitution that is worse than all previous Egyptian constitutions, through a Constituent Assembly based on the military's overwhelming use of power and authority, and the Brotherhood using the parliamentary majority of the Brotherhood and Salafists and Wahhabis. This was all to draft a constitution that would form the solid foundation not just for reproducing the former regime, but to create the state for the counter-revolution, whose direct job would be to neutralise the political, popular and glorious revolution of January 25 2011.

Consequently, the new constitution and system do not carry any sign or fairness, with all of its impoverished segments of society, including my generous family in Al-Nuba, who honoured me by nominating me for assembly membership.

Thus, building upon all that has been said, and in alignment with my conscience as an Egyptian citizen and with my principles as a political activist loyal to our glorious revolution, one who refuses to participate in the construction of institutions of the counter revolution, I hereby submit to your Excellency my resignation from the Constituent Assembly and my withdrawal from it.





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10



Nabil
30-09-2012 06:00pm
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Resignation letter
OUTSTANDING ... Manal you have raised the honor of Egypt so high so that history will remember who you are, and will engrave your name in stone forever. You are a patriot, and you spoke out what in every Egyptian’s heart and desire. Thanks for standing for the Constitution of Egypt, and the human rights of all Egyptian women and men. We are so proud of you and support you, in Egypt and outside Egypt.
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Salama
28-09-2012 08:23pm
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Islam shapes the private and public life of a uslim
seculrists are not qualified to lecture Muslims on Sharia and morality. Islam is clear and it is not a private matter. The rules of Islam are not taken from western-educated secularists, but from the Ulema of Sharia. Secularism and liberalism are a spent force.
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mo
30-09-2012 03:43pm
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ever seen any other country
local expert who has probably never seen more than 80 million of the 6 billion people in 150 countries. and knows very well what is spent and what is not.
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Hamza-Cairo
27-09-2012 11:22pm
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for Muslims, secularism, spells kufr (disbelief) in Islam.
There is no separation between Mosque and state in Islam. Gog can't be confined to the mosques. Withour religion, e,g, Islam, we are doomed. If non-Muslims want to go athiestic and secular, they can do so. But they shouldn't expect Muslims to follow euit.
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Hoda
27-09-2012 11:16pm
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Islam is not a jacket
Islam is not a jacket We wear when it fits and leave it when it is tight It is very sad when we see American converts to Islam that they are applying Sharea more than many of us who are born in Muslim countries They left all the freedoms they had before and convinced with Islam and its( tight )rules that you claim and on the opposite side Muslims born in Islamic country they would like to take Sharea away from and seek more freedom Islam did not give them(Do you believe in some verses and deny some others)it was not mention in the QURAAN that Sharea is only to be applied by the prophet ,his companion and when you reach the moon do not apply it because it will be old fashion
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Omar Shareef, Giza
27-09-2012 01:09pm
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Modern Society
Religions are invalid to rule modern society. It is intended for personal relationship. Those extremists falsly claim to be "Islamists" have no background or former education in Islam. They are lying thru their teeth to grap power. Most Egyptians are so naive to believe Brotherhood cult lies. I am good muslims; but do not beleive religion is adequate for modern society.
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mo
30-09-2012 03:47pm
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how does sarah' opinion become more valid than omar's?
sarah, yours is just an opinion, whatever it is based on. So is Omar's. Both works for both of you. No one has given Sarah the right to judge and say Omar is wrong, you have no basis to interfere in his thoughts and what works for him. You are just another human like him, and have no intellectual edge over what he has said.
Sarah
27-09-2012 04:47pm
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Why do we play with words
Religion is invalid to rule modern countries because religion is old fashion SO to be a Muslim you say shahada,you do the pillars of Islam but the QURAAN you only read in Ramadan and the rest of the year we put it on the shelf because it is old fashion to rule Muslims SO Why who you do you see that religion does not have enough rules or does not have enough rights why do not you go find another modern oneim you say Shahada, you do pillars of Islam
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Amourah Idris, Aswan
27-09-2012 01:02pm
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Religious DIctatorship[
Religion is by definition is against democracy and modernity. It is sad to see Egypt jump from military dictatorship to worse regime that is governed by solid, absolute set of rules. Look around and see how religous states have failed and oppressed its populations. We will never surrounder to Dark FOrces again. Allah Qabeer.
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Malek Towghi/Tauqee, Ph.D. - - USA
27-09-2012 09:11am
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The last resort to stop the bacward march of Egypt
Manal El-Tibi is right that the drafted constitution provides a base for further strengthening the religious tyranny for which the Ikhwan-Salafi & Co.clearly stand. It will serve the cause of the obscurantist Counter-revolution. This great daughter of Egypt has done the right thing by resigning from such a constitution-making body. In order to record the controversial nature of the 'constitution' for tomorrow, all other Non-Ikhwan Non-Salafi members of the so-called Constituent Assembly including the Christians should do the same before the draft is official passed.
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mo
30-09-2012 03:51pm
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zaki, if majority oppresses the minority, it becomes okay for you?
so when minrity wants an equal right, it is not acceptable for you. like copts churches getting burnt and people getting chased out of their villages. and then morsy goes to US and talks of palestines rights. your people should come first. and the entire west today hates you because you think in every other country your minority rights are more important than equal rights for everyone. unlearn your brain, and start reading something intellectual.
Zaki
28-09-2012 07:41am
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Response to Malek
Ph.D, Phony doctor, why do you say religious tyranny. Where do you see tyranny here. These minority liberals want to impose there will on majority, this is tyranny of the minority. Morsi has established Egypt's respect in the entire world in general, and in Muslim world in particular. You have very limited knowledge about Islam, as you may be a Copt, who never realized great achievements of Muslims in Spain and around the world for centuries, and the short comings Christianity who killed over 50 million Chritians in WW1,2, and 6 million Jews as recently as less than a century. Dont go far enough, the US constitutional which you are enjoying is derived from Quaran. The main architect of Constitution Thomas Jefferson had a Quran, and there is still in his library. Knowledge is power get your self knowledgeable Malek Ph. D.
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Nora
27-09-2012 08:36am
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Say it frankly
Dear Mahal Why Do not you say it frankly I do not want Shareaa(quraan,Sonna)to rule my life because it does not give enough rights to women and family and etc....... SO you do not need a new constitution you you need to seek another Shareaa that match your requirements of rights.
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Ahmed, a Nubian citizen
26-09-2012 09:03pm
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No to Western-style secularism in Egypt.
Dear Manal, you have no right to impose your views on the majority of the people of Egypt or even the majority of the constitutional assembly. You certainly have the right to equality, civil liberty anfd human rights. But you have no right to impose western-style secularism on a predominantly Muslim society.
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Ansari
27-09-2012 06:53am
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To Manal Tibi
Ahmed, I very well agree with you. Manal is trying to act like a spoil kid. She certainly does not know that Egypt is over 90% Muslim, and these liberals and atheists dont know they are in minority that is why they are trying to impose their wishes. The liberals, seculars, "say my way or highway" in Mubarak era it worked it will not and should not work anymore. If you dont like majority's decisions take hike.
Zizou
27-09-2012 12:36am
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Irony
Have you ever considered that in a non-secular society, she cannot have neither equality, civil liberty nor human rights?
Hamdy- USA
26-09-2012 11:34pm
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Let the people decide
Mr. Ahmed (Nubian citizen). Manal was not trying to impose her views on the majority of Egyptians, she was simply giving her account of what she seen first hand. You speak with certainty that the constituation being written is what the majority of Egyptians want, we HAVE NOT even voted on it? The people yet to approve or reject. So, let the people decide....
Mohamed
26-09-2012 11:03pm
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brains and equality
"PREDOMINANTLY muslim society" not entirely Muslim society. For a prosperous economy and basic human rights and equality of gender one would believe that seperation of church and state are needed. In order for tourism to expand and the coptics not to have their rights violated it is important. To each his own, meaning god blessed us with brains therefore we should be able to think for ourselves. The less laws and governmental interference the better. Religion is ment to be between a person and Allah swt. the brotherhood are probably trying to make it easier for them to hold power in the future.
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Modern_Humaniora
26-09-2012 07:41pm
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The big picture
Dear Manal El-Tibi's, you are very upset, I feel it by your letter, and everyone have the right to be upset, but, please, try to see the big picture in which you stand in the forefront. The Arab spring in general and the revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia in particular, Syria is ongoing, are glorious achievements just in a few years. And you are part of this achievement. In fact, it's a paradigm shift in the whole world in terms of the perception of the muslim world. And that is a tremendous change for the better. But it's a long way to go, and you are needed with your knowledge, skill and personality. It's no shame to change position, on the contrary, it's a sign of strength - therefore I beg you to withdraw your resignation and keep on moving ahead ...
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Nora
27-09-2012 08:49am
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she can't see the big picture
The big picture has more elements of the society than Ms. liberal needs of attention. The discussion should be focused on rebuilding the country for the 99% of the population. M

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