Min Kawalees Al-Doustour
(Behind the Scenes of the Writing the Constitution) by Amani Abul-Fadl, Cairo: Dar Nahdat Misr Publishing, 2013. pp.272
Amani Abul-Fadl's book, Min Kawalees Al-Doustour (Behind the Scenes of the Writing the Constitution), was completed on the eve of final voting on the Egyptian draft constitution, which has now been suspended following the deposal of former president Mohammed Morsi. Ironically, since the writing of Abul-Fadl's book there is now a new constitutional committee charged with rewriting the constitution, while the book is devoted to a now-suspended constitution.
Though the book bears the publication date of June 2013, it seems that its release was delayed by at least two months amidst the massive protests and political changes that took place in Egypt in July and August. However, these changes -- the deposal of former president Morsi and the process of rewriting a new constitution under the interim government -- do not render Abul-Fadl's subject insignificant. We cannot ignore the events and crises that have befallen the Egyptian Revolution since it broke out in January 2011.
Abul-Fadl took pride in being a member in the former constitutional committee, as she indicates in her introduction on the cover of the book. The is a professor of English literature, and she formerly worked as a translator for various UN-affiliated organizations.
The author notes that she was surprised to receive a phone call offering her a position on the Constituent Committee on the Islamist list, but she does not mention specifically who called her. She does state, however, that she chose to participate in the Rights and Freedoms Committee because her main interests are in women's and children's rights. Abul-Fadl does not conceal that she sees the current constitutional draft as unsuitable. In her opinion, Egypt's 1971 Constitution is the best constitutional model, if the successive clauses the Mubarak regime inserted were dropped. She believes that the abrogation of the 1971 Constitution occurred as a result of what she calls "the pressures of the forces of globalisation."
Abul-Fadl's testimony is confined primarily to the Rights and Freedoms Committee, which she was a member during the six months of writing the constitution. She describes a conflict that began soon after the committee was formed between what she terms "national sovereignty supporters", who support political Islam, and "globalisation agents", who unfalteringly support Egypt's entrance into the "New World Order". The latter group, according to Abul-Fadl, consistently to refer to Egypt's commitments under UN conventions and treaties, which they claim are inviolable because of the threat of cuts in economic aid for foreign states and international financial institutions.
One of the most important points the author dwells on is her sense that there is a persistent conspiracy being executed by "the globalisation stream", comprised of politicians who do not hesitate to lie and commit fraud in order to serve the agendas of sinister foreign parties. According to Abul-Fadl, these politicians aim to undermine national sovereignty by opening the door – constitutionally – to the destruction of the nation's Islamic identity.
Abul-Fadl's recites fears about the changing constitution to the text known as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," believed to have been written by Russian Secret Police, speaking of a global conspiracy by jewish elders aiming to rule the world. Moreover, the constitution according to the Protocols is nothing but a school for strife and conflicts.
The second aim of these malignant forces, according to Abul-Fadl, is to produce a local cultural and political elite that is wholeheartedly committed to this "Neo-Colonial World Order" by destroying local societies and peoples, sparing global powers the task of engaging in direct confrontation through military might. These elites work for the benefit of the "Neo-Colonial World Order" and they facilitate the penetration of society by the forces of globalisation. In doing so, they offer global powers details about the most sensitive and private national issues in flagrant violation of national security concerns. It was for this purpose, Abul-Fadl argues, that civil society organizations and NGOs were implanted in all countries.
Abul-Fadl believes these new globalised elites would resort to any means necessary to achieve their objectives. For instance, see tells the story of a "beautiful" medical doctor who came to the Rights and Freedoms Committee to present information that should be taken into consideration in the constitutional draft. The doctor introduced herself as a MD at Qasr Al-'Einy hospital, so Abul-Fadl telephoned her husband – who is a professor at Qar Al-'Einy Medical School – to check whether this doctor was a member of the faculty there. Her husband replied that no such name appeared on the list of doctors, professors, administrative employees or even patients at the hospital! This story demonstrates the deceitful tactics the author believes agents of the globalisation would resort to in order to acheive their goals.
Min Kawalees Al-Doustour tells the story of the diverse political motivations of the individuals who were assigned the difficult task of drafting the country's new constitution, and leaves the reader with significant questions about similar agendas that may inform the constitutional draft that is now being developed. Abul-Fadl invites readers to come to their own conclusions about these events.