Celebrating 30 June

Al-Ahram Weekly Editorial
Wednesday 30 Jun 2021

Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the 30 June, 2013 Revolution, which opened a new chapter in the country’s history on many levels.

It confirmed the commitment of the vast majority of Egyptians to maintaining a modern, civil state where all citizens enjoy equal rights and freedoms.

Before the Egyptian people’s revolt against the Muslim Brotherhood’s failed attempt at ruling the country over one year, Egypt was the brink of a bloody civil war, the economy was in tatters, and ties with the outside world had narrowed down to a few countries with a vested interest in weakening Egypt in pursuit of their own regional ambitions.

The late president Mohamed Morsi was merely a stand-in for the Muslim Brotherhood’s highest decision-making body, known as the Guidance Bureau, and the popular revolt against him saved Egypt as a nation state. Contrary to their claims before narrowly winning a highly polarised presidential election in early 2012, the Brotherhood revealed their true colours and goals as soon as they took office.

They confirmed they were merely a political group that exploits the Muslim religion to achieve their fundamentalist agenda and the illusion of restoring the so-called Caliphate belonging in a different historic era.

In such a Caliphate, the notion of a nation state does not exist and might even be seen as a violation of Islamic precepts. Thus, non-Muslims or even Muslims who do not accept that fundamentalist interpretation of religion should not be treated as equal citizens with equal rights.

Egyptians, with all their diversity and pride in their long history and civilisation, would never have accepted such an extremist ideology, and would not tolerate the rule of the clergy.

Egypt’s experience under the extremist Muslim Brotherhood was also a warning to the entire region and neighbouring countries that experienced a similar rise in the influence of political Islamic groups after the so-called Arab Spring and the popular revolts that took place in early 2011.

If it wasn’t for the 30 June, 2013 Revolution, Tunisia too would have fallen into chaos following attempts by the Tunisian branch of the Brotherhood to monopolise the scene, advancing their misunderstanding of democracy. Winning an election, even with a reasonable majority, cannot mean suppressing all other opposition, or disregarding universal rights and freedoms.

Only after 30 Junedid the Arab peoples recognise the dangers of political groups raising the banner of religious identity, while hiding their true extremist agendas.

Egyptians who suffered tremendously under Muslim Brotherhood rule due to the sharp deterioration in the economy and many basic services, including electricity, fuel, roads, sewage, education and healthcare, were also keen on ridding themselves of that government in the hope of improving their living conditions.

The Brotherhood had no experience beyond running their own businesses and charities, and were ill equipped to administer a whole economy or the interests and needs of 100 million people.

When President Al-Sisi first took office in June 2014, his priorities not only included combating the terrorism launched by Brotherhood supporters all over Egypt, but also working fast to meet the basic needs of the Egyptian people.

The new Egyptian regime worked hard and non-stop on many fronts to improve living conditions for Egyptians, and equally to prepare Egypt to become a major regional power with a strong economy.

All international reports, including those issued by the IMF, World Bank and major financial institutions, noted remarkable improvements in Egypt’s economy and infrastructure.

Egyptians now certainly feel confident of their future as they can see new projects rising in every corner, whether in terms of new cities, roads, bridges, ports or airports.

The improvements in healthcare and education, serving millions of Egyptians, have also been widely recognised by both the people at home and international institutions.

Unlike the Brotherhood’s narrow-minded attitude to women, seeing them as second-class citizens, the present power structure has given Egyptian women unprecedented rights. Women make up nearly 27 per cent of parliament, and they run eight key ministries and many other high-ranking positions.

On the regional and international fronts, 30 June kick started the restoration of Egypt’s historically influence. President Al-Sisi and the new regime had a lot of work to do to fix the damage caused by the Brotherhood’s divisive rule, both internally, regionally and on the international level.

Egypt now has regained its friends in the Arab world, Europe and the United States, and its positive intervention to solve regional disputes and conflicts has been recognised by nearly the whole world.

Egypt’s role in combating international terrorism, seeking to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and reaching a peaceful settlement in the civil wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen is indispensable.

Despite Egypt’s limited resources, President Al-Sisi was at the forefront of the countries offering help to Lebanon after the massive explosion in the Port of Beirut.

Similar assistance was offered to several Arab and African countries after the outbreak ofthe Covid-19 virus. Egyptians this week are not only marking the eighth anniversary of the historic shift that took place on 30 June, 2013, they are also celebrating the numerous achievements they have made over a very short period of time.

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