Eye on the revolution: Maha Ma’moun, a feminist take

Dina Ezzat , Thursday 28 Mar 2013

With the country embroiled in a deep political impasse, Ahram Online asks those who made the January 25 Revolution what they think now about what they thought and fought for then

Womens' march Women's march from Journalists' Syndicate to Parliament (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

A feminist of liberal-socialist leanings, Maha Ma’moun believes firmly that the faith of any ruler can be predicted according to his commitment to justice, especially social justice — a key demand of the January 25 Revolution. Ma’moun views that ousted president Hosni Mubarak strayed too far from the call of justice, leading to the dramatic end of his rule. Today, she argues, Mohamed Morsi needs to be more attentive to the unfulfilled demands of the revolution, especially "the obvious right to social justice."


  • The challenges that are facing the rule of Mohamed Morsi today are much harder than those that Hosni Mubarak faced, not just because Morsi became president after 30 years (under Mubarak) during which state functions suffered dramatically, but also because unlike the Mubarak years, today public opinion is fully involved in politics. People have re-engaged in politics, with freedom of expression and demonstration, and they are making sure that the president listens to what they have to tell him. It is a tougher challenge, there is no doubt. But then again Mubarak was a dictator and Morsi, whatever we say about his performance, is an elected president.
  • Unfortunately, I fear that Morsi is walking in the footsteps of Mubarak — one way or the other. Mubarak surrounded himself with a corrupt clique and he acted to serve their interest, so that they would protect him. Morsi arrived to office with the help of his own clique and he is following their limited agenda. This is not the way to run a state that has gone through a revolution to end corruption, injustice and authoritarianism.
  • Morsi is managing politics and economy in exactly the same way Mubarak did. The economy is a particularly disturbing case, with the following of IMF plans and the expansion of taxes. This is precisely the policy Mubarak followed.
  • The constitution that Morsi did everything he could to pass is a predominantly anti-poor and anti-social rights charter. It is a constitution that Mubarak would have loved to have, to boost the strength of the clique of his business associates and those of his son (Gamal Mubarak). And I am not even talking about women’s rights that have been almost completely eroded in this constitution. I am also not talking about the rights of other minorities.
  • When one looks at the choices Morsi has made one feels he is basically Mubarak in an Islamist jacket. What difference is there between Hesham Kandil, Morsi's prime minister, and Ahmed Nazif, Mubarak’s prime minister (July 2004 to 29 January 2011)? They are equally weak men with no charisma and no vision. They are both very humble note-takers for the president.
  • Social justice is not just a slogan that demonstrators carry, or that the president uses to decorate his speeches and TV interviews. It is a reality that if people find missing they act firmly to get. It is not a luxury but an essential. There were many reasons for the dramatic end to Mubarak’s rule, but for sure absent social justice and the hope thereof was critical. If Morsi continues to miss the call of the masses for social justice, he may end up at the same destination Mubarak did.
  • I cannot say I have given up on Morsi. I think there is still a very small chance that he can reverse course. But to do this he has no other alternative other than heeding the demands of the people. He was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, this is very true. But he was elected by the people and it is the will of the people, not that of the Guidance Bureau of the Brotherhood, to which he has to bow.
  • I am opposed to the re-engagement of the army in politics, no matter what. I will stick to this position. The army did not perform well during the interim period, to say the least. Also, I see serious question marks over the true position of the army on the (January 25) revolution. I am not sure that they supported the revolution. Perhaps they decided to let go of Mubarak to guard their interests.
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