An open letter to the President of Egypt

Hoda Gindi , Thursday 5 Jul 2012

Cairo University Professor takes President-Elect Mohamed Morsi to task for disrupting exams, and the lives of hundreds of students, by his address to parliament at the university auditorium

Dr. Mohamed Morsi

Your Excellency,

It is with deep disappointment and even deeper regret that I write to you today. On Friday 29 June, in front of millions of Egyptians, and at that icon of our Revolution, Tahrir Square, you made an impassioned speech promising us the dawn of a new era, and declaring yourself to be “one of us”!

You further promised that there will be no encroachment on our rights as citizens, nor will you do anything to disrupt our daily lives – as in the case of the former regime.

However, directly after that speech (or perhaps even during it), we learnt that Your Excellency was going to Cairo University the following day to meet “parliamentarians”, members of the various political parties, the army and the police.

Now, you, of course, have the right to address anyone, anywhere at any time; however, I don’t believe, especially after your specific declarations, that you should, by your very presence, bring to a halt the work of one of the most significant institutions in the land devoted to learning and education and the future of our own young men and women.

This, even more so, since you, as a professor, are aware that exams are continuing and have had to be postponed so as to enable you to deliver your speech (I appreciate the fact that during your speech, you apologized; however, the disruption remained).

Is it fair or just to these young men and women to have both their professional and personal lives put into such disarray? Was there really no other venue?

Furthermore, it is rather unfortunate for your image as the “President of the People” that the academic staff and students whose rightful domain is the University were unable to enter the precinct.

I cannot remember a similar occasion except when President Obama also addressed the nation from the podium of the university auditorium! This is in contrast to the time when Nelson Mandela graced us with his presence when the University was open to all.

With respect to the Office of the President,                                                                                                 

I remain

Yours sincerely,

Hoda Gindi

Professor of English and American Literature

Cairo University

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