Hamid addresses the political turbulence and threats to democracy in Egypt

Egypt is currently ruled by “military fascism” and protests in support of the deposed and detained Mohamed Morsi have been dispersed with thousands of fatalities, according to Dr. Khaled Abdel Hamid, an Egyptian political observer.

“Fifteen hundred people were killed in the same day by the Egyptian military. It was a slaughterhouse,” Hamid said during a Nov. 6 lecture in Lovejoy Library.

The lecture was the final installment of the history department’s series “Syria, Egypt, and Us.”

The rising tension and political unrest in Egypt has been “heartbreaking,” according Hamid.

“People are very political and as much as [the violence] has happened in the last few months, there is definitely significant coldness in my home country,” Hamid said.

History professor Steve Tamari organized the lecture series and said Egypt is a very important country.

“It’s one of the most important allies of the U.S. in the Mideast region. It’s the largest Arab country,” Tamari said. “It’s been through a lot of changes.”

Hamid was born and raised in Egypt but left “because he wasn’t happy there.” Though his love of the country remains, Hamid said he recently began to lose hope again.

His lecture on Egypt addressed whether there was hope for a democracy there.

According to Hamid the chances are very slim. The events in July 2013 amount to a coup, although the armed forces deny it, he said. Hamid said most of blame for the unnecessary violence that occurred lies with the military.

“What happened in June is a coup.” Hamid said. “It would have happened no matter who was in power at that time: secular or Islamist.”

Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Liberals are equally to blame for the recent incidents, according to Hamid, though 90 percent of the overall blame goes the military.

Hamid explained the political history of Egypt from the semi-Parliamentary monarchy preceding the first military coup of 1952; the reign of President Gamal Nasser until he passed away in 1970,; the period of Anwar Sadat’s election as president until his assassination in 1981; and, then, from Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule to the revolution that toppled Mubarak in 2011. Later that year Parliamentary and presidential elections – the first free elections in Egypt’s history – were held. By 2012, the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood under President Muhammad Morsi came to power.

Each of the leaders had their strengths and weaknesses, according to Hamid, but oftentimes, the military remained in power and remains in power to this day.

Hamid said General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was the military leader in charge of the recent coup and dominates Egypt today. Videos have been leaked following the event showing him discussing concern for the status and prestige of the military in a new era where people can ask questions and expect answers, according to Hamid.

Tamari said Hamid’s lecture was clear and informative.

“Many people here and even in Egypt are confused about what is going on there. What happened to the revolutionary fervor that gripped the whole world less than three years ago? What happened to the democratically elected president? Was what happened this July another revolution or a coup?” Tamari said. “What was so compelling about Dr. Hamid’s lecture is that he laid all those questions to rest with his historical approach… His argument was totally convincing and left me with a clear idea of what’s going on.”

Senior business major Justin Jones thought Hamid’s presentation was very informative, heartfelt and passionate.

“I felt like he delivered a good lecture,” Jones said. “A lot of other countries such as Egypt are in distress and we are doing pretty well so we should be proud of ourselves and not look down upon other governments.”


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