Amin: Revolution was 'luxury Egyptians couldn't afford'
Egyptian journalist says there is ‘hope where there was none’; citizens, government still have long
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 00:10
The world should give Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi a chance to prove himself, according to former Nile TV anchor and journalist Shahira Amin on Monday.
Amin made the statement in a speech at the grand opening of the Sam Houston State University Global Center for Journalism and Democracy.
Her opinion is opposite to many who are quick to condemn Morsi for his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was the candidate for the Freedom and Liberty Party, the official party of the Muslim Brotherhood, but has since taken steps away from the Brotherhood.
“We were taught to believe the Islamists were the boogeyman,” Amin said. “This was a tactic [former president Hosni] Mubarak used against the Western world and against Egyptians.”
Amin said Morsi has shown willingness to cooperate and hold his promise to be “a president for all Egyptians.”
In one example, Amin described how he contradicted Brotherhood officials who said they want to end certain peace treaties. Morsi said all official statements would come from the president’s office and that he has no plans for eliminating any previous treaties.
Morsi promised that Egyptians would see substantial change in the first 100 days of his presidency, something Amin said was over ambitious.
“He inherited a country in disarray,” Amin said. “After 30 years of a Mubarak regime, we had an ailing economy. The tourists aren’t coming and the investors were scared off.”
Egyptian unemployment is at 12.8 percent compared to pre-revolution numbers near 8.9 percent. Crime rates have also increased according to many news agencies and Egyptian officials, but no solid numbers have been confirmed.
Amin said this has much to do with the lack of security after the revolution.
Amin said the poor state of the country may be due to the fact Egyptians weren’t ready for the revolution, the Arab Spring, in the first place.
“We just marched out there and began protesting,” Amin said. “We were surprised when the regime fell in 18 days. Then everyone said ‘Yay’ and went home.”
She said had the protesters been more organized, Egypt may be in a different state.
“Had there been more organization, we may not have Morsi as a president,” Amin said. “Liberals just sit around and complain on Twitter instead of going out there.”
The revolution was necessary, she said, but maybe too early.
“The revolution was a luxury I don’t think the Egyptians could afford,” Amin said.
Amin is not only a journalist, but also an activist for, among other things, women’s rights.
“Women have made great strides in the last 15 years under the Mubarak administration,” she said. “He wasn’t all bad.”
She said women gained a lot of respect during the revolution.
“Women were very much a part of the uprising,” Amin said. “They were leading the chants in Tahrir [Square in Cairo].”
However, the progress of women may be halted and taking a step back, according to Amin.
The panel tasked with constructing the country’s constitution has only six women out of 100 members. In addition, Islamist members make up 60 percent of the panel and constantly push for “in accordance with Sharia law” to every article. Doing so, Amin said, can take away every step forward women have taken.
Page Trahan, senior mass communication major, said she now has a deeper understanding of the situation in Egypt.
“I’m burdened by all I didn’t know,” Trahan said. “I’m glad she came, now I want to be a part of the change.”
Amin also mentioned the reduction of female genital mutilation rates declining from 90 percent of women to 75 percent after a law was passed in 2007 banning the practice.
Amin said Egypt won’t be rebuilt in a few days.
“It will take several years to see real change,” Amin said. “I believe Morsi made a serious and solumn vow [to be a fair president and work hard on rebuilding the country.]”