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The New Pharaoh

The BBC reports:

Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi has issued a declaration banning challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions.

The declaration also says no court can dissolve the constituent assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution.

President Mursi also sacked the chief prosecutor and ordered the retrial of people accused of attacking protesters when ex-President Mubarak held office.

Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei accused Mr Mursi of acting like a “new pharaoh”.

This ‘new pharoah’ business is a bit confusing. Let me explain. Mursi (as I see his name is now to be written) is being accused of being autocratic and unjust, like the pharaoh of the tale of Moses. In this analogy, the Egyptians are the Jews, and the Islamist Mursi is the pagan pharaoh.

To add to the confusion: Islamists often claim that Israel is the “new pharaoh”.

Here’s Inayat Bunglawala, from last year:

The Muslim Brotherhood circa 2011 certainly cannot be described as liberal democrats, but neither are they the extremists as portrayed by some of their detractors, as even Tony Blair conceded. Its leadership now embraces a range of nuanced political outlooks, many of them mercifully rather different to that originally envisioned by Hassan al-Banna. Though they are not there yet – a draft document circulated in 2007 outlining the Muslim Brotherhood’s political vision was heavily criticised for being too reactionary – it was an interesting and hopeful sign that quite a bit of that criticism came from younger members. I don’t believe there is a compelling reason why the Muslim Brotherhood cannot continue to evolve in the years to come to become the Egyptian equivalents of Germany’s Christian Democrats, whose party leader Angela Merkel is the current chancellor.

Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood is clearly converging with the European Christian Democrat movement, and Mursi is a Merkel-in-waiting. A Merkel who had just granted herself  a declaration banning challenges to her decrees, laws and decisions: in other words, unlimited powers with no judicial oversight.


Yolande Knell of the BBC says:

But of most concern is the line that Mr Mursi’s decisions “are final and cannot be contested”. He starts to sound more powerful than the autocratic leader that Egyptians rose up to overthrow.

You think?

Ah, but Mursi is on a Mission from God. Why should he put on the brakes?