A few points need to be made here.
First of all, I find it at least a bit strange when people refer to me as part of a ‘you’ that they call the ‘opposition’ and then tell me that this ‘we’ was supposed to create a coalition, and that since we have ‘offered none’ – I therefore have no right to ‘complain’.
I am a video producer, a photographer, a graphic designer, a writer, and a musician. I am not, nor have I ever been, a politician. If I protested, it was not for a political party or a political ideology, when I write, it’s not for a party or an ideology, and the only ‘entity’ with which I’ve had any kind of regular attachment is the No Military Trials for Civilians group, of whose work I am very proud and by whose other members I am constantly humbled. My interest in the revolution from Day 1 has been, and continues to be, purely humane. I am not in need, mostly because I have few needs – but I am painfully aware of how many people suffer in Egypt, and that most of those suffer unjustly.
I went down on Jan 25th for the same reasons I went down to protest with Cairo University students when they were protesting Israel’s attack on Jenin back in 2001/2, and I protested in Tahrir Square a year later when the USA was about to launch it’s all out attack (Shock & Awe they called it..) on Iraq. In all those cases I didn’t protest FOR a politician or a political party, or a political ideology – I protested against an injustice, against criminal acts, and against criminal regimes. So again, when you, the accuser, say ‘you’ – I have no idea who you’re referring to, unless you’re referring to the very amorphous creature journalists and politicians like to call, without a hint of nuance, ‘the opposition’ – it’s a label that lacks all cohesion because who the opposition is shifts depending on shifting alliances between those in power at any given time. When the MB appeared to be in power, YOU, I assume, would have, by your definition, counted as ‘opposition’. Should I take that to mean that you have formed a coalition? If that’s the case, should I hold you responsible for all the ills that the regime has perpetrated since Morsi was removed? I reserve the right to fight injustice and do not take that to automatically mean that I am somehow responsible for providing the people with a better choice. I am simply one other guy eating in the restaurant, I am not the chef, nor have I ever wanted to be one.
However, if you’re asking me to divine why people have ‘decided’ that no choices have been presented, I can hazard a few guesses – first of all, many ‘opposition’ or ‘revolutionary’ movements HAVE indeed come up with different scenarios throughout the revolution, I was among those, who suggested since before Mubarak was finally removed, and all the way until the run-off elections between Morsi & Shafiq, that the only way to get past the Military Dictatorship was to forget about the elections, and to form a Civil Council comprising most of the candidates, have that council for an interim period and have the constitution written within that period, followed by proper elections. ANY such notion was immediately dismissed, and barely given any airtime, and similar suggestions were actually mocked by SCAF on TV. Otherwise, many human rights organizations came up with plans, for example, for restructuring the police force and the ministry of the interior, so that it becomes accountable, answerable to the law, and actually fills a role in which they, amazingly enough, serve the people. NONE of these suggestions have been taken, listened to, or applied.
If the media has not made you aware of the many suggestions and options that have been proposed throughout not only the last year but throughout the last few years, that is not the fault of the amorphous collective you’re referring to, but of a collusion between the regime and the media, to always make you believe that you have no other choices than the one THEY present you with.
As for the elections, you insist that they are ‘legal’. Well…them being legal is certainly open to dispute, not only because of the 3rd day extension, which can be attacked legally on several grounds (first of all, you don’t change election law MID-ELECTIONS, and second, a law is only formally a ‘law’ when it’s printed in the Official Journal, and since it was NOT printed except by the 3rd day of elections, then the 2nd day decision to ‘extend’ was, literally, illegal) – but also on many other grounds; the Sisi campaign, by any measure, seems to have gone completely over their legally allowed budget, the media was heavily and undoubtedly biased towards Sisi, Sisi’s campaign is technically guilty of bribery because of the 300,000 power-saving bulbs they ‘distributed’, Hamdein’s representatives were arrested in many governorates, and nobody I know – including a whole bunch of photographers who saw LOTS of polling station – believes the magical turnout figure of 25 million voters. I won’t hold as evidence other things, like videos clearly showing military personal marking ballots for Sisi en masse because it can be argued that those videos are fake, and I have no way to prove otherwise.
I would also add that something may be ‘legal’ but wrong, such as the Protest Law, which is quite simply unconstitutional. If you doubt my words, please examine the terminological swindle that occurs between Article 8 and Article 10 of said law.
Otherwise, another reason for your impression that we had no options was El-Sisi’s very conscious, very deliberate sabotage of the whole political process. I said, way back in November 2013, that by refusing to answer the question about whether or not he’s going to run for the presidency when he gave his first big interview in Al MasryAl Youm, El-Sisi had effectively sabotaged an entire political process that was supposed to take place and last all the way from November and right up last week. Had El-Sisi done what almost everybody wanted him to do (including many, if not most, of those who voted for him), and simply said he would not run; the focus for the last six months would not have been on whether or not (or when) Sisi will decide to run, but rather on many non-military candidates who would’ve have come to the table, and offered themselves to the people.
We would’ve met tens of names, and slowly over the last 6 months, we would have seen real debates, and a filtering process would’ve taken place, with some candidates becoming popular and gaining support, and others being left on the wayside. NONE of this happened, and it was because El-Sisi decided to create a political fog, effectively ‘reserving’ the presidential seat for himself.
Could somebody else, other than Hamdein have decided to run anyway? Sure. Would he have had any reason to believe the elections would be honest or fair? None whatsoever, not while the regime has Adly Mansour making up whatever laws they desire at the drop of a hat.
I hope at least some of what I’ve written proves useful or explanatory…and helps you to understand why so many of your friends or sons or daughters are unhappy with the way things are going.
Thank you for taking the time to read this note.