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November 23rd, 2012
06:06 PM ET

Letters to the President #1404: 'Egypt rising...again'

Reporter's Note: Just days ago the Obama administration was standing beside Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, brokering a peace deal between Israel and Hamas. Now? Not so much.

Dear Mr. President,

The more things change, the more they remain the same. I become more convinced of that with each passing year. At the moment, the greatest evidence is coming from Egypt.

No doubt you are monitoring the protests over the president staging what many Egyptians consider a power grab, and consolidating far too much authority in his own hands. After all, protestors argue, the uprising that overthrew Mubarak was not spearheaded by Mohamed Morsy’s group alone.

Precisely what he is up to seems unclear from where I sit. On one hand, he argues that he is simply taking some steps to protect that county’s fledgling Democratic process. On the other, his critics point out that the degree to which he has granted himself substantial powers…albeit it temporary…looks a fair bit like the beginnings of a dictatorship, and heaven knows the world has had enough of those.

But back to my main point…

I believe culture and history resonate over time and with a force that can overcome even some of the best intentions. So as excited as Egyptians and many others were during those early protests to give Mubarak the boot, I predicted even then that new troubles were waiting just around the corner, because getting rid of a problem is not the same as finding a solution. And the Egyptians, once again milling in the streets and clashing with authorities are most decidedly still looking for a solution. They know what they don’t want…or at least they think they do…but they can not yet put their fingers on what they are really after.

And as long as that persists, which could be quite a while, I think unrest and unease will rule in the land of the Pharaohs.

Call if you can. Hope your Turkey Day was nice.

Regards,
Tom

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