What Americans need to know about General el-Sisi

September 19, 2017 Africa , Asia , Middle East , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

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Ahmed Tharwat


General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is coming to visit the UN to speak, and will most likely present himself as the go-to man when it comes to the war on terrorism and champion of “Cute Islam,” not Jihad Islam.

Since the military coup that toppled President Morsi, the first elected civilian president in Egyptian history, the General has committed gross violations of human rights and masssacres, eliminating oppositions, neutralizing check and balance institutions; parliament, judges, press, schools, mosques and public squares. According to Human Rights Watch, members of his security forces, particularly the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency, continued to routinely torture detainees (my Nephew is one of them) and forcibly disappear hundreds of people with little or no accountability for violations of the law. The disappearance, torture, and death of Italian doctoral researcher Giulio Regeni, probably at the hands of the security services, highlighted these abuses and caused a diplomatic rift between Egypt and Italy.

El-Sisi’s name appeared on the political stage during the January 25th revolution, infamously known as the one who oversaw the “Forced Virginity Test” military security division, responsible for administrating the barbaric virginity test on young female protestors. In 2012 I interviewed two of the victims in Egypt who explained in detail how they were dragged in the streets and endured the humiliating procedures in public under the eyes and laughter of soldiers and onlookers. Still today they have never even had their day in court, let alone a fair trial.

El-Sisi made it to the top after committing the biggest and most deadly one day massacre in Egyptian history, where according to Amnesty International 1,000 unarmed people were killed in 12 hours. Trump seems to be fascinated with strong leaders like Putin and other dictators in the Middle East. To understand General el-Sisi, Mr. Trump, who knows the importance of names, (the man puts his name on anything and anywhere), needs to understand what names Egyptians put on their dictator.

In fact, people living under dictatorial regimes have no political choices, and cannot exercise freedom of expression, where change is hard to come by. Arab regimes are like a Catholic marriage, you live with it, until death do you part. When people tried to change their regime in the Arab Spring it turned ugly. Therefore, if Egyptians are unable to change their dictators, the least they can do is change the dictators’ names. Names are given to us at birth to legitimize our existence, but they can also be given later in life to challenge our existence. The same is true with dictators. Nasser was just called the “Leader” on a good day and the “Catastrophe” on a bad day. Sadat went from Mr. “Yes” to the faithful leader, then became the “Traitor.” Mubarak was called “La vache qui rit,” the laughing cow, a famous brand of French cheese in Egypt.

However, no Egyptian leader has triggered so many names in such a short period of time as the current President. General el-Sisi was elected after a military coup that ousted the elected president Dr. Morsi and a year after committing the biggest massacre in Egyptian history. After much hysterical propaganda to inflate the General’s ability and achievements, el-Sisi had three disastrous years in power. Now the General is looking for alliances and is trying to position himself to the West as their trusted man in the Middle East, the man they can count on for the so-called “war on terrorism.”

General el-Sisi has become irrelevant at home and abroad so now he is coming to reinstate his relevance. “We need to export our war on terrorism expertise to the world” bragged one of el-Sisi’s advisors. This is the Egyptian General who has no vision and no political party except the Army that has turned Egypt into a police state. But before turning el-Sisi to a great hero, as the West did with Sadat, decorating him with the Noble Peace Prize and giving him monikers like a ‘man of courage,’ ‘a man of peace,’ ignoring what Egyptians actually call their dictator is a grave mistake.

Americans need to understand what Egyptians call el-Sisi now and why. The first thing Egyptian dictators do when they take power, besides putting a praying mark on their forehead, is to put the name of the Prophet Muhammad in front of their names. So Anwar el-Sadat, became President Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat, and Mubarak became Muhammad Hosni Mubarak. However, el-Sisi didn’t have to add the name of the Prophet to his name, he sees himself as the Prophet, and is going to save Islam and Muslims from themselves.

El-Sisi’s tenure started promisingly, so the names that were initially given to him were positive and hyper-nationalistic, but soon went downhill from there, as all hell broke loose. Right after the military coup and cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood in the Rabaa massacre, el-Sisi was a hero for many Egyptians. They banked on him and decorated him with all sort of names, like, Lion, projecting power and vitality; our father, the Prophet, a god sent to save Egypt from the evildoers (brotherhood). Then el-Sisi got cocky, consolidated his power and demanded the people only listen to him, calling himself the Philosopher and Savior.

General el-Sisi started to act irrationally, trusting no one other than the military. He also undertook enormous fake projects that were never finished, purely to extort money from the Gulf States and Egyptians. The Egyptian dictator started acting above the law, politicized the justice system, police, media and the military, arresting thousands of Egyptians without trials, and getting rid of any opponents. Egyptians therefore started to wonder about their new hero, who they could not protest against nor muster any opposition to. So they started changing his name with names he deserved, names that were degrading and culturally inferior, like Candy, a name reserved for an uncouth woman, Date, a name usually given to insult and belittle people, and then the most culturally degrading name, the Pimp; this for his willingness to say anything to anyone to get what he wants, using his socially inferior speaking style, saying something and doing something else.

Egyptians have started to disown him, calling him Son of a Jew for his blatant support of the Israelis against the Palestinians, in particular taking part in the suffocation of the people of Gaza. El-Sisi like Mubarak and Sadat before him he earned the name Traitor. Then came the name that hits him in the heart of his religious pretence; the Infidel; Thief for his Ponzi schemes to collect money for his henchmen under the banner “Long Live Egypt” which also earned him the name Beggar and Con artist; SOB is a name degrading more to his mother; Psychopath after committing the biggest massacre of Egyptian history at Rabaa and Nahda sit-in.

But finally, here is my favorite one, Awaad, a name of a folkloric figure, of a farmer who sold his family’s land to indulge in his own lifestyle. He earned this name after a failed attempt to return, some say sell, two Egyptian islands to Saudi Arabia. “My mother taught me to never take what belongs to others,” he pathetically explained. This is not by any means inclusive, the list goes on, as Egyptians are very resourceful! So Mr. Trump, be careful what you call your guest when he comes to visit the White House. Maybe you can put your own name on him…the Trump of Egypt!






Ahmed Tharwat

Ahmed Tharwat is the Producer and Host of the Arab-American TV show BelAhdan. His articles are published in national and international publications. He blogs at Notes from America,www.ahmediatv.com and his articles appear in national and international publications. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.

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