Rally: In Solidarity with Egypt
With current events we aim at refusing the monopoly of the ruling party in Egypt. A referendum has been forced upon the Egyptian people, to refute or accept the new constitution draft, which serves only as a tool for the further monopoly and dictatorship to a one party rule, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The hasty drive of constitution to referendum is problematic in three main ways that we continue to fight for; citizenship rights, state power relations, and third the current polarized atmosphere that drive mo
re discrimination and congestion rather than a healthy atmosphere for constructive dialogue.
Concerning the first aspect - citizenship rights in the constitution. There is an underlying conservative vibe in writing the articles concerning human rights, as if the revolution has not happened yet. There is minimal mention to women's rights in relation to the society and the state, giving her a rear-guide role than a main force to building our nation. There is weak mention to equal religious rights of practice without profiling or discrimination. State's responsibility and empowerment of citizens with disabilities is dismissed. Ethnic minorities of Nubians, Bedouins, and Amazeegh, etc., are not addressed in a manner that preserves Egyptian unity and national security with respect to diversity. The language of the "other" lies underneath and between the lines. The social welfare rights and responsibilities of the State towards citizens and their respective ages are not categorized in a comprehensible manner. Health, school education, higher education, housing, poverty, illiteracy, and minimum wages are all lingering aspects fluidly expressed to prevent any clear-cut liability on the state. Workers' rights and State-employees' contract terms are left loose and controversial.
The second aspect widely disputable and enforced as a de facto is the State power relations. We are against the centralization or powers in the hands of the president, or the mechanism of decision taking between the parliament and shura council that is designed in the constitution on the basis of "dominance not prominence." On the other hand, the revolutionary consensus had agreed in many times on the disposition of Shura Council for its malfunction and waste of State resources, yet the ruling party had dismissed such out cry. Last but not least, the State institutions of the police and army are maintained further powers without control, accountability, or regulation, or monitoring. National security police is preserved and police practices remain in position with no monitoring when it comes to violation of citizen rights or criminalizing violence in all its shapes. The army's power is super-extended in the new constitution in a way that Mubarak hasn't dared to over his 30 years of power, making it a state within a state. Not only is the army's economical machine and decisions isolated from State control, but also they preserve the right to trial any citizen in military courts if they accused any civilian to be a threat on the military structures and benefits. Military court produce quick instant sentences with no right to appeal the charges, bringing back a regime of dictatorship we have suffered from in the last decades.
The third and foremost issue for which we call to cancel the referendum and start consensus, is the heated atmosphere putting the country in blaze. Polarization had increased in the last two weeks with irreversible ramifications and high cost of bloodshed on both sides. All Egyptian blood is haram - forbidden, we are all citizens and partners despite of our diversity in race, gender, and beliefs. The hasty rush revives a loophole of running actual public hearings to discuss each constitution article in a constructive logical manner. Accordingly, supporters had equalized agreeing on the constitution to abiding to president's "legitimacy" and "Islamic jurisprudence", playing on the 35% of adult illiteracy in Egypt according to UN and UNICEF reports. This shallow and superficial manner of explaining the constitution and setting the referendum in place is a vicious exploitation of people's inability to read, to serve the regime ends. Such superior positionally instigates divisions and wigs debates from fine-detals of the constitution to another debate of accepting religion or no. This orchestrated rule of "divide and conquer" played out by Muslim Brotherhood, the ruling party, is unacceptable and must be widely contested among the nation and beyond for those who seek justice and democracy to prevail.