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Sadness As Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Dies–First Democratically Elected Leader In Nation

June 17, 2019

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I am saddened to learn of the death of Mohamed Morsi, former president of Egypt.  I was hopeful for his leadership, and mindful for why he was important to the people who elected him to office.

Today Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected leader died.  He had been in court, where he had been granted a request to make a statement.  Once the court adjourned, he fainted and passed away.

I had hoped with his election progress in Egypt could have taken a similar path to that of Turkey which was able to construct a nation that is western looking while rooted in traditional ways.  (Though the authoritarian moves over the past several years deeply troubles me.)  The people of Egypt desperately wanted a better life.  I had hoped Morsi was the start of a new era.

I was a proud supporter of the Arab Spring, which brought Morsi to power.  I was also a loud critic of the coup by the military which ended the term of the duly elected president.  Traditionally, the army has been the one institution Egyptians trusted to guarantee stability.   The fact they are now also known in the history books as taking down an elected official will long tar their narrative.

In 2012 I wrote the following about Morsi.

There is a need to re-calibrate our relations with the Middle East.  The fact that American money was used to buy autocratic leaders over the decades has not allowed for the best interests of the people who live there to be realized.  If there is contempt for the United States in the way we conducted our foreign policy card we can only look in the mirror to see who should be blamed.

No matter if one views Morsi as good or bad, there is no way to escape the fact he has to be respected for standing up on behalf of a nation that for too long was taken advantage of for our strategic needs.

While America has legitimate reasons to be engaged in the Middle East, and there are countless reasons our foreign aid dollars are meaningful and required, it is also a fact that our interests are not the primary ones.

The people who live in the Middle East come first.

And Egypt’s President, Mohamed Morsi, is reminding us of that fact.

Yes, he deserves our respect.

It is easy to see why there continues to be utter fascination with this historic land.

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