— By: Alexandra Kinias —
I wonder why the decision by General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the Egyptian Minister of Defense, to run for president came as a surprise to some. The reaction by those who are against his decision to run gives the impression that they were not anticipating it, in spite that he had indirectly mentioned it himself in one of his speeches. Their despair, criticism, skepticism and sarcasm made it sound that the political arena was filled with knights in silver armor, super heroes and action figures and that Sisi snatched it from them. Excuse me, but your fantasies end where reality begins.
Since Mubarak stepped down three years ago and Egypt hasn’t witnessed an emerging charismatic leader that caught people’s attention and united them. A leader that would wither the storm and lead the country through this rough time, curb terrorism and restore law and order. The political arena that was vacant from men of substance was filled, however, with clowns, puppets and many puppeteers.
The ramifications of the unfortunate events that followed the revolution of January 2011 culminated with Mohamed Morsi being sworn in as the president of Egypt. Great nations deserve and should not settle for anything but strong leaders. And Morsi was anything other than that. And to those who are skeptical about Sisi’s decision to run can’t even present a name of another candidate who is powerful enough to govern Egypt today. On the contrary, it is very fortunate, to say the least, for Egypt to have at this time a leader of such caliber as Sisi. The retired general is a graduate of the American Military Academy. Prior to his post as the Minister of Defense he was the chief of the Egyptian Military intelligence. He proved competence at times of crisis and delivered when the people of Egypt sought the assistance of their army to remove the theocratic regime of the Muslim Brotherhood. Because of Sisi’s forceful grip on the army, he launched a war against terrorism and saved Egypt from sliding in a civil war similar to Syria.
Those who are advocating for a civilian presidential candidate over one with a military background should remember that they have selected one. Their choice of a civilian president, in his short time in office, turned out to be an absolute disaster. A civilian leader may rule when the country is not in a state of war. But at times of distress, countries need a leader who is strong and capable to restore peace and stability. It is difficult to forget the past and to ignore six decades of military rule, however, it is important to be objective and not allow the military-phobia to influence and shape the decisions for selecting the future leader. Egyptians should focus on the qualities of the presidential candidate rather than his affiliation to the military. They should concentrate on the one who has the potential to succeed at this critical time in the history of the country.
The political turmoil that Egyptians have been going through over the last three years has raised their political awareness. They have reached unprecedented levels of freedom of speech and expression envied by many countries in the region and they became more conscious of their needs and how to achieve them. Egyptians deserve a better future. They are fortunate to be given a second chance and the time has come for them to set aside their selfish desires and act for the welfare of their country.