Growing up, I looked forward to attending Sunday school each week. Every detail of the stories I heard and the lessons I learned lingered in my sub-conscience right through the week. Of the many stories and parables I heard over the years, one in particular has stayed with me – the story of Moses and the Pharaoh. The tale of the oppressive Egyptian ruler, who was overthrown by God and rejected by his own people, continues to enthrall and fascinate me even today.
However uncanny it may seem, this story is not just an ancient myth. It is an accurate vision of what happens, again and again, when despots and tyrants become addicted to power and are at first unwilling and then simply unable to change themselves or the lands they rule over. The biblical story of the tyrannical Pharaoh, the plagues, the rebellions and finally the Exodus, are still being played out today in various renditions all across the Arab world.
In the last few years we have witnessed how profound and relevant this story is all over the Arab world and particularly in Egypt. And now in a symbolic show of solidarity, Egypt’s new President-Elect Mohamed Morsi has taken an oath of office right in the centre of Tahrir square, the epicenter of recent mass protests. He has vowed to be the voice of the people, he has promised to be their hands and their unbiased and unprejudiced representative.
I’m sure that Mohamed Morsi is well aware of the fact that the people of Egypt and the rest of the world will be watching his every move. All over the world, Egyptians young and old are looking to him to deliver on the promises he has so eloquently been making. His mandate is of mammoth proportions. Not only does he have to form a government but he must also find resolutions to a variety of burning issues that Egypt is yet to deal with.
So many questions arise. Will he accept restrictions on his power? Will he be the voice of the people who have elected him to office? Will he be the force that shakes the pillars of the state and catapults the country out of its present disarray? Will Egypt become the Islamized state that the Muslim Brotherhood had once envisioned? The questions remain unanswered, there are still lingering voices of skepticism and the future is still quite uncertain. Only time will tell.
There is no doubt that these are historic times for Egypt. Years from now little children will open their history books to read about the changes that swept through this desert land. The people have proved that they can move mountains. They have shown what collective will and fortitude can accomplish. And just as quickly as this breath of fresh air has brought relief to her millions, uncalled for military interference or another incompetent leader can lead to prolonged periods of civil war and unrest in Egypt.
Morsi’s free election is no doubt a monumental and significant milestone for the modern-day Pharaoh but his task is not an easy one. Egyptians may have successfully put years of persecution and unrest behind them, but it’s the future they need to cultivate carefully. Their fight for freedom is not over yet. In this confused political climate of our world, anything is possible…and that’s not necessarily a good thing.