Marwan Bishara envisions another face-to-face session between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his old boss, the imprisoned former president.
Sisi: Here I am as promised.
Morsi: You never deliver on your promises unless there’s something in it for you. Besides it’s Thursday, you said you were coming on Wednesday.
Sisi: Here we go again! Is that how you thank me for coming? I am the president.
Morsi: You want me to thank you, “Mr. President”? Me, of all people? Really! Surreal.
Sisi: Why don’t you just accept the reality and move on. Egypt needs to move forward. This is the only truth that matters.
Morsi: You speak truths! You lie like you breathe. You’ve been lying since I appointed you. You lie even when you don’t need to. Like now, for example.
Sisi: You’ve been practicing, haven’t you? Preparing for my visit. Listen, I need not lie to you or to anyone. You, on the other hand, you lied from the start. You vowed not to nominate a Muslim Brotherhood member for the presidency, but you reneged and cheated those who trusted you to be their partners. You said you would be inclusive, but you ruled exclusively. We didn’t want partners; you wanted to monopolise power.
Morsi: Unlike you, we didn’t crackdown on peaceful protesters, we didn’t kill thousands and didn’t arrest tens of thousands in the name of stability. We didn’t abuse people, we didn’t torture, and we certainly didn’t pass thousands of death penalties. None of it.
Sisi: We’ve done what we must to stabilise the country. I wasn’t going to allow you to turn Egypt into Iran. Thanks to us, Egypt was saved from becoming Syria, Yemen or Libya. And people will always thank me for it.
Morsi: But we could’ve been like Tunisia or Turkey or better. You first ruled like a general and for the last year, you’ve ruled through presidential decrees. You wouldn’t even allow for parliamentary elections to allow for a minimum balance of power. We embraced the people’s will; you confiscated it.
Sisi: We aren’t going to rush; we aren’t reckless. You were too hungry, too ambitious and incredibly hypocritical. We know what Egyptians need, better than they do. We’re taking our time. Everything and everyone waits their turn. Time for suppression and time for election; time to settle down and time to settle scores.
Morsi: We weren’t reckless! We didn’t steal elections, kill thousands and confiscate liberties. We didn’t make promises knowing all too well we weren’t going to fulfill, as you do every day.
Sisi: We don’t promise what we can’t deliver. But we need to give people hope. It can’t be all doom and gloom. Tahya Masr.
Morsi: You’ve been making promises right left and centre. One day it’s a million residential units, the other, it’s a new administrative capital, then it’s a highway network, and so on and so forth…
Sisi: Everything takes time, these are decades’ long project, no rush. But happen, they will.
Morsi: Wishful thinking. People are suffering more than ever before. Prices are going up, even at the pump when oil prices are falling. Unemployment is high, poverty skyrocketing. Government basic subsidies are down while the budget deficit is rising… 130 billion pounds in a year.
Sisi: Where do you get access to such information in prison? And why, when you have such privileged access, do you resort to the same disinformation disseminated by your evil group? Why don’t you just say thank you and die?
Morsi: Thanks are for God, no matter what. The bad news doesn’t come from the Brotherhood; international financial institutions as well as your own government have been reporting it. Trade deficit has risen several fold in your first year, and national debt has multiplied, while foreign Investment has decreased.
Sisi: These are lies or at best, half-truths. We’ve already attracted tens of billions of dollars in assistance and investments. The whole world came to Sharm el-Sheikh to help rebuild Egypt, including the Americans and the Europeans. The Middle class has started to feel the difference just as our businessmen and generals are ecstatic. Tahya Masr.
The US and terrorism
Morsi: You can’t fool an Egyptian so easily. Even the business community is slowly turning away from you. You won’t be able to bluff the Americans and the Europeans for long. I am sure you heard an earful in the US and Germany.
Sisi: The Americans will do what the Saudis and we tell them to do. They need us. More than we need them.
Morsi: Hardly. Obama’s report to Congress on Egypt this week is damning; it exposed your vicious and inhumane practices. The Americans know all too well that you’re a setback for Egypt and for Egyptian-American relations.
Sisi: At any rate, since when are you Islamists so in love with the Americans anyway? How is it that you suddenly care for what the “great Satan” thinks? Is it because they supported your rise to power?
Morsi: You’re confusing us with al-Qaeda and Iran. We hoped for relations based on mutual interest and mutual respect. No more.
Sisi: Naive. For your information, the Obama administration has released $1.5 billion in military and other aid, and they’ve joined our efforts at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit to rebuild Egypt. They know that we know that their Middle East strategy depends somewhat on us.
Morsi: They’re coordinating the security issues with you because of your collaboration with Israel and because the Israelis and the Emiratis are lobbying for you in Washington. You’ve betrayed Egypt and you betrayed Palestine.
Sisi: You are such hypocrites. You’ve honoured the Camp David deal with Israel and you cooperated with the Americans and the Saudis no less. You’re in denial over how pragmatic and opportunistic you’ve been.
Morsi: You’re distorting the facts. We only had Egypt’s interest in mind as well as the interests of our Arab and Muslim brethren. We helped our brothers in Gaza because it’s our moral and national duty.
Extremism and betrayal
Sisi: You betrayed your country when you collaborated secretly with Hamas; you were complicit with the World’s Muslim Brotherhood, divulging state secrets to foreigners. You’re the engine of extremism and terrorism in the region. Egyptians know it and the Americans know it.
Morsi: Have you no conscience? Have you no decency? Gaza is dying and you’re responsible for its misery and suffering; even more than Israel. Why don’t you just lift the siege?
Sisi: Egypt’s security comes first.
Morsi: You’ve justified your counter-revolution on the basis of counter-terrorism in order to charm the Americans, and so you manufactured internal and external enemies and threats. You’re either lying or you actually believe your own lies.
Sisi: I served my country for decades and I was at the helm of our military intelligence. I know about the threats facing Egypt and I take them seriously.
Morsi: You are the main threat to Egypt. You are the reason for our insecurity and for our decline. You blame us for instability and extremism, when in reality you’re its manufacturer. We are the last safety valve to block and contain the real extremists like al-Qaeda, ISIL and their Egyptian followers.
Sisi: You’re the source of all evil. It’s the Brotherhood that gave birth and rise to all these extremists. You’re the one who indoctrinated the youth, those who eventually left you to commit the horrors we’re witnessing today. Are you happy to see terrorism in Luxor and in Sinai this week? Is this the Egypt you want?
Morsi: Your attempts to demonise us as terrorists have failed. The Saudis are backtracking and so are the Americans. Look at how the US Congress received our delegation this week. So are the Europeans.
Sisi: That’s for public consumption only. They want to put some pressure on us, but we’ve got other options. I’ve met with Russian President Vladimir Putin four times in just over a year. Smart man. Russia and China are strong and are hoping to forge stronger relations with Egypt. I’ve got alternatives.
Morsi: You belong to that same club of authoritarian leaders. But Egypt is not China or Russia, and you are no Putin. You’re a shrimpy little man who got lucky and now behaves like a bloodthirsty shark. You’ve lost your mind.
Sisi: And you’re about to lose you life. And still, you insist on wasting my time with more of same crass statements and accusations. But now, I need to go. I guess your surprise has to wait until the next time we meet. Soon, inshallah. Tahya Masr.
Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.