Reconciliation, compromise, and liberties are dirty words in Egypt’s politics.
Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara envisions a face-to-face session between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his former boss, the imprisoned Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi: What the hell are you doing here?
Sisi: I came to see you my old friend.
Morsi: Yeah, right! Still wearing that idiotic smug on your face.
Sisi: Tahya Masr (Long live Egypt)… Actually, there’s a reason for my visit.
Morsi: Whatever it is, you should know I make no deals with criminals and certainly won’t make political deals when I and 40,000 like me are in jail.
Sisi: Oh no, no deal. Only cheer – Tahya Masr.
Morsi: So you want to boast. I realise it’s been a year since…
Sisi: Since I was elected president by double your percentage when elected… Well, yes, that did cross my mind.
Morsi: Since another nightmare has started. How dare you compare our elections. You stole yours, I won mine. You’re in the 90-plus percentage of votes for dictators who covet public will. I am a 50-plus majority president. You’re like Bashar al-Assad; I am like Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sisi: I was elected legitimately, and I didn’t mess it all up as you did. Arrogant SOD. (SOB is not used in Egypt, rather “Son of the dirty-one”.)
Morsi: Legitimately?! Don’t use big words you don’t understand. You’ve orchestrated a military coup and rode it to the top.
Sisi: You also came on the back of a coup d’etat! It was we in the military that removed Mubarak, and don’t you forget it! And not because of pressure, but because we were sick and tired of his succession plans for Gamal [Mubarak].
Morsi: You had no choice, the street was boiling.
Sisi: You don’t really think the kids in Tahrir change regimes, do you? You’re not that naive, are you! Not after all that happened to you?
Morsi: It’s the revolution – the peoples’ revolution that changed the regime and changed Egypt forever. The people will never forget or forgive what you’ve done.
Sisi: No, they won’t; they will thank me for it. Tahya Masr.
Morsi: Your counter-revolution will prove no more than a short setback in our history. Nothing can beat an idea whose time has come.
Sisi: Counter-revolution! That’s pretty pathetic coming from the Muslim Brotherhood. The June 2013 upheaval against your presidency was far greater than your January 2011 demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi: That’s your recollection. Really. Either you’re lying or you believe your own lies.
Sisi: They begged me to run for president after I saved the country from you and your evil organisation. You revealed your true colours; you’re no Brotherhood, you’re evil-hood.
Morsi: You eliminated the chances for anyone else to run, you couldn’t even compete with your former boss, Sami Anan. Your attack dogs delegitimised and even demonised everyone.
Sisi: Whatever makes you sleep better at night … in this cell… (chuckle)
Morsi: This tiny cell honours me; you dishonour the presidential palace. If you were a man you would come in here, why talk to me from behind bars. Scoundrel. Don’t worry, I won’t rip your eyes out… (chuckle)
Sisi: Oh, so now you’re challenging me for a fight. Really. I just can’t stand the odour of your hypocrisy and humiliation, Mr Revolutionary.
Morsi: I certainly am, a revolutionary. But what are you? An empty man; a conniving little man.
Sisi: I shall ignore that. You’re a desperate man who’s about to die.
Morsi: Happy to die for my ideals. Are you happy living without any?
Sisi: Since when have you Islamists stood for revolutions? Isn’t Islam against revolution; aren’t you for slow incremental Da’wa and reform? Why don’t you admit that you got hyper-excited and acted immaturely. You hurried in the footsteps of the agitated youth.
Morsi: We couldn’t stand in the righteous path of justice. We couldn’t stand idle while our people, our sons and daughters were lynched by your people in the military and security.
Sisi: The military did us all a favour, a great favour. They saved Egypt from you and Mubarak before you. Do you really think Egyptians want a repeat of Iran on the Nile?
Morsi: It’s the people’s revolution and it’s a just revolution. The people spoke. And we won fair and square. You, on the other hand, you manipulated the system, created food and energy shortages, and you created insecurity and chaos, and you incited people in order to cheat your way to power.
Sisi: That wasn’t a revolution. There was neither leadership nor ideology; only agitation and empty slogans about freedom and justice.
Morsi: These were not empty words; they were the true representation of peoples’ aspirations. Why should our people live in fear and misery?
Sisi: It’s chaos and disorder. Have you forgotten our long held Arab/Islamic wisdom: “Better one hundred years of tyranny than one day of chaos.” You’re responsible for the chaos, confusion and unreasonable expectations.
Morsi: Egyptians prefer our tolerant Islamic ways to your fascist tactics.
Sisi: Egyptians are a diverse and open people; they rejected your chaos and then rejected your Islamic tyranny. What tolerance!?
Morsi: It’s amazing how you distort the facts while preserving that idiotic smile of yours. We’ve won the vote – the parliamentary vote, the constitutional vote, and the presidential vote. And you call that tyranny?
Sisi: Here we go again! You live in la la land. What selective memory! People turned on you and your brand of authoritarian Islamism. Thanks to you – and you only – the revolution failed and I am president today. I came to thank you all. Tahya Masr.
Morsi: No, it’s through your illegitimate and bloody coup that you became president. Why can’t you admit that, at least to me!
Sisi: Look, seriously, no one would have thought of electing a president from the military if it weren’t for your blindness, stubbornness and overreach.
Morsi: We admit with humility that we made mistakes and that we could have done better on a number of fronts. But all of that could have been reversed through the ballot box. Look at Turkey. Turks said no to Erdogan’s wish for absolute majority, without a single shot being fired.
Sisi: Your arrogant friend Erdogan did not try to swallow the entire country after one brief electoral victory as you did. This was his third or fourth [election]. You’ve not only made mistakes, you’ve committed political suicide.
Morsi: I decreed extra emergency powers because the revolution was under threat. I wanted to protect the revolution from you people. It was supposed to be temporary until we passed the tough times. I don’t know why I am explaining this to you, Mr Coup d’Etat.
Sisi: You didn’t seek to defend the revolution; you wanted to preserve your power at any price. And you ended up destroying both the revolution and the Brotherhood.
Morsi: You and your military gang have long predicted our demise, but we always rebounded despite the killings, the arrests and the torture.
Sisi: The joke on the street is that Egyptian presidents have all tried – Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak – they’ve all tried to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood, but only Morsi succeeded (chuckle). Tahya Masr.
Morsi: I and my fellow Brothers succeeded where all others failed. I became the first democratically elected president of Egypt.
Sisi: Nonsense. You simply turned on your partners that made it possible for you to grab power – just as Ayatollah Khomeini did in 1979.
Morsi: We are nothing like Khomeini. We embraced the democratic process.
Sisi: You were better organised and more experienced than the others and took advantage of that in the ballot box. You left them behind.
Morsi: We were partners. And remain so.
Sisi: You abandoned them from the beginning. You looked the other way when we killed so many of them at the end of 2011. Remember the Mohammad Mahmoud street killings, snipers shooting protesters in the eyes.
Morsi: So you admit all of that…
Sisi: We did what we had to do. We’re no hypocrites like you. You, on the other hand, you didn’t have the will or the political mindset to cooperate and coordinate with your partners. That’s why you ended up alone.
Morsi: We were open and tolerant, we extended a hand to the opposition and to the military.
Sisi: Is that why they all turned against you?
Morsi: You’re repeating your own propaganda. We are struggling together on the streets of Egypt, as we speak.
Sisi: That’s all fascinating, and I would love to stay and chat some more with you; truly entertaining. But I have presidential duties to attend to. I am sure you also have plenty to do… (chuckle)Tahya Masr.
Morsi: You’re running away because you have no arguments and no answers.
Sisi: Running away! I tell you what; I’ll come back on Wednesday to finish our conversation. And I’ll have a surprise for you.
Morsi: Go with God’s curse upon you…
Sisi: 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.