A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morsi's Big Speech: Preaching to the Brotherhood Choir

Egypt has been increasingly on edge as the big demonstrations scheduled for June 30 (marking the anniversary of Morsi's Presidency) approach. With opponents demanding new Presidential elections and much speculation about the role of the Arm (which has said it will maintain order), uncertainty about what may happen has led to a run on gasoline stations and food stores.  Today, Morsi delivered a much anticipated speech defending his presidency and responding to his critics.

If anyone expected Morsi to express contrition or make conciliatory gestures, they haven't been watching the man's track record. He spoke for two and a half hours, addressing many issues and promising that he will move more quickly towards Parliamentary elections and improving daily life, but also denouncing or criticizing the courts, media, and other institutions that have opposed or criticized him. He never mentioned the recent killing of Shi‘ites.

I didn't hear the entire speech but from what I did, plus summaries on social media, he does no seem to have suddenly acquired rhetorical charisma.

Clearly, too, he was preaching to the choir. His Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other Islamists will doubtless applaud the speech; the demonstrators planning to turn out Sunday will remain unpersuaded.

The polarization in Egypt seems to be deepening. I'll have much more to say before June 30.

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