Guardian editorial takes the side of Morsi (or Mubarak?)


To get an idea of just how outrageous a recent Guardian editorial (on Dec. 7) defending President Morsi and criticizing the liberal opposition truly was, here are two tweets by commentators with otherwise unimpeachable Guardian Left credentials:

Here’s Guardian Cairo correspondent Jack Shenker.

Here’s ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi:

Here are a few excerpts of the Guardian editorial in question:

[The crisis in Egypt] is not about the proposed constitution,

[The opposition is engaged in] a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, and to prevent a referendum and fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which Islamists stand a good chance of winning. Morsi, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held

So, the Guardian, when faced with a choice between a Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to true democracy and individual freedoms – a political predisposition clearly on display in Morsi’s recent decision to assume dictatorial powers - and a political opposition which is at least marginally progressive, chose the reactionary Islamists.

The following post by a Lebanese writer, who blogs at Karl reMarks, is titled The Guardian’s Editorial on Egypt Re-Imagined‘, and is based on the same Dec. 7 Guardian editorial re-imagined as if it were written in January 2011, with minor changes like replacing Morsi with Mubarak.

As the crisis in Egypt develops, it is becoming increasingly clear what it is not about. It is not about the elections, or the economic crisis, or Egypt’s relationship with Israel. Nor is it about the arrangements for a successor to the president. Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed for himself – for a mere thirty years, and which will lapse the moment the Egyptian people stop making a fuss.

Urging the opposition to shun dialogue, Mohamed ElBaradei said that Mubarak had lost his legitimacy. So the target of the opposition is not the constitution, or the emergency law, but Mubarak himself. What follows is a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, with 88.6% of the vote, and to prevent fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which the ruling NDP stand a good chance of winning. Mubarak, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

In weighing who occupies the moral high ground, let us start with what happened on Wednesday night. That is when the crisis, sparked by yet another Mubarak decree when he was at the height of his domestic popularity over the role he played in stopping the yet another Israeli assault on Gaza, turned violent. The NDP party sanctioned a violent assault on a peaceful encampment of opposition supporters in Tahrir Square. But lethal force came later, and the NDP was its principle victims. NDP offices were attacked up and down the country, while no other party offices were touched. This does not fit the opposition’s narrative to be the victims of state violence. Both sides are victims of violence and the real perpetrators are their common enemy.

Mubarak undoubtedly made grave mistakes. In pre-empting decisions by the courts to derail his reforms, his decrees were cast too wide. His laws have many faults, although none are set in stone. The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held.

The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible. 

You don’t need to agree with our critique of the paper’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to acknowledge that the ‘Guardian Left’ ideology in many ways resembles the reactionary right more than anything truly progressive?

25 comments on “Guardian editorial takes the side of Morsi (or Mubarak?)

  1. The Guardian has betrayed the secular liberals of Egypt. They have given their support to an Islamofascist movement because of its hostility to Israel. The shame will haunt the Guardian for years.

    • Shouldn’t be news. The Guardian has for many years put hate of the USA, (And by association, Israel too), in front of all other causes that were thought of as ‘progressive left’. That includes women’s lib, gay liberation and anything else that may annoy the hate US Muslim extremists.

  2. Der Guardian – the most willing forum for every murderous dictatorial regime and person in Europe can’t restrain its collective longing for a good old Soviet-style dictatorship and doesn’t like democracy. The pope is catholic.

  3. This is a knee-jerk reaction to one of the first times the Guardian has gotten things right. Morsi represents the vast majority of the Egyptian people and the opposition does not. Given his background, he has done a very commendable job. I salute the Guardian for greater objectivity then we have come to expect for them. I which I could say the same for the article above. If the pro-Israel camp can start thinking freshly and applaud the Guardian for being putting their prejudices aside about Egypt, perhaps one day we can hope that the Guardian will get things right about Israel as well.

    • Even a parrot could achieve a higher more factual standard of journalism than Al-Guardian has achieved over the last two decades and probably longer

  4. Editorial:
    Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, assumed for himself – which will lapse the moment the referendum is held whatever the result.

    Of course said powers would lapse. Because Morsi is an internationally respected statesman with a decades-long track record of reliability. Erm … right?

  5. “The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible.”

    Of course they are. They’re a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West, Islamist (and totalitarian) organization. What did you expect they’d do?

      • Nat, I really hate to break this to you, but in the real world, news organizations do not sue people for complaining about them on websites. Not even bloggers, much less commenters on blogs.

        If you think that they would, you are extremely naive, and if you think that you can get someone else to believe it and frighten or control them with that, you are extremely petty.

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