To show results in politics, one year can seem short, but many people in Egypt have felt the post-Arab Spring time stretch like eternity, shattering illusions: they haven’t seen things improve.
Yet President Mursi took office 12 months ago with lots of support and hope. Most of that is gone. Egyptians know he inherited big problems to solve; what they hold against him is his failure to build a team with the competence to keep the promises he made.
Activist Ahmed Maher, Head of April 6 Youth Movement, said: “Of course the first president after a revolution will struggle; that’s normal. No one denies it’s a heavy load. But they said: ‘We have the solution. We have the Renaissance Party, Ennahda, and we have solutions for all of Egypt’s problems. So show us. “
The Egyptian activist group established in 2008 to press for the now ousted Mubarak regime to quit, the April 6 Youth Movement today is rallied against Mursi. With others, it supports the Tamarod or “Rebel” campaign in Egypt petitioning for this government to go.
The Muslim Brotherhood that proposed Mursi as first post-revolution president has curtailed some basic freedoms for Egyptians, and people have seen their living standards deteriorate still further, attributing this to Mursi. They can wait five hours queuing for petrol.
One woman waiting offered her opinion: “Mursi should bow out saying : “I couldn’t do anything for this country,” and leave it to someone who can do something.”
The price of bread – always a problem in Egypt – along with vegetables – has gone up and up. Unemployment is rising, and the plunging value of the Egyptian pound currency and galloping inflation hurting everyone.
“Something that cost one pound before today costs four or five – and I make around 500 pounds a month.”
The national treasury is bare. Investment has dried up. And the flag is also flying at half mast for one of the thrusting motors of the Egyptian economy until the revolution. Tourism revenues have plunged. This sector used to provide one in every eight jobs, pulling in a quarter of the country’s earnings, weighing 12 percent of GDP before the revolution. That was slashed by two thirds by 2011.
Beaches and hotels have been emptied by foreign tourists’ fears for their safety in Egypt under an Islamist government.