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Mohamed Morsi’s rendition to Guantanamo

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This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Think about this. Egypt’s new military government is now investigating how former President Morsi escaped from prison during the last days of the Mubarak regime.  So says the New York Times. Talk about political doublespeak.

I wonder if Morsi could escape from Guantanamo.  That would be quite a feat, first to get him there, then to have him escape.  If you think this scenario is farfetched, read on.

The Times sums up Morsi’s present plight without any hint of irony:  “Egypt’s new rulers gave new credence to a court case against the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday over their escape from prison during the uprising that toppled his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.”

The issue being investigated:  Did Morsi escape his military-backed dictator-ordered political detention illegally?

Since Morsi is again in captivity by the same military that detained him, they can now question him without hindrance and the unwanted glare of public scrutiny.  I hope they read him his Miranda rights.  Egypt’s military government can’t afford Morsi to go free on a legal technicality.

Better if Egypt decides to rendition Morsi into American hands?  Think about it. If renditioned to the U. S., Morsi would be off Egypt’s soil and hopefully, for the past and present military rulers, off the people’s mind.  All military dictatorships prefer ex-Presidents, especially democratically elected ones, gone in one way or another. 

Besides, Morsi hanging around in an Egyptian jail means another jail break is possible.  Having escaped, what if he was tunneled into Gaza?  A political coup for Hamas.  Of course, then Israel would have to invade Gaza to extract him.  What a ceremony it would be as Israel, having extracted him from Gaza, turns Morsi back over to Egyptian authorities on his way to America’s prison hideaway – Guantanamo.

If Morsi broke the military bonds that held him in Guantanamo he might get the reputation of having Super Muslim powers.  He might be seen as a modern day Houdini. True, it’s probably best to leave Houdini’s Jewish background and name, Erik Weisz, and his father’s occupation, Rabbi, unspoken for now.  Especially since reports are that there’s scapegoating anti-Christian violence in parts of Egypt. Then there are the videos that surfaced last year that show Morsi cranking out an anti-Semitic diatribe for his political base. 

I grant you that this isn’t the time to have either Morsi or Egyptian Christians identified with Jews. Still, I think the Houdini comparison might have some traction.  After all, it’s quite a journey to go from leadership in a group with millions of followers like the Muslim Brotherhood to jail, then become President in a free and fair nationwide election, only to be deposed and jailed again with charges pending of an illegal jailbreak after being arrested by the military as they were deposing their own dictator. Mind boggling, don’t you think?

Anyway, it looks like Egypt’s jails might be overflowing soon.  If the downward spiral continues apace, Egypt could be held up in the U. S. as violators of our sacrosanct law that coups forfeit American aid.  That is, if Congress skips over American funding for groups that encouraged undermining the Mubarak and Morsi governments in the name of democracy.

At least, there should be credit given for American consistency.  America supports Egypt’s military, its coup, martial law and democratic reform, then its reverse coup, martial law and democratic reform. 

Is it any wonder that Egyptian – non-Jewish! – Super Muslim Houdini’s appear now and then?

Guantanamo seems the logical place for Morsi to end up.  Believe me, weirder things are happing in Egypt right now.

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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3 Responses

  1. Taxi
    July 12, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Morsi won the election by 51% – because the brotherhood were already organized: having existed as an underground group since the 50’s, unlike the fresh-faced Egyptian youth, whose sudden uprising two years ago left for little time to lobby and mass-organize. It was clear from Morsi’s ‘lite victory’ and from his zealot past that he would be hurtling full-force right smack into wall after wall, sooner than later. No surprises there. The last hurtle was when he stupidly-stupidly-stupidly joined a street protest and called for a “jihad against Syria”. The army considered this wanton call a red-line for their national security, distancing themselves completely and immediately from Morsi’s sectarianism: “The Egyptian army does not fight any of its brothers”, they publicly declared.

    Morsi’s been gone a week – he’s already history. And while writers like Marc Ellis are writing more nonsense about the has-been Morsi, the Egyptian people are busy talking about the price of bread during Iftar and whom they’d be voting for in the new elections.

  2. Justpassingby
    July 12, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Another good article by you on Egypt Marc!

  3. just
    July 12, 2013, 2:37 pm

    I totally get it, Marc. Thank you for your continued dedication to truth and thought.

    I fear for the future of the Egyptian people.

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