How Does Morsi Sleep?

Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany imagines a conversation between President Mohammed Morsi and his martyrs' ghosts as the June 30 demonstrations approach.

al-monitor Policemen stand guard near a poster put up by supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi outside the constitutional court as they stage a sit-in, in Cairo, Dec. 23, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah.

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Jun 20, 2013

The court's plan was developed by the head of the republican guard in conjunction with senior officers in the national security apparatus. … Security forces were heavily mobilized in front of the presidential palace to suggest President Mohammed Morsi was present. Meanwhile, the number of guards outside the president's home in the Sharqia Governorate was doubled, leading people to believe that the president's family was there. At the same time, the president and his family were being escorted to a two-story villa on the north coast. 

This villa was chosen because it was in a safe and secluded place, near the El Alamein Airport. Thus, the president could leave the country on board the presidential plane at any moment if the events forced him to. The entire first floor was reserved for the president's wife and children, while he took residence in the upper wing. The president was exhausted as he entered his quarters. He had spent a long day in endless meetings in order to prepare for June 30. The security services had all assured him that millions of Egyptians in all the country's governorates would take to the streets on this day to call for early presidential elections. 

President Morsi took off his clothes and put on his white robe, which he slept in. He then performed ablutions and prayed the evening prayer, before calling the Brotherhood's supreme guide. He spoke to him for nearly an hour. The two reviewed the internal and external situation, and the supreme guide asked him to take certain decisions. The president was afraid he would forget, so he wrote down what the supreme guide said on a piece of paper and carefully placed it next to the bed. Finally, the time came for Morsi to rest, so he stretched out his hand and turned off the light. He then laid down on his right side, as usual. He read some prayers, closed his eyes and slowly began to succumb to sleep.

Som time later — Morsi wasn't sure exactly how long — he heard whispers in the room. He kept his eyes closed and tried to ignore the sound, yet the whispers grew until he was frightened. He extended his hand and turned on the light, and saw a strange scene. He stared for a while, as though in disbelief. Morsi saw a large group of people surrounding him from every side. They were all youth, and had the same expression on their faces, as though they had agreed to do this in advance. With a sly smile and a strong look, they examined Morsi. The president's fear turned to anger, and he stood up and shouted:

"Who are you and how did you enter this place?"

"Lower your voice. You are too weak to yell that way," said a young man in his twenties. He had a slight frame, his hair was combed back and he wore eyeglasses. The youth was standing in front of Morsi and his friends were around him. Morsi looked at them and noticed for the first time that the young man, despite his smile and confident tone, had severe wounds on his face and body. He also noticed that all of those standing around him were injured in some way. All of their foreheads or chests were punctured in multiple places. The holes looked like bullet holes. Yet, despite their severe injuries, all of them smiled and appeared in an astonishing state of satisfaction. Morsi shouted again:

"Dear God, who are you?"

They looked at one another and then the young man spoke, appearing as though he was speaking on behalf of them all:

"We are 100 martyrs you killed, Morsi."

"I did not kill anyone."

"It was you who gave orders to the minister of the interior to kill us."

Morsi was silent for a moment, then said in a strangulated voice:

"I did not order the minister to kill anyone. The country is in a state of chaos and clerics have issued fatwas that permit taking tough procedures to restore security." 

The young man smiled and said:

"Oh Morsi, we know our religion better than you, and it prohibits the killing of innocent people. You have not consulted anyone other than the Brotherhood's supreme guide; you implement his orders. God will hold you accountable for our deaths, the supreme guide will be of no help on Judgement Day."

Morsi tried to speak but the young man pointed at his wounded hand and said:

"We didn't come here to hear your empty words. Everyone here has witnessed your crimes. Do you know me, Morsi?"

Morsi didn't respond, so the young man continued:

"My name is Mohammed Nabil Abdel Aziz al-Gundy. I worked as a tour guide. I participated in the revolution and was arrested last January 25. An officer yelled in my face, saying my mother was a whore, so I responded, 'I won't allow you to say a word about my mother.' The officer was angry and sent me to the central security detention center in Gabal al-Ahmar and told the secret police, 'I don't want to see him again. … I was subjected to such horrible torture that I died. They then threw my body in front of a car. You lied, Morsi, you said I died in a car accident. All of my colleagues here are fellow martyrs, such as Rasti, Jikka, Husseini and others … You killed us all. Our blood is on your hands, Morsi."

"What do you want from me?" shouted Morsi in a quivering voice. The young man replied, keeping his cool:

"Of course you know that your days in power are numbered."

"No one can force me to leave power."

"You resist the people just as Mubarak did, and soon you will meet the same fate."

Morsi shouted:

"I'm not Mubarak. The people love and support me, this is apparent on all occasions."

The martyrs laughed loudly, and Gundy said:

"Where are these people who love you? Nearly 15 million Egyptians signed the Tamarrud campaign withdrawing confidence in you. You mobilize your followers in buses to shout slogans for you in front of cameras. Are you not ashamed of repeating the same silly theatrical stunts that Mubarak used to pull? If the people love you, why are you hiding here?"

"I'm not hiding. These are security procedures, to foil plots hatched by remnants of the former regime." 

"Quit repeating these silly lies. Are you fooling yourself or fooling us? It was you who allied with the remnants of the old regime, most of whom got out of prison with your help. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries were thrown in prison. The people have come to hate you, Morsi, and they hate the Brotherhood. The people have discovered your true nature, how you use religion."

"Have some respect." 

"Had you respected your promises, we would have respected you. Listen up, Morsi. We didn't come here to remove you from power, that's not our role. The people will remove you from power." 

Gundy said:

"We will never leave you alone, Morsi. We are your punishment in this world for the crimes you have committed. You will constantly see our bullet-pierced heads, our chests ripped open, our skin that has been stripped through torture. At all times, you will hear the wails of mothers who lost their sons, and the screams of your victims as they're being tortured in your prisons." 

Morsi placed his hands over his ears and screamed:

"Be silent! Be silent!"

Gundy spoke with emotion:

"We will never be silent, Morsi. We will accompany you for the rest of your life. You will hear the screams of your victims, who your men electrocuted and raped. There will not be a single moment in which you do not hear the screams of the tortured."

"This is crazy. I will never allow this. Do you understand?"

This time, Morsi raised his voice to the point that one of his guards knocked on the door and quickly entered. He pulled out his pistol, looked around the room, and said:

"Is everything ok, sir?"

Morsi looked at him and said:

"There are people who have snuck into the wing … arrest them."

The officer looked around and said in astonishment: 

"Mr. President, there is no one here except for you, your excellency. Full security procedures are in place." 

The martyrs laughed loudly and Gundy said:

"Morsi, part of your punishment is that no one other than you can see us. If you don't shut up, the officer is going to think you're hallucinating."

Morsi forced a smile and said to the officer:

"Thank you. It seems I'm exhausted, I'll try to sleep."

The officer gave Morsi a military salute and left. As soon as he had closed the door the screams of the tortured started again. They were sharp cries that reflected the unbearable pain, followed by cries of distress. Morsi then began to hear voices and broken sentences: "Shame on you" … "I'm begging you, sir, have mercy on me" … "Don't torture me, I'm a human being with dignity" … "I'm begging you, please don't do that to me. I'd rather you kill me." 

The screams continued and the martyrs began circling around Morsi, pointing to their tortured bodies and their brains that had been pierced by bullets … 

Morsi rang the alarm and the officer came quickly, looking worried. Morsi hesitated a bit and then said: 

"Call a doctor immediately."

"Doctor, I need a strong sedative. Please don't leave me until I've fallen asleep." 

"Oh doctor, this pill is not effective. Give me an injection. I need to sleep immediately. I don't want to hear anything." 

The doctor gave him the injection and Morsi shut his eyes, but he still saw the bodies of the martyrs and heard the cries of the tortured. 

How can Morsi sleep?

Democracy is the solution. 

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