Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi is destroying the country with a toxic mix of ideology and incompetence, and the city of Luxor is now in open revolt after he appointed a terrorist as the governor.
MEDINAT HABU, Egypt — Muhammed Hassan vividly remembers the November day in 1997 when six Gama’a Islamiyya gunmen charged a 3,400-year-old mortuary temple in Luxor.
“My cousin was a guard and was sitting in the police kiosk, and they took their guns out of their jackets and killed him,” he recounts.
A temple custodian, Hassan hid as the Islamists slaughtered 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians. He crept out 45 minutes later to find “a bloodbath … puddles of blood everywhere.”
Helping to remove the bodies, he saw “one woman holding her child … when they died, they were stuck together. That was the most difficult thing for me to see.”
In Luxor, protests erupted last week when Morsy named Adel Al Khayat, a leading Gama’a Islamiyya figure, as the local governor; Al Khayat withdrew when residents barred his office door and burned tires in the street.
Many here resented his connection to the group behind the 1997 massacre. Many believe his selection reflected an Islamist assault on tourism, near collapse since Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
In the past, Hassan says, 20,000 tourists visited Luxor daily. “Now we are lucky to get 400, 500.” Only five of the normal 320 tourist cruise ships sail the Nile, according to guides.
Hassan calls out to a fellow guide, Adel Asad, to ask his opinion about the state of things. “Luxor is dead,” Asad yells back, and the ousted governor “is an idiot, like the president.”
That’s a sentiment heard often here.
Within living memory, Egyptians have tried monarchy, Arab Nationalism, socialism, and military dictatorship. None of those government models worked, so now they’re trying Islamism.
It won’t work either. It will fail more spectacularly than even the others.
Egyptians might eventually see the virtues in political liberalism—a small minority of Egyptians already do—but it won’t likely become the dominant philosophy until it’s pushed by people who haven’t been born yet.