Cairo (AsiaNews) - The oath of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in front of "his" people, gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, contains lights and shadows, "positive and negative" elements. Now, we must "wait and see" future developments, especially in the power struggle "behind the scenes" with the army, to understand who will really hold power. Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Greiche Rafiq, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, which outlines several "interesting" elements in yesterday's speech by the new head of state. Morsi was acclaimed by a cheering crowd of tens of thousands of supporters who rushed into the square that was the symbol of revolt against the Mubarak regime and the military's power. He managed to inflame the minds of his supporters with blatant gestures, such as when he unbuttoned his shirt, showing he was not wearing a bullet-proof vests. "Because - said the Muslim leader - I fear only God."
Mohammed Morsi is scheduled to take his oath later this morning before the Constitutional Supreme Court and the state institutions. From this moment he is formally conferred with the powers vested in the office, after the victory at the polls last week the Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Afterwards, the Egyptian president is expected at Cairo University, where he will deliver a speech - yet another in a few days - last stop, an army base for the transfer of power from the military. However, the events of today seem only a corollary to the central event - both political and personal - that took place yesterday: Morsi was sworn in as new head of state before the crowd of supporters, who packed into Tahrir Square. He told them he would not give up "the powers conferred by them" - despite the army moves in recent days to curtail the functions of the President - and foster the ideal of a "civil and nationalist" nation.
Commenting on Mohammed Morsi's words, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church focuses on "lights and shadows", starting from the oath "in Tahrir Square in front of his people, even before the formal act" today in the presence of the institutions of the country . For Fr. Greiche this is a "negative" factor, because he took the oath yesterday in the square in front of his supporters" who are not "the whole population of Egypt." Added to this tension "with the Military Council", exacerbated in the last hours: "To swear in the street, before your people - said the priest - before the institutions", is in some way a promise of "fidelity to the supporters, to your group before the entire nation of Egypt. " Another "downside" is the request for the release or the promise to negotiate the release of Omar Abdul Rahman, considered the instigator of the first attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 1993.
However, the spokesman of the Egyptian Church also points to some "positive" aspects contained in the speech, from the fact that he did not refer to people speaking of "my people", using an Arabic word often abused in the past. Instead, he reiterated what was mentioned in recent days: the purpose of being president "of all" Egyptians, "Muslims and Christians", emphasizing the value of the minority, as well as the promise for the appointment of a Christian and a woman the vice-presidency. Fr. Greiche also cites the passage in which he Morsi recalled the value "of artists and arts", the importance of writers, film and culture. To strengthen the country's economy, he adds, the reference to "tourism" as a key driver of the nation and its growth.
However, a last and perhaps most important element remains, to better understand future developments in Egypt and power relations within it. The spokesman of the Catholic Church points out that "going beyond the sentimental speeches of the president," we must assess the nature of the relationship with the military and what differences may emerge in the near future. "If they continue like this - warns Fr. Greiche - we will soon have problems."
Meanwhile on social networks Egyptians are following comments on the oath scheduled for today and the fact that there will be no live coverage. There are hundreds of Twitter posts, some of them ironic regarding the mood of Army head General Tantawi. What is certain is that lack of coverage of his oath before the institutions today, compared to the wide echo of the speech and oath in the square yesterday, are not good omens for Egypt's new post- military presidency and Morsi. (JL)