- By Marya HannunMarya Hannun is a Ph.D. student in Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgetown University. Follow her on Twitter at: @mrhannun.
People have a tendency to get carried away when hyping a new leader — particularly one who represents significant change. Still, reports on Tuesday that the Muslim Brotherhood will be publishing a book on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy’s achievements — nine months into his first term — can’t help but feel a bit premature, particularly considering the political and economic turmoil that continue to grip the country.
The 124-page book, literally titled, "Months of achievements…President Morsy builds Egypt anew," will be divided into five chapters chronicling the new president’s successes, including freeing the country from military rule, endorsing the constitution, and supporting Gaza’s uprising against Israel.
Author Reda al-Masry, whom the Arabic-language version of Egypt Independent identifies as an Egyptian "educational expert," explained his decision to write the book to the paper, noting that he feels the Egyptian press has given Morsy an unfair hearing (ironically, he praises Western media for giving Morsy due respect as a leader). Masry then goes on to cite an impressive list of "firsts" that Morsy has achieved. These include:
- First civilian president
- First elected president
- First bearded president
- First president to "sue his enemies"
- First president "whose convoy does not paralyse traffic"
- First president "whose son gets less than 90 percent in Thanaweya Amma [high school exams]"
The last two firsts are nods to the corruption and nepotism that characterized the Mubarak years. But while, in some ways, Morsy has been a breath of fresh air, opposition members accuse the president and his administration of trying to monopolize power and control public discourse. In this light, the book seems more propoganda than political chronicle. In the Brotherhood’s defense, recent reports that the Egyptian Ministry of Culture was planning to pay for printing the book and disseminating free copies to the public have been denied. Instead, the chronicle of the young presidency’s accomplishments will be distributed to young Brotherhood members.