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Muslim Brotherhood Rep: Democracy Only Works Through Ballot Box


Professor Abdul Mawgoud Dardery is the foreign affairs spokesman of President Morsi's party, the Freedom and Justice Party. It's aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, which he is a member. And he joins us now, Dr. Dardery does, from Luxor, Egypt. Welcome to the program once again. And give us your reaction to what's happened today in Egypt.

ABDUL MAWGOUD RAGEH DARDERY: Well, it is very tragic day in Egypt, Robert. It is not acceptable. It is illegitimate. We will never recognize the coup d'etat. Egyptians, they are going now immediately to the streets to protest this - not today or tomorrow. They're going to continue protesting against legitimacy. Military means police state, it means corruption, it means monopoly, and that will never be accepted in Egypt. We are willing to declare, very clearly, give me liberty or give me death.

SIEGEL: But to say give me liberty or give me death, that was a battle cry of the American Revolution. Are we talking about violence in the streets now?

DARDERY: No, no. We're going to do it peacefully. We're going to march in the street. The only way for democracy to work is through the ballot box. If the military wanted to intervene, it could have called for the parliamentary elections. But doing this coup d'etat is shameful. We trusted the military, especially the leadership. But now they betrayed the will of the Egyptian people. There is nothing now to rebuild on the will of the Egyptian people, and we will rebuild on the will of the Egyptian people. And we'll move to the street.

SIEGEL: Dr. Dardery, as you know, critics of President Morsi say that, yes, while he was the only democratically-elected president of Egypt, he then failed to reach out to other groups. He failed to bring minorities, to give a sense that he was president of all Egyptians. And therefore, he lost the support of the people, those millions who turned out on June 30th were a symbol of that. What do you say to that?

DARDERY: Yeah, I know, but what happened today is bringing back Mubarak's regime and power. There is now a terrible alliance between theocracy and the military. It is almost a Middle Age system. That is not the way Egypt is going to go. That is not what Egyptians deserve. We deserve a better system than that. We deserve a democracy. What I say to this, we all make mistakes. To sin is human. And President Obama does mistakes but we don't kick him out of office. We have a contract with him for four years, he finishes them - we either bring him back or not. That is the democratic way. That could have saved us a lot of trouble. Now, Robert, it is a joke. There is no rule of law.

SIEGEL: Well, there are, though, armored personnel carriers out in the streets of Cairo.

DARDERY: Yeah, but might is not right. President Morsi won't give and will be the commander-in-chief. And he called upon the Egyptian people and Egyptian (unintelligible). It's not likely. Because the head of the military does not listen to the commander of the chief. How would he expect other officers or soldiers would listen to help?

SIEGEL: You're saying that he, President Morsi, as president was the commander-in-chief and the officers should have obeyed him.

DARDERY: They disobeyed the order of the commander-in-chief, so how would they demand others to listen to the order? (unintelligible) it will be tragic (unintelligible).

SIEGEL: For the past couple of years, Egypt has been moving fitfully from its own glorious revolution, the Arab Spring, to parliamentary elections that were voided, to a constitution that was written but was protested. What do you do now? Does the Muslim Brotherhood, would you welcome a return to the 1980s when Islamists were an insurgency and they were actually fighting against the government? What does your movement do at this point?

DARDERY: What I can think of now is we are protesting this, we're not recognizing it, and we will do this peacefully. But whether other people will react differently is a different story, but our stand is this is not acceptable, it is illegitimate. I will never recognize it. Never.

SIEGEL: How does Egypt go from where it is today to some normal condition to which tourists would return, in which people would go to work and elected legislature would pass laws? What can actually happen?

DARDERY: Oh, it is very difficult now to think of tourism or normality because things are abnormal now. You now, Robert, when your human rights are violated, completely violated, it hurts you. It hurts you when have a dream of people living in a free society where people can meet freely, speak freely, and all of a sudden there is this fear of dictatorship. It hurts a lot. And what we would like to change this energy into - this anger into a positive energy. And most of the streets - and we will tell everyone that this illegitimate, it will never be recognized.

SIEGEL: Well, Professor Dardery, we'll be talking to you in the days to come in that case. Thank you very much for being

DARDERY: Thank you for having me. And I am moving now personally to the streets.

SIEGEL: OK. That's Abdul Mawgoud Dardery speaking to us from Luxor, Egypt. He's the foreign affairs spokesman for the ousted President Mohamed Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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