My friend, Ola Shahba, a young activist, was beaten on Wednesday by Islamist militias attacking a peaceful sit-in in front of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's presidential palace. Reports say hundreds have been injured in these clashes, and six people have died. Last Tuesday, sixty year old Fatehy Gharib, who could have been my uncle, decided to join a march from the Cairo neighborhood of Shobra to Tahrir to join the thousands of protesters demonstrating against the dictatorial moves made by Morsy. He was met with excessive tear gas, fainted, and died at a nearby hospital.
He could have been my cousin. Last Monday, hundreds of Egyptians mourned the killing of 16-year-old activist Gaber Salah (known as "Jika" among his friends), also during a demonstration against the ruling regime. He was shot 7 times for practicing his right to free speech and free association.
Millions of Egyptians struggled to oust the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak - only to face a new dictatorship by President Mohamed Morsy--backed by US tax dollars. Morsy has used the political capital he gained from brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza to steal more freedoms away from Egyptians at home.
Millions are now out on the streets to rid Egypt of corrupt dictatorship once and for all. Morsy has given himself control over all three branches of government, rushed through the drafting of a constitution, while trying to stifle dissent by arresting journalists and anyone who speaks against him. Meanwhile, Egypt's police are as brutal as usual, killing 34 and torturing 88 in Morsy's first 100 days of office, and Egypt's economy continues its downward spiral - while the US Obama administration turns a blind eye.
Egyptians worked hard and spilled blood to achieve a true democracy. Use my tax dollars to support a real transition to democracy, not a return to dictatorship. I appreciate Morsy's role in the Israel/Gaza ceasefire, but it cannot be used at the expense of over 80 million Egyptian people.
Stand behind your own principles of democracy and free expression. Do not use my tax dollars to fund violence against peaceful protesters. Do not turn a blind eye on this blow to democracy in Egypt and support true democracy building that includes ALL of Egypt’s constituencies.