Archive | July 4, 2014

Largest Austrian Bank Crashes*

Largest Austrian Bank Crashes*

By Tyler Durden

Update: just as expected, the confidence-preservation brigade is quick on the scene:



Because clearly marking loans to fair value would crush investor confidence. And clearly investors are dumb enough not to realize that it is precisely by hiding what is beneath the surface, that they have zero confidence in the system.

* * *

Ever since 2012, when we first revealed that the biggest problem plaguing Europe’s financial sector is the $2 trillion+ in bad debt on the books of European banks (not our numbers, the IMF’s), it became clear that the only way Europe can avoid a complete financial meltdown coupled with currency disintegration, is if it can constantly keep rolling over said bad debt (obviously the only way to do that would be to create an epic debt bubble leading managers of other people’s money to do idiotic things like buy Spanish debt at 2.75%). This is why not only the BOJ launched its mega QE in 2013, but why Draghi also kicked in with NIRP a month ago: the logic – do anything and everything to reflate the biggest credit bubble possible as otherwise European banks will have no choice but to face up to their trillions in bad loans.

Unfortunately for some banks, especially those which operate in Europe’s supposedly highest-rated country, Austria, sometimes just being able to kick the can is not enough as on occasion a law will change, having the unintended consequence of forcing the bank to admit just how ugly its balance sheet truly is. That’s what happened overnight when Erste Group, Austria’s largest bank by assets, and the third biggest bank in Eastern Europe after UniCredit and Raiffeisen, announced that, oops, its earlier forecast about the amount of bad loans on its books is wrong, and will have to rise by a massive 40%, leading to what will be a record $2.2 billion loss, and triggering writedowns.

Shareholders, not used to being told the truth and instead preferring sweet, little lies, promptly took the stock to the woodshed.

Analysts, whose job it is to predict these things, were shocked:”This is a clearly bad surprise as it comes in addition to the already ‘badly surprising’ warning issued by the group at the beginning of this year,” Natixis Securities SAS analyst Steven Gould said in a note to clients. “These announcements hurt the management’s credibility going forward.”

What was the catalyst for the early recognition of the massive writedown? Bloomberg explains:

The provisions are caused by new rules due to be approved by Parliament in Hungary today, forcing banks to refund “unfair” loan fees, and by the Romanian central bank’s push for faster bad-debt reduction amid the European Central Bank’s bank health check, Erste said. Writedowns on goodwill and deferred tax assets, triggered by the loan-loss provisions, may reach as much as 1 billion euros.

“By taking these measures, we have done everything in our power to avoid one-off effects from 2015 onward,” Chief Executive Officer Andreas Treichl said in the statement. “We are convinced that these measures will also help us pass the asset-quality review and stress test comfortably.”

Hungary contributed to Erste’s loss with a new law forcing it to repay some loan costs to customers. New rules due to be approved by Parliament in Budapest today will require banks to refund certain expenses on as much as 6.5 trillion forint ($28 billion) of loans going back as far as 10 years, according to the draft bill.

Higher bad-debt provisions in Romania, the Black Sea country of 20 million where Erste bought Banca Comerciala Romana SA for 3.75 billion euros in 2005, were caused by the central bank’s pressure on banks to clean up their balance sheets as part of the ECB’s bank health check, Erste said.

Ironically, it is the poor Eastern European sovereigns themselves who are forcing banks to do what is effectively is the job of their regulator, the ECB. Needless to say, the last thing the ECB will do is force banks to clean up their balance sheets: if anything Draghi knows full well that Erste is just the harbinger and Europe is loading to the brim with banks that are in the same situation. Should the ECB actually force banks to either revealt the true state of their bad debt and/or take measures to remedy it, the entire financial system would implode overnight.

Which is why instead we have an annual confidence building farce known as the “stress test”, which in the past has seen Bankia and Dexia pass with flying colors, and this year would have also given Erste an AAA+++ grade as well:

The loss won’t hit Erste’s regulatory capital to the full extent, and the bank’s common equity Tier 1 ratio will reach about 10 percent by the end of the year without raising fresh capital, Erste said. That’s because goodwill, brand value and other intangible assets of its Romanian unit that Erste is writing down aren’t part of the regulatory capital.

Which also goes to show just how ridiculous Europe’s definitions of capital truly are.

As for Erste, it’s ok – the stock has been punished and now it is time for the BTFD algos to lift it right back to where it was, because as has been made very clear in the past 6 years, fundamentals are no longer relevant or matter when making capital allocation decisions. The only thing that does matter is how much more of a moral hazard will the central banks push the system into before one day what happened to Erste today takes place at the global level, and the can containing the entire modern financial system which is broken beyond repair can no longer be kicked down the street.


Related Topics:

Spain to Tax Bank Deposits*

More Banks Preventing Cash Withdrawals*

NWO Banksters Buying out the Smaller Banks*

NWO: Central Banks Imposing Biometric ID in Developing Countries First*

New Wikileaks Confirm Global Corporate Tyranny*

Rothschild’s Summit Fine-tuning Capitalism into Global Economic Tyranny*

Australia has Stolen $360 million from Dipping into Personal Accounts*

Vietnam Sentences Banksters to Death – Effective Immediately!*

Hoarding Gold: Deutsche Bank Takes up Rothschild’s Offer*

A Bilateral Free Trade Agreement with U.S. a Slow Death*

“Is This The Truth About Tax’s”


The Meaning of 4th July to Frederick Douglass*

The Meaning of 4th July to Frederick Douglass*

The context here in 1852 was slavery, but the context today is Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, the Ukraine, Yugoslavia as was, and then as is now the indigenous peoples of what has become the U.S., as well as those non- indigenous Americans who have been socially engineered into a state of destitution as the elite would have it be…

By Frederick Douglass

America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

It is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin!”

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

The character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July!”

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival….

…Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. — Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. ‘Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered rights again

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But to all manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his Prison-house, to thrall
Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive —
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
Be driven.


Related Topics:

“Our Liberation is for the Whole of Humanity”

The Homeless of Kuala Lumpur*

The Homeless of Kuala Lumpur*

By Muzliza Mustafa and Quek Yiing Huey

The homeless, sick and less-fortunate getting their meal at Carl’s Kitchen in Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, July 4, 2014

The tough life in the city has forced many to live on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. While the elderly find it hard to secure work to feed themselves, those who do have jobs but paltry wages find it difficult to keep a roof over their heads, and hence, depend on the kind-hearted groups who have been feeding them regularly. In their dire predicament, yesterday’s announcement by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor that soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur have to move out of the city centre has left them worried.

“I have nowhere to go. I earn my living by collecting discarded cans. Sometimes I get RM6, sometimes RM10. It is not enough to even rent a room, let alone get me meals three times a day,” said one elderly man, giving his name only as Chan.

Chan speaks fluent English. He worked as a van driver transporting tourists in the city for seven years but ended up on the streets last year after he lost his job due to illness.

He said prior to being a van driver, he was a corporate figure and lived a comfortable life with his wife and two kids.

Things spiralled out of control because of his gambling habit. He lost his job, his houses and his family.

His earnings became meagre as he could only get odd jobs and the last was that of s van driver. After illness hit last year, he ended up on the streets.

“It has been 10 years since I saw my children. My wife and I were separated because of my gambling habit. I have nowhere to go. They do not know I am living on the street,” he said.

He said although he is not fit enough to do heavy lifting job, he is not applicable for Welfare Department allowance for the elderly because he has not reached the age of 60.

“I cannot do heavy work because I have a limp. I lost my job as a van driver last year after being hospitalised for two weeks for high blood pressure,” said Chan when met at the feeding programme conducted by Carl’s Kitchen at the Archdiocesan Office for Human Development in Jalan Bukit Nanas today.

He said such feeding programmes were critical for people like him.

Wearing a striped shirt and grey pants, Chan said he tried to look as clean as possible, and made sure that he was dressed properly despite his homeless status.

“You do not want people to jeer,” he said before having his lunch of white rice with fried fish and dhal curry.

Chan usually has his breakfast of fried meehoon or sometimes sweet porridge distributed by a Chinese temple in the city. His dinner depends on which area he will be because there will be groups waiting at certain locations to give out hot meals in the evening.

“With the money I earn from collecting empty can drinks, it is only enough to get me a hot tea and sometimes a few sticks of cigarettes. That’s my only vice,” he said.

On the government’s move to remove them from the streets and put them in homes and national rehabilitation centres so that they can be taught skills, Chan said the intention is noble.

“It is a good thing to do. But I heard lots of bad things about the homes for the elderly and people like me. Yes, we will get proper meals and bed to sleep. But the treatment given is another matter,” he said.

He said the government should not chase people like him away, especially those who worked, or want to work, to make ends meet.

“I work. I just do not earn enough to feed myself. I sleep on the street but now I am sleeping outside a friend’s house to avoid being disturbed by City Hall and police,” he said.

Another senior citizen, only called Tan, said Tengku Adnan’s plan to penalise soup kitchens and round-up the homeless, will not work.

“This will cause more trouble. People will fight over food,” said the 70-year-old Tan.

Tan used to work as a car salesman but no longer works and does not have a permanent place to stay.

As for Zulkifli bin Othman, 34, he came to the city in search of a better job and life at 18.

He worked odd jobs, as a petrol station attendant, kitchen staff in hotels and even doing renovation work for contractors in Puchong.

“However, I got together with the wrong group of people and became addicted to drugs,” Zulkifli said.

He was arrested and later released from jail, but had nowhere to go.

“It took some time for me to get myself out of this slump. And luckily I found this place, but I am still unable to find a job,” said Zulkifli.

He has been frequenting Carl’s Kitchen over the past two years and said that he loved the treatment and hospitality of the volunteers.

It has also given him a sense of security since he does not have a place of belonging.

In response to Tengku Adnan’s statement, he said furiously: “They can’t do that. People may be scared to offer us help for fear of being punished.”

He said this would mean more hardship for the homeless and penniless as they would not even be allowed to receive food or money from people.

When asked about the Ops Qaseh crackdown to round up the homeless and place them in Desa Bina Diri Centres in Sungai Buloh, Zulkifli said that it could be a good plan if it is carried out properly.

“After all, we want to change our lives but the place has to be suitable for our needs. Most of all, we must be willing to go.”


Related Topics:

12-year-old Donates 2 Tonnes of Vegetables to Homeless*

Feeding the Homeless Now Illegal*

Wyoming Sets the Example of Home First for the Homeless*

Occupy Madison’s Eco-village for the Homeless*

The Disappearing Act of the Homeless

Expanding Israel: Destruction of Homes, Schools and Land in Process*

The Sunshine State Ripping off the Homeless*

Homeless People Incarcerated in US Deported to Camps

One Year of Mursi versus One Year of Al-Sisi*

One Year of Mursi versus One Year of Al-Sisi*

By Dr Walaa Ramadan

A year ago, on July 3, 2013, we witnessed the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically-elected civilian president and the first president since the January 25 revolution. The overthrow of Dr Mohamed Morsi came after just one year of his presidential term in a coup led by his Minister of Defence, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. It is timely to compare Morsi’s one year in power with Al-Sisi’s one year in power. The past 12 months have encompassed many unprecedented events, including a presidential campaign by Al-Sisi, who won an election which has been widely viewed as farcical and illegitimate.

The presidential campaigns

Comparing the ideas and policies of the coup leader, as a candidate for president upon whom many had pinned their hopes to solve Egypt’s problems, with those of the deposed president, illustrates the enormous differences in vision and outlook between the two men.

During his presidential campaign, Al-Sisi was asked about some of the main issues facing Egyptians. Regarding the reoccurring electricity shortages, Al-Sisi’s big idea was that every citizen should replace their light-bulbs into energy-saving bulbs and reduce their use of electrical appliances. When Morsi was asked the same question during his presidential campaign in 2012, which he titled the “Renaissance Project”, he said he intended to use nuclear power to fill this deficit. Nuclear energy, he explained, would be used for electricity production. This would also create a surplus of energy which could be exported, increasing Egypt’s national income.

Many Egyptians cannot even afford to buy bread and queue to buy government-subsidised bread. Al-Sisi’s answer to this problem was that he would ask Egyptian families to sacrifice from the amount they eat and save just one piece of bread. “If 25 million families save a piece of bread by having three-quarters of a piece instead of a whole slice, there would be 25 million pieces of bread for those that do not have any,” he argued.

Morsi, on the other hand, saw that increasing the production of wheat was the way to solve this serious problem; he suggested renting land in Sudan or Ethiopia for cultivation in order to save water. His plan was for Egypt to be self-sufficient in wheat within four years.

Regarding the shortage of foreign currency reserves (as a result of the dearth of tourists and foreign investors), Al-Sisi suggested that every Egyptian living abroad should donate $10 a month to Egypt. Morsi’s solution was to increase the fee for all foreign ships passing through the Suez Canal.

With unemployment standing at 13.4 per cent of nearly 90 million Egyptians, Al-Sisi suggested buying a thousand carts for the youth to sell vegetables. For Dr Morsi, unemployment could be tackled by establishing micro-projects, such as assembling computers and televisions, and larger-scale projects such as the Suez Canal development project and other labour-intensive schemes. The Suez Canal project alone, according to Morsi, would not only increase national income but also provide up to a million jobs.

When Al-Sisi was asked for his position on the Camp David Treaty with Israel, he said that he will safeguard the agreement and will co-ordinate with Israel to protect the borders. When Dr Morsi was asked about his position, he stressed that Egypt is a country which maintains its international obligations providing other parties also keep to their commitments; it is impossible for “five million people anywhere to scare 90 million,” he said.

The substantial disparity in outlook and vision of both men is evident from their handling of these issues. Whilst Al-Sisi seeks to administer a sticking-plaster to Egypt’s economic wounds, Morsi’s vision sought to cure the problems at their core and provide long-term solutions. “We have to produce our food, we have to produce our medicines, and we have to produce our weapons,” he insisted. Al-Sisi’s economic policy was hard to pinpoint during his presidential campaign, because he did not have one.

Before they reigned

So who are the two men and what was their life before entering Egyptian politics? Mohammed Mohammed Morsi Issa El-Ayaat was born in 1951; he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Engineering at Cairo University before going to the US to complete a doctorate at Southern California University, which he completed in 1982. After completing his education, Morsi lectured in two American universities before returning to his homeland where he was appointed Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering in Al-Zaqaziq University.

Parallel to his academic career, Morsi partook in political life through the Muslim Brotherhood where he became the official parliamentary spokesman for the group after he won a parliamentary seat in the 2000 elections. He was chosen universally as the best parliamentary man for 2000-2005. In 2011, Morsi became the head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Brotherhood, and was elected as a member of the Egyptian parliament in 2012; he resigned from the movement and the FJP after he won the presidential election in the same year.

Abdel Fatah Saeed Hussein Khaleel Al-Sisi, born in 1954, served in the infantry following his graduation from the Military Academy in 1977. He studied at the Wartime Military College in the US in 2006, and was appointed Egypt’s military attaché to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Despite not being involved in any actual battles, Al-Sisi was promoted within the military and held several important positions, including leadership of the infantry and the Northern Command in Alexandria. He was the head of intelligence warfare before he was selected by Morsi for the position of defence minister. Al-Sisi was generally unknown to the public until his appointment as a minister in August 2012.

Elections and popularity

Morsi’s victory in the 2012 presidential election was a victory for the January 25 Revolution and for democracy. The revolution was famous for the unity it created among the Egyptian people, and his winning of five consecutive votes was an indication that they were united in selecting who they wanted to lead them. This year’s elections came on the back of the bloody coup which has taken the lives of over 8,000 people and seen more than 44,000 men, women and children imprisoned for their opposition to the military takeover and the annihilation of the revolution.

Moreover, whilst the 2012 elections were open for participation by all, with thirteen presidential candidates, the 2014 elections saw one puppet opponent for Al-Sisi. He won, of course, in a stark reminder of the previous six decades of authoritarian rule, with a landslide 96 per cent of the votes. Indeed, various pro-coup anti-Brotherhood parties refused to celebrate the first anniversary of the 30 June “Revolution”, such as the 6th April movement and the Salafi Noor Party, in protest at the exclusion of parties from the 2014 elections and the divisions that Egypt has seen since that historic day last year.

Morsi grew in popularity when he entered the public arena, appealing to Egyptians with his humble nature. Following his election, President Morsi remained in his rented home and insisted on a modest salary of $1,650 a month. He met with members of the public frequently and prayed alongside them in the mosques. When he addressed the people in Tahrir Square following his victory, and whenever he mingled with the crowds, he refused to have bodyguards as a barrier between him and his people. From the time that he first appeared in the public eye, including his presidential campaign, Al-Sisi has not made a single public appearance, fearing for his life despite his supposed popularity with Egyptians,

Al-Sisi has limited himself to carefully choreographed interviews and indoor meetings with handpicked groups. He kept his election platform secret for most of the campaign on the grounds of “national security”. His supposed popularity was propelled and fuelled by Egyptian state television alone, which compared him with former Egyptian President Nasser and made a hero-saviour cult-figure out of him. This “Sisi-fever” continued despite the embarrassment that emanated from the campaign and the military’s allegedly “complete cure device” for HIV and Hepatitis C. The media was quick to induce amnesia in his supporters after these embarrassments by filling the screens with their demonisation of opponents and magnifying their Egyptian Superman, Al-Sisi.


The past 365 days under Al-Sisi have seen the breakdown of many human rights in Egypt. The sanctity of human life was squandered with 8,000 killed and 20,000 injured, with the media and even some Islamic scholars belonging to the regime, advocating and encouraging such bloodshed. Egypt has also seen the abolition of freedoms and rights with 44,000 political prisoners incarcerated in jails, including 48 journalists, and hundreds issued with death sentences in recent months.

Since the coup, Egypt has seen the closure of television channels and newspapers and the arrest of journalists and students. The country is now among 48 countries worldwide that do not enjoy any freedoms and, according to Freedom House, is regarded as a country which lacks media freedom and freedom of expression; political participation; civilian control and security-sector reform; peaceful assembly and civic activism; and judicial independence and rule of law. Egypt is back to being a police state and the military has full control over all state institutions.

During Morsi’s time in office, despite the 30 protests that occurred, there was not a single fatality. The law prohibiting the arrest of those expressing opinions was cancelled and there was no longer any such thing as political prisoners. The number of tourists increased during Morsi’s rule, with Egypt receiving almost seven million tourists in the first half of 2013, injecting $5 million into the economy. Following the coup and before the August massacres, tourism went down by 30 per cent, and went down to zero following the bloodshed in Cairo. When Morsi became president, foreign oil reserves had reached $14 million following the interim post-revolution military rule; that figure went up to $18.8 million. Shortly after the coup, oil reserves fell to 14.9 million; in one month alone, it fell by $3.9 million.

Morsi met with many world leaders, both at home and abroad. He attended the African Union summit where he was welcomed with great respect and was seated on the front row. Two days after the military coup in 2013 the Peace and Security Council of the African Union suspended Egypt’s membership. It was readmitted reluctantly following Al-Sisi’s presidential “victory”, although Sam Akaki, the Director of Democratic Institutions for Poverty Reduction in Africa, has called for the withdrawal of this readmission, citing Al-Sisi’s long list of human right abuses. During the recent African Summit, Egypt’s Al-Sisi was seated in the third row.

History will be the judge

For Egyptians, the economy, security and personal freedoms are the key issues of concern. The past year has seen a culling of these freedoms, to a level never before seen in Egyptian history.

With Egyptians now fasting the holy month of Ramadan, many are facing severe difficulties in being able to feed their family with the increased prices of food and the continuous electricity cuts in Egypt’s harsh summer heat. Indeed, Ramadan entered Egypt forlornly this year, with new laws and restrictions to dictate even the spiritual aspect of the people. Hundreds of mosques are closed; ID cards are requested for entry into those that are open; and the nightly Ramadan prayers (taraweeh) are cut short. State television is doing its best to distract the people with 30 new drama series this Ramadan, but will the Egyptian people wake from their intoxication and look at what Egypt has become, and then join the “opposition”? Time will tell.

President Morsi may not have been perfect and he may have made mistakes, but it was unreasonable to expect the country to get back on its feet in just one year after 60 years of authoritarian rule. After reviewing the “achievements” of the past year under Al-Sisi, can anyone honestly say they still support the coup?


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