Be afraid of Egypt’s ‘golden’ men

Be afraid of Egypt’s ‘golden’ men
3 min read
19 Jun, 2015
Comment: Former President Mohammed Morsi's remarks that Egypt’s army had "men like gold", just before the army turned on him, now seems misguided and deeply ironic.
Morsi's men like gold turned on him [Getty]

Around this time three years ago, Mohamed Morsi won the Egyptian presidential elections. He now lives in the shadow of the hangman's noose.

At the time, I was covering the elections in the city of Zagazig, the capital of the governorate of al-Sharqia.

As soon as the results were announced, I made my way to the nearby village of el-Adwah, Morsi's hometown, where he had grown up. Thousands of villagers celebrated the victory, not believing that one of them would govern the country.

I cannot forget the scenes that, for the first time, made me sympathize with Morsi, starting from his simple room overlooking the chicken coup in the Morsi family home, plastered with pictures of him as a prisoner under the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Was Morsi simply naive, dreaming of the impossible? Was he crazy to think that the army generals and the deep state would be loyal to him?

One of his neighbours, a young girl, was full of joy. When I inquired about the reason she said: "I'm happy, really happy, because he is one of us and he's a good man and knows our pain."

The events that followed do not need explanation, although people have differed on how to react to them. It soon became clear the dream of changing a state is harder and more complicated than simply replacing a bad president for a good one, which was what the revolutionary youth had thought.

Perhaps the description of goodness will later be associated with stupidity in people's minds when they see Morsi on TV, before he was disposed, abducted, tried and most recently sentenced to death.

"Be careful, don't let anyone trick you", he told Egyptians one day, while he was slipping into that which he had warned against, when he said: "we have men like gold in the armed forces, like gold."

Was Morsi simply a naive man who dreamed of the impossible? Was he crazy to think that the army generals and the deep state would be loyal to him? Or did Morsi mean something else by using the term "gold" other than the value associated with the metal?

The interpretation of dreams

Let us abandon the political script for a moment to try to understand the meaning of Morsi's words. In his Interpretation of dreams, Ibn Sirin, a famous eighth century Muslim interpreter of dreams stated that seeing gold in a dream was a bad omen.

He interprets the dream as sadness or a loss of wealth.

"Whoever sees himself as wearing gold will lose wealth, or be inflicted with a worry, or be subject to the wrath of the ruler, and whoever see his house encrusted with gold or golden, will suffer a fire in the house," states Ibn Sirin.

In ancient Egypt, they used to make the coffins of their kings out of gold, in addition to creating one of the world's most beautiful masks, which is Tutankhamun's funeral mask.

Regardless of the meaning Morsi intended by describing the army generals as gold, the outcome of their actions are anything but golden, unless he was referring to the mask worn by Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, or the nightmare threatening to burn Egypt.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic website.