The Washington Post has an editorial today titled “Mohamed Morsi’s betrayal of democracy.” The subject of the editorial is a young Egyptian named Ahmed Maher, one of the “leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution” and part of the April 6 Youth Movement. According to Mr. Maher, ““They lied, they broke promises, they killed members of April 6,” Mr. Maher said. Mr. Morsi’s government, he said, increasingly resembled that of former strongman Hosni Mubarak: “They only seek power.””
While the Egyptian leadership is clearly an authoritarian regime bent on dominating and suppressing those who oppose it, the choice of headline for the editorial is strange, as is Mr. Maher’s complaint. They are also, perversely, unfair to Mr. Morsi. You cannot betray what you don’t believe. It was clear from the outset (and should have been so to both Mr. Maher and the Washington Post) that Morsi was never a democrat and had no interest in anything but power and promoting an Islamist state consistent with the tenants of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both the Post and Maher express a stunning amount of Naivete in asserting that it could ever have been otherwise. Mr. Maher can be forgiven for picking what he may have seen as the lesser of two evils (Morsi vs. former regime members), but to have backed Morsi on the premise that he was a man who believed in democracy was simply foolish.