“Who will buy these melting ice-creams?” wondered 34-year-old grocery store owner Hasan Zaki. “No one!” Located in a main street in the town of Talkha, Zaki’s store, he says, is getting harder to run with constant power outages, a phenomenon that now occurs on a daily basis, affecting some products he stocks in his shop. “I have not participated in any political activities or demonstrations before, but I suffer from power outages, which have reached unbearable proportions.
“Who will buy these melting ice-creams?” wondered 34-year-old grocery store owner Hasan Zaki. “No one!” Located in a main street in the town of Talkha, Zaki’s store, he says, is getting harder to run with constant power outages, a phenomenon that now occurs on a daily basis, affecting some products he stocks in his shop. “I have not participated in any political activities or demonstrations before, but I suffer from power outages, which have reached unbearable proportions. I do not know what to do and I see no solution unless something happens on June 30,” Zaki said.
At the university services center of Mansoura University, 25-year-old Mohammed Ghandour tries to quickly finish his work before the power goes off. “We are now in student exam season, which is the best time for me to make money, as students come to copy papers,” he said. “Frequent power outages significantly disrupt my work. The problem is not only limited to petrol shortages and electricity cuts, but the roads are often sealed-off and the security situation is worsening,” Ghandour added. “I elected Morsi in hope of fulfilling the dream of revolution, change and renaissance, but found none. Now, I support the popular protest campaign on June 30 to demand early presidential elections as a way out of this crisis,” he explained.
Even the middle class has not been spared
In one of the lines where dozens of cars waited, 32-year-old banker Hamdi Barakat arrived hours earlier, hoping that petrol would not run out when his turn came.
“Is it fair to drive from Mansoura to the Aga every week at three in the morning, just to get fuel?” asked Barakat adding, “We never expected such petrol price hikes and the current crises would also affect the middle class, not to mention low-income people at a time when there is not even a change of government, which failed to solve these problems. I have, therefore, decided to take part in the forthcoming protests for the first time in my life.”
Dentist Ahmad Mehanna at a medical complex in the village of MeniaSandoubat Mansoura center said, “I can hardly complete an hour of uninterrupted work due to power cuts. Besides, I often do not go to work because power outage may last from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. I will take part in the protests because the situation has become unbearably difficult.”
Civil war specter and lack of alternatives
Some citizens, however, believe the ongoing crisis is not a valid excuse to defy legitimacy and overthrow the president. Twenty-six year-old Mohammed Bakri said: “Although the current crises, which no one can deny, may call for staging protests against the government politics or its overthrow, it is unjustifiable to demand to topple a legitimate president who came to power through fair and transparent elections. Attempting to overthrow the president now will further aggravate the situation and lead to more violence. In case he is overthrown, there is no other organized side to take over except the remnants of the former regime, which will bring us back to square one.”
This opinion is more or less held by Ahmad Ibrahim who agrees that although the current situation is deplorable, the successor will be even worse. “I do not want this regime to continue because it has ruined everything, but when I compare it between the current situation and the civil war that could happen as a consequence of the demand to thwart the president, I believe the current situation is much better. I pray that things will get better during the president’s remaining term in office,” he explained.
Dr. Ahmad Wali, member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Dakahlia and Secretary of Youth Committee in the Freedom and Justice party urged: “Time is of the essence. When Morsi assumed the presidential office, electricity networks were in bad shape and were unmaintained for eight years,” citing the construction of older buildings being incompatible with increase electricity loads. He promised that a new station would be operating by October.
Regarding the petrol crisis, Wali asked: “Why does the petrol crisis come up just as the government is in the process of launching the smart card system? And why has the crisis worsened the closer we come to June 30? Certain hands are perhaps trying to incite people to protest,” Wali suggested. “Besides, some Gulf states no longer provide Egypt with fuel after the revolution.”
“The protests scheduled for June 30 are not the solution and are likely to lead to further problems. Why do not we endure as the Indian people did under Gandhi until the occupation of their country ended?” Wali asked.
Rebel: conspiracy theories of no use
Rebel Campaign coordinator, Mohammad Essam, who aims at gathering 15 million no-confidence forms against Morsi, affirmed that the ongoing energy crises will decide the number of signatories. “The number of citizens who have signed the anti-Morsi forms has certainly increased following the deteriorating electricity and petrol crises. Previously, we had only one-hour electricity cuts, but now, power outages happen several times per day and petrol has become a citizens’ dream,” said Essam, citing poor management in the current regime.