The revolution of 2011 ended in Islamist rule and, on Wednesday, a military coup. Now, Egyptians are hoping that the overthrow of President Morsi will lead to a better future. But disagreement remains over what should come next.
Toni Kalifa doesn’t look much like a victim of the military coup d’état in Egypt. Clutching two smartphones in his hands, he’s pacing back and forth in the lobby of a five-star hotel on the Nile River in Cairo — and calls keep coming in. “No,” he says. “We don’t know what is coming next.” Kalifa played a not insignificant role in the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed by the military on Wednesday night. Ironically, though, he himself has become jobless as a result.
Before Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were shunted aside, Kalifa was the moderator of an immensely popular Egyptian television show called “The Era of the Muslim Brotherhood.” His show was broadcast for an hour each day in primetime, and in every episode, he would play host to an Islamist guest — whose ideology he would then proceed to mercilessly dismantle. Highlights from his show, aired by the private station Cairo and the People, are available on YouTube. It wasn’t uncommon for his guests to become physically violent under Kalifa’s incessant grilling.
On Wednesday evening, the disassembly of the Muslim Brotherhood was completed. Egyptian generals removed the Islamist organization from power, they shut down three Islamist television stations and they issued arrest warrants for 300 leading members of the group. In short, they sent the Muslim Brotherhood back to the underground where it has spent so much of its history. And they deprived Kalifa of his talk show guests.