When President Mohamed Morsi appointed himself a virtual pharaoh of Egypt on November 22, demonstrations broke out across the nation. Thousands of secularists and liberals stormed the neighborhood outside Morsi’s palace, protesting the audacious power grab. They were met by thousands of Islamists who fought back in support of Morsi’s absolute rule. Cries of “no to dictatorship” clashed with chants from the Islamists: “Defending Morsi is defending Islam.”
Then, after 2½ weeks of political turmoil and riots on the streets, Morsi rescinded his controversial decree. Under heavy pressure from the Arab street, we were told, Morsi backed down.