Egypt between Fear and Reform in its Second Revolution: The Failure to Protect the Fundamental Human Rights Over and Over Again

7 Phoenix L. Rev. 1 (Fall 2013)

54 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2014

See all articles by Mohamed A. Arafa

Mohamed A. Arafa

Cornell University - Law School; Universidade de Brasília (UnB); Alexandria University - Faculty of Law; Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2013


In essence, a revolution is a human change that leads to political consequences and social outcomes. A revolution means giving primacy to interests or welfare over meaning. A revolution by definition means that a cluster of folks — at a certain moment — become eager to die for dignity, justice, democracy, and freedom. This noble performance is rare, which explains why real rebellions are uncommon in nature throughout human history. Human change is the real achievement of a revolution. Egyptians overcame the obstacle of fear and they will never go back. The military and Muslim Brotherhood’s (“Brotherhood”) collusion, along with the disintegration of revolutionary forces, delayed the revolt’s political attainments. The pathway Egypt takes will have serious consequences for the rest of the Arabian region. Alterations in the Egyptian government’s formal structures, internal balance of authority via a check and balance policy, and social involvement in all significant arenas, will require both economic and cultural changes. These changes will be some of the most imperative, strategic, and dynamic forces for redesigning and reformatting the Middle East.

In this regard, the United States is helping to balance efforts and assimilate energies to accomplish and advance two core objectives: (1) preserving a close partnership with Egypt while creating regional stability and security; and (2) supporting Egypt’s political and economic transitions toward effective governance and extended economic prospects for its citizens. Without a coherent and comprehensive economic policy response from the exiled President Mohammad Morsi and his Islamist government, political vagueness deteriorated Egypt’s economy. This resulted in high unemployment, rising public debt, corruption, increased pressure on Egypt’s foreign cash reserves, and negative influences on foreign relations. A genuine switch in Egypt from a totalitarian regime, with a potential theocratic ideal (religious fascism), to a more open system with democratic institutions entails more than restructuring democratic foundations and electoral procedures. It requires restructuring the laws, regulations, and policies, which govern the freedoms of Egypt’s general public. Accordingly, this Article discusses the imperative legislation and legal provisions, such as police law, penal law, and the code of military justice, which are encumbrances to achieving crucial human rights and thus require amendment or abolishment.

Additionally, this Article presents a preliminary analysis of the contradictions in the amended Egyptian Constitution of 2012. This de facto Constitution provides no guarantees of human rights and fails to safeguard basic rights, especially with respect to the interpretation and contradiction of the language. Finally, this Article concludes by showing that the 2012 de facto Constitution has plunged Egypt into even greater political deadlock, and opened the door to a religious theocratic state rather than turning in the right direction after the June 30, 2013, revolution.

Keywords: Revolution, Amended Constitution, Human Rights, Theocracy, Islamists, Islamic Law, Democracy, Muslim Brotherhood, Military, Justice, Criminal Law, Police Law, Transitional Period, Supreme Counsel for the Armed Forces (“SCAF”), Mubarak, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”)

Suggested Citation

Arafa, Mohamed A., Egypt between Fear and Reform in its Second Revolution: The Failure to Protect the Fundamental Human Rights Over and Over Again (February 1, 2013). 7 Phoenix L. Rev. 1 (Fall 2013) . Available at SSRN:

Mohamed A. Arafa (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Universidade de Brasília (UnB) ( email )

Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro
Asa Norte
Brasília, Distrito Federal 70910-900

Alexandria University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Moustafa Mousharafa Street

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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