Yemeni journalist and 2011 Nobel Peace Price winner Tawakkol Karman recently came under fire for comparing Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi with South Africa's beloved hero Nelson Mandela in her article "Morsy Is the Arab World's Mandela." Bassem Sabry, who wrote a rebuttal in Al-Monitor, joined HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin Tuesday to debunk Karman's reasoning.
After announcing that she would attend the August protests in Egypt fighting for what she calls "freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and the right of the people to select their rulers," Karman was denied entry into Cairo, in part prompting her to write this article. "For my activism, I have been the target of a massive incitement campaign by the pro-coup media: Regime supporters have threatened me with death, even to put me on trial for spying and interfering in Egyptian affairs," she wrote.
Drawing the comparison between Mandela and Morsi, Karman said, "The South African leader brought peace and democracy to his country; during Morsy's one-year reign, Egypt enjoyed freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate peacefully, and not a single one of his political opponents were jailed."
While Sabry maintains that he is not personally attacking Karman, he strongly disagreed and noted the evolution of her viewpoint from a Morsi critic to one of his biggest advocates.
"What made the change ... at least part of it might have to do with the turn of events in Cairo where there have been two very violent events in Egypt in which many Morsi supporters have tragically died. There has been the crackdown on Islamist media and so forth," he said.
Stating that "the idea that Morsi doesn't have blood on his hands is factually incorrect," Sabry pointed to the former president's failures to reform the security sector: "Under Morsi's watch [the security sector] continued to be abusive and use excessive force against demonstrators."
Sabry remains hopeful that the "gains" of the January 25, 2011 uprisings will be solidified, but says that "does not justify any whitewashing of Morsi and what his one year in power has done.
"In the face of every challenge," Sabry said, "[Morsi] chose the most perilous, the most destructive, and the most divisive means to confront them."