"O you who believe! Be patient, and advocate patience, and remain stationed, and revere God, so that you may thrive." Al-Imran: 200, Quran.
There is no coincidence that Mohammed Morsi died on the same day that he was declared the president of Egypt in 2012 during the peak period of freedom that followed the Jan. 25 Revolution. His life and death were a mirror image of that revolution.
Almost six years ago I wrote an article about how President Morsi became a symbol of the Egyptian revolution. My reasoning for this was Morsi's refusal to bow to military coercion and his insistence to be the legitimate elected president of Egypt. Today, after all these years, Dr. Morsi passed away while his adamant refusal to bow or give in to the military junta never moved even one inch.
Those who have been following Egyptian affairs for the past few months know that the first democratically elected president of Egypt had been facing dire conditions such as being held in solitary confinement, deprived of visiting his family or legal representation and being denied medical treatment despite having chronic diabetes. The deteriorating condition of his health lead many authorities to warn that the Egyptian military authority's treatment of Morsi would lead to his premature death.
For me, like millions inside Egypt and across the Arab and Muslim world, my first reaction was overwhelming sadness and grief. The man, despite being isolated from the world, remained a symbol of defiance, dignity and resistance. His last words prior to being kidnapped by the junta were that he was willing to give his life to protect the revolution and its goals. This continued to resonate with us even when the, "Egyptian case" went cold and his last words now echo strongly after his death. However, contemplation followed that grief.
The slow killing of Morsi gave him an honorable end. He never gave up or bowed down to his oppressors despite his pain and suffering. He died while he was defending his people and his country in front of the junta-appointed court. In the past, I used to check the news to search for any condemnation from the international community against the crimes Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his regime kept committing against Egyptians. I became frustrated from the silence the world would give us. Today, it was the opposite. I am so happy to find no hypocritical reactions towards the crime committed against President Morsi. Their endorsement of the el-Sissi regime makes them complacent with it.
What really consoled me today was the outcry and the mourning not just from Morsi's supporters but even from those who opposed him. That mourning extended well beyond Egypt across the Arab and Muslim world where people remembered how he stood with them against their tyrants and oppressors. His death — which resulted in Egypt losing its last legitimate president — will mean that the current regime will never have the moral authority or legitimacy he had, even in spite of international and regional endorsements. I really wish that Morsi, along with those who shared Egypt's tragedy, would have had a sword and a shield to defend themselves with. However, he was left solely with his faith and steadiness, both insufficient to give him justice in this world but enough to give him the death of a martyr and a place in Egypt's history.
I also believe it was no coincidence today that while I pondered the passing of President Morsi, the last verse I read from the Quran was, "O you who believe! Be patient, and advocate patience, and remain stationed, and revere God, so that you may thrive" (Al-Imran:200). I know that the attention given to President Morsi's death will not last forever. However, his legacy will endure and will always be cherished by those who will strive to follow his way to restore their country and their freedom. As I patted my little daughter, I told her we will always continue and never surrender, just like President Morsi did.
* Researcher and expert in Turkish-Arab strategic relations and minority affairs. Director of the Center of Al-Mashreq Al-Arabi, Birmingham, U.K.