News, Politics

New Egyptian Leader Backs Off On Strict Controls


Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; Image, Stefan Rousseau
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; Image, Stefan Rousseau

In 2011, during what was called Arab Spring, protests in the Middle East showed that many people were fed up with their dictator leaders.

One of the largest countries in which people opposed their leader was Egypt. The protests ended when President Hosni Mubarak was driven out of office and put on trial.

Last June, Egypt’s first freely elected president took office.

But instead of trying to get everyone to agree on how to run the country, President Mohamed Morsi decided to give himself complete power over all laws and all the people. He said this was the only way to get things done.

Again the protests started as people streamed into the streets because their rights had been removed. Their message got to Morsi and he cancelled his plans for complete power.

But he didn’t cancel his plan for a referendum on a new constitution for the country.

A referendum is a vote by all the people about a particular issue. The constitution of a country is a written document that states the basic laws of that country.

The opposition say they have not had a chance to study the document to make sure it is good for everybody in the country. For example, women worry that their rights will be forgotten if the very religious president has his way.

They believe the document needs more study and agreement before sending it for a vote. The referendum is scheduled for December 15.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt

What are protests? What roll(s) do protests play in the situations in Egypt? Are there alternatives to protests?

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words

There are several political terms used in this article, such as: dictator, referendum and constitution. Use a dictionary or a kid-friendly website to look up these words. Explain what they mean in your own words and in relation to the article.

Junior and Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: meaning, language structure and graphic (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Adjectives

What is a dictator? How do they rule? Brainstorm a list of adjectives to describe dictators.