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Judge Adly Mansour, ex Head of the Supreme Court, now Ex interim President of Egypt is just a man. A real man. Dignified, educated, humane, empathetic, principled, courageous, tactful, kind, truthful, strong, patriotic, intelligent, loyal, hard-working, dedicated. Just a man.
Circumstances, totally out of his hands, put him squarely in the history of Egypt. He was appointed to the position of Chief of the Supreme Court, then literally, one day later, was called upon to step up and take over the interim Presidency of Egypt after the disposition of Morsi of the Moslem Brotherhood. It was a very dangerous time. The Brotherhood, a terrorist organization, threatened death and mayhem to any and all who took action against them. As interim President he would be a very high profile target. Yet the man did not hesitate, he stepped up to the plate and was immediately sworn in as interim President when tension was at its highest, when terrorism was gathering its forces for an out and out attack on Egypt.
When Judge Adly Mansour took over, the first thing he did was announce a speech, appeared on the dot, gave an excellent, short, to the point speech, in impeccable Arabic, that lasted less than ten minutes. I nearly missed it. I was so shocked by the timeliness, the precision, the pristine language that I had to listen to its repeat to understand the gist of it. I was not alone. All Egypt was in a state of shock. Not only did this new President extend us the courtesy of being on time, but respected our intellect by addressing us concisely and to the point in an excellent and clean language. We had not realized how much we had missed that until it happened. That was the first shock.
Judge Mansour is a large man, tall and broad, with a very hard-looking poker face. There were some jokes where his same picture, looking exactly the same was repeated several times and under each was a caption saying here he is smiling, angry, surprised, laughing, etc. but that was during the first very difficult weeks of his rule. Once he started relaxing a bit, and the first time we saw him smile, his whole persona changed. A beautiful change came over his rather grim features, they turned soft and tender with a child-like beauty, a twinkle in his eyes and a slightly naughty spark. The jokes came to a screeching halt.
Bit by bit his dignified behavior started filtering through and dignity returned to Egypt’s Presidency. We no longer cringed whenever he attended a formal function, waiting for that inevitable embarrassment. We started becoming proud of him as a true representative of Egypt. Now the Presidential entourage was a rather small contingent of security personnel, and whoever else who had a job during whatever function was taking place, all clean shaven, all dressed in suits and ties. Such a drastic visual difference which was a second shock. When the cabinet emerged it was all men who were highly educated, though not all had general approval as to their political affiliations. But invariably they all came from a much better background than most of the members of Morsi’s cabinet.
One incident that won the hearts of Egyptians was during a formal ceremony where Judge Mansour, in his capacity as Interim President was handing out artistic citations to elderly artists. There came a rather ancient man whose name was called, when Mansour saw him shuffling forward, and before he could take any more steps, the Interim President quickly and gracefully for such a large man, strode forward, down the few steps and met the elderly artist more than half way. Those holding the citation and the medal had to scramble to keep up with him so he can hand them over to the recipient. This one impulsive, natural gesture won over the hearts of most Egyptians. The ingrained respect for age and kindness to frailty, but especially the lack of false pride greatly endeared him to Egyptians.
Now that his Interim Presidency is nearly over, once the newly elected President is sworn in, many are voicing the need to honor this man for the way he handled a very difficult, dangerous position and the dignity and integrity he brought to it. Not only did he refuse to be paid the salary of a President, but kept his Judge’s salary, he also refused to be given the pension of a President. He felt that he only did his duty. Such a man should be honored accordingly. Not only will he be given his rightful place in history, but he should be acknowledged and honored now.
4 June 2014