Tawfik drew this for the independent Shorouk on September 2. I’m posting it now in response to Secretary of State John Kerry’s public remarks in Cairo on Sunday. He uttered the word “roadmap” no less than seven times during his brief press availability. (Kerry is looking forward to the “road ahead,” too.)
What does that roadmap entail exactly? Tawfik draws it as a labyrinth. Note that the man entering the maze is shoeless, his clothes tattered. Also the maze’s endpoint doesn’t exactly have roses and a celebratory cake.
Tawfik is a harsh critic of the regime and has published stinging anti-military cartoons on Facebook—not in print. He also draws for Tok Tok, Egypt’s finest comic zine.
His cartoon raises big questions about the General Command of the Egyptian Armed Forces’s July 8 statement. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights calls it a "roadmap to crisis," in part because it lacks “a consensual plan that can be a subject of serious political discussion regarding its course of action and goals.” The road to democracy lacks a vigorous debate about the future of the republic.
For envoys and spokespeople, the word “roadmap,” is a helpful buzzword—calling the current situation a “democratic transition” is a mouthful. (Indeed Kerry also said “transition” six times and “democracy” nine times). Of course what America’s top diplomat didn’t say was anything about deposed President Muhamad Morsi, held incommunicado since July. The absence of any mention of his trial, slated to begin a day after Kerry’s stopover, is glaring.
Washington—if you’re listening—can I ask you a favor? Please cut “roadmap” from your talking points. Unless you can articulate what that roadmap is, even if it’s a labyrinth, then the word means nothing.