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Moments before Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s newly elected president, took the stage to address tens of thousands of jubilant supporters in Tahrir Square last Friday, a voice rang out over the loudspeakers entreating the revelers to stop setting off fireworks. Morsi clearly did not receive the message. For almost 40 minutes, the man many Egypt-watchers had derided for lacking charisma gave what could only be called a barn-burner. At one point, Morsi burst out from behind the podium, shouted “you are the source of authority” to the adoring crowd, and then ripped open his jacket to show that he wasn’t wearing a bullet proof vest. But he saved the real fireworks—at least for Washington—for the last three minutes of his speech. As he began to wrap up, Morsi seemingly went off script. Pointing into the crowd, he said, “I see the family of Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman,” referring to the so-called “blind sheikh” who currently is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison hospital for blessing a foiled plot to blow up several New York City landmarks. “And I see the banners for civilians imprisoned on military orders, and those jailed during the course of the revolution from the beginning until now. […] It is my duty to exert every effort, from tomorrow, until all of them are free, including Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.”


Masoud, Tarek. "Provocateur and Chief.", July 2, 2012.