The recent deaths of two teenagers best communicate the situation in Egypt today.
Gaber Saleh, a 16-year-old revolutionary activist, was killed in confrontations with police in Tahrir Square last Sunday. That same day, Islam Massoud, a 15-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member, was killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in Damanhour, a city in the Nile Delta.
The deaths reveal a nation deeply divided by the decision of Morsi last week to appropriate all governing authority until a new Egyptian constitution is completed and a new parliament elected. Protests have broken out throughout the nation; Tahrir Square has once again filled to capacity. Many of Egypt's judges have decried the attack on their independence, with the two highest appellate courts joining others in a nationwide strike.
The nation's Christians are firmly in the opposition camp.
"The whole nation is furious about President Morsi's constitutional declaration," said Atef Gendy, president of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo.
"He is undermining the judicial system, putting this authority in his hands to go along with the executive and legislative power as well. We cannot allow for anyone to become unaccountable."
Morsi seized legislative power from the military in August—which had assumed it following the dissolution of parliament—shortly after his election in June. He has used this power sparingly, and assures the nation his restraint will continue. The decree is necessary, says Morsi, to protect the revolution, end corruption, and preempt looming court cases which could dissolve the assembly writing the constitution—further extending a long and ...