The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 3, 2013

VIDEO: Joplin doctor reacts to situation in his homeland

By Roger McKinney

JOPLIN, Mo. — Yasser Mokhtar on Wednesday said he tried to avoid news from Egypt on his day off, but he couldn’t.

Mokhtar, a Joplin physician, is from Egypt and still has family and friends there. He spoke to a reporter before President Mohammed Morsi was removed by the military; he said he thought Morsi’s ouster was inevitable.

“It’s not a good thing, but I think this is the best solution we have at this point,” Mokhtar said of the military intervention.

Mokhtar said that when Morsi was elected a year ago, he was optimistic about the birth of democracy in Egypt. Morsi, a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. He was elected after Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power after decades of dictatorship.

“We all had high hopes,” Mokhtar said.

Mokhtar said he wasn’t enthusiastic about Morsi’s election last year, but the only other candidate to make the final round of elections was one of Mubarak’s supporters.

“At that time there was no other choice” but Morsi and the extreme right-wing candidate, Mokhtar said. He said last year that he had favored a moderate Islamist candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who was defeated in the first round of elections. He said of Morsi last year: “He has no charisma.”

Mokhtar said Morsi’s supporters said he was improving things, while his opponents said he was driving Egypt into the ground. No longer living in Egypt, he said he didn’t know which assessment was more correct.

He said it was clear, however, that bloodshed would result if Morsi remained in power.

“There are a lot of people out on the streets,” Mokhtar said. “If something sparks, it’s going to be ugly.”

Mokhtar said he hoped the situation could be resolved without violence and that democracy would be allowed to resume quickly.

“Hopefully everything will turn out OK,” he said.