The Next Phase Of The Egyptian Democracy Experiment Is Underway

Egypt-Coup

 

Last month the Egyptian people were forced to make a choice. Challenge the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi and disrupt democracy in Egypt while still in its infancy. Or, remain inactive as Morsi’s hold on power became more absolute. The citizens of Egypt opted to challenge Morsi and the military stood beside the people for the second time in two years. This battle between secularists and Islamists in Egypt has been won and lost. The war, however, continues on.

Whether or not the military was justified in its handling of the crisis depends on perspectives. Many western observers quickly labeled the toppling of Morsi as a classic example of a coup d’état. An elected president was removed from office by the military. For the average Egyptian citizen, Morsi was an unpopular president who was making fundamental changes to many facets of Egyptian life. The average person’s life has not improved in the past year. In fact, things have become more difficult for Egyptians since Morsi’s election in 2012. The military may have moved to save the nation from dissolving into chaos and civil war.

The coming days and weeks will determine whether or not the military’s intervention was successful. The quicker Egypt returns to civilian rule, the better. Interim President Adly Mansour cannot afford another ‘massacre’ like the one that the Muslim Brotherhood claims happened outside of Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo yesterday. A large number of Morsi supporters were allegedly killed by security forces and police.  The Muslim Brotherhood claims the ‘massacre’ took place during prayer time. Other reports are that the demonstrators shot first when they tried to storm the headquarters building where Morsi is being held. Details are scarce and what really happened may never be determined.

So far, the democratic experiment in Egypt has not brought forth the stability most people were hoping it would. But the path to democracy is a marathon course, not a 100 yd sprint. Something to keep in mind.

2 comments

  1. The Egyptian people were far too impatient. They will never have a stable democracy if they expect that after just one year they should be able to force a president from office because of his policies which they don’t agree with. If everyone behaved like that then there would be no waiting on elections to remove unpopular leaders in places such as Gordon Brown or Viktor Yushchenko (who moved from being amazingly popular to having only 5% of Ukrainians supporting him in just 6 years) in 2010 or Sarkozy in 2012 and in mid-2001 George W. Bush would have been deposed. If he really was so unpopular then in 2016 he would have lost spectacularly if he attempted to run again (as he was legally entitled to do). I don’t expect democracy to take hold in Egypt as long as the average Egyptian thinks that if he/she doesn’t like what a president is doing then they must/can/should protest in the street until the guy gets kicked out of office in a military coup rather than simply vote for someone else come the next election. That’s a very bad habit to get into (for both the average Egyptian and for the Egyptian military).

    If people want stability they have to practice it. Stability won’t magically come from putting an “x” on a paper and staining your finger. It comes from exercising your rights and acknowledging the legal rights of others as well as accepting the remit of the law and acting within it (in this case, Morsi’s legal rights to serve a full term were not respected by vocal segments of Egyptian society and the Egyptian military). Until they do that, Egypt will remain unstable and on the verge of a possible civil war (and I highly doubt the Egyptian military coup saved the country from civil war; if anything it might have raised the (low) prospects of such an event occurring by alienating a major political force in the country and leaving it with little recourse except to resort to violence).

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