The oppositional forces have made a grave mistake in aligning with the army to overthrow President Morsi
On 3 July Morsi was ousted from his role as president of Egypt. He has since been placed under house arrest and it is reported that arrest warrants have been issued for over 300 Muslim Brotherhood members, some of whom are now missing. This persecution is merely as a result of having different political and religious ideologies than that of the military. The military have now closed Islamic TV stations and destroyed the tunnels which lead to Gaza. The little good that Morsi managed to achieve in the short time in office is slowly being undone, just as the revolution has been undone by this coup. This was exactly how Hosni Mubarak attained control of Egypt to begin with – a military coup – which resulted in 30 years of dictatorship.
When writing this article, I can’t help but wonder if a lot of what I want to convey is just common sense. Lest we forget why protests began, among other demands, one of the purposes was to have term limits for the president in order to stop a dictator holding the position for over three decades. These limits were in place. Another was to allow the four years afforded to every candidate. If he or she does not deliver, then citizens are entitled to use their rights to vote and select the candidate who they think will make a difference. Isn’t that the point of democracy?
The democratically-elected Egyptian president only held a year in office. Only one year. It took decades to bounce back from the great depression, but Morsi was expected to solve all economic issues within that one year. Unrealistic doesn’t quite cover the level of expectations imposed.
The revolution started in order to put an end to a 30-year dictatorship in which Mubarak did not allow opposition parties to form, let alone flourish. It must be pointed out that this was the first time the Muslim Brotherhood, and more importantly, the first time any Egyptian political party, had formed a government. Many were imprisoned, spending years behind bars, merely for being a member of an opposition party. President Morsi and his administration had made many mistakes – that is the nature of a developing democracy. No matter who was to take over from Mubarak – such as El-Baradei – they too would have inherited the mess Mubarak left behind, politically and economically, and they too would have made decisions many did not agree with. It is crucial, however, that those elected are given the opportunity to develop, in order to rebuild the country again. Switching leaders and political parties every year will only destabilise an already-shaky foundation.
Morsi’s government faced intense opposition from the first day in office. While the right to protest is democratic, it should be used appropriately – not to topple a democratically-elected government. Despite calling on opposition members to join him in office, and numerous calls for dialogue between the protesters and the government, Morsi was faced with a blanket refusal to cooperate since the start. In their disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood, opposition forces are uniting with remnants of the old regime in a desperate attempt to overthrow Morsi instead of building a political party with its own principles, ready with solutions to the problems they were so quick to blame on Morsi and his administration.
The Egyptian people should step back for a minute and assess what would actually be best for their country. The need to demonstrate is an imperative right, which was never stifled under Morsi’s rule, but in order for the revolution to continue to move forward, the people should have let democracy play out. If unhappy with decisions made, they would learn from it and use their right to vote.
Surely Egyptians remember what they endured through both Mubarak and the oppressive forces of the army, complicit in torture and oppression of the Egyptian people while protesting against Mubarak’s rule. Uniting with the military is a dangerous move; the army has only one agenda here, namely, obtaining control of the country again, and stepping in to “save” the people is opportunistic for them. They should not be trusted. The people in Tahrir Square chanted, “the people and the army are one hand.” I worry that the Egyptians have forgotten the brutality they suffered at the start of this revolution – the hundreds who died for their country’s freedom only to now head back in alliance with the very people who stifled their rights to begin with.
This feels like selective democracy. We accept democracy but only on our terms and with a leader we deem acceptable. Would the situation be as it is now if there was a liberal/secularist at the helm, voted in democratically, dealing with the same issues Morsi faced? Would they have done many things differently? Perhaps the only difference would be that they would face less resistance.
The Egyptian revolution of 2011-2012 was one which other nations looked towards in admiration and hope. These unfortunate turn of events take Egypt back to square one, back into the clutch of political opportunists who benefitted under Mubarak and are seeking to benefit again. Any legitimacy or hope of democracy has been burnt with these latest developments.
I can’t help but recall Mubarak’s parting words: “If I resign today there will be chaos.” There’s a sinister undertone to his words – less a prediction more a promise. Mubarak fell yet his regime did not. Such a task would require an overhaul of every public official, every army officer, and every person with some authority. This, of course, is an impossible feat, so what is required is the patience of the people and a change in culture in order to really revolutionise the country and allow it to regain some stability and unity. This will certainly not happen in a year. Some things just need time.
Image from: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01824/Tahrir-Sq_1824554a.jpg
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