Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back To (Tahrir) Square One?

The West has good reason to look on with fascination at the spectacle of the manner in which 'democracy' plays itself out in the Middle East.  The United States in particular, and the rest of the advanced democratic states with their liberal advocacy and general content with their system of governance, insisting its spread globally will cure all the ills of the world, has reason to double-think their urgent adoption in the Middle East.

Libya deposed its stunningly tyrannical ruler and now has a dysfunctional state, completely decentralized, with tribal animosities ensuring that disparate tribal-affiliated armed militias are free to roam, where sectarian violence rears its destructive head with impunity.  Not all that very surprising, in fact, given the experience with Iraq where an American-led invasion violently removed the Iraqi tyrant from power, replacing it with a U.S.-approved 'democratic' one.

A power-sharing parliament, where the majority Shia now rules over the previously-ruling minority Sunni; an uneasy alliance between Shia, Sunni and Kurd, which, since the departure of American military power and the complete hand-over to Iraq, to rule itself fairly and justly, has resorted to the same kind of autocratic exclusion as the previous administration.  Resulting in violent flare-ups of 'suicide' bombings in reflection of the sectarian divide and the incursion of 'terrorists'.

Christians beware, everywhere in the world of Islam, where brutal dictatorships that managed to balance the antipathy of tribalism and religious divides to their own methodology creating order and a certain level of security, have succumbed to 'liberty' and ' democracy'.  The new 'democratic' order, where the populations in North African and Arab countries have displaced tyranny with 'freedoms' now are ruled by Islamists who have little use for freedom and adapt universal Sharia law.

Egypt has surprised only the revolutionaries who marched in Tahrir Square demanding the ouster of President Mubarak, calling for an end to dictatorship, and the embrace of democracy.  That democracy has gained Egypt an Islamist parliament, soon to be joined by an Islamist executive administration and with the help of Salafists, full Sharia.  Unsurprisingly, seen as a threat by Coptic Christians.

How this can surprise even the most casual onlooker is a surprise unto itself.  The first 'democratic' election took place in the Palestinian Territories, and the wisdom of the electors was to install Hamas, an self-declared Islamist terror group to share governance with a secularist former terror group, latterly refined to the guise of a responsible, uncorrupted administration for the Palestinian people.

Voting in Egypt on the week-end for a president, who along with a new constitution and a representative parliament, would make a new Egypt that would be seen as a beacon of hope, social advancement, and trust in the Arab world has resulted in a stale-mate.  The Muslim Brotherhood candidate, with 60% of the votes cast now accounted for, had a slight edge on his former-regime presidential candidate.

The future holds the prospect of either a balance between the Muslim Brotherhood with its Islamist agenda, or the Egyptian military, with its power-retaining agenda, or a unified Muslim Brotherhood/Salafist government.  In which case no one bloc in the country will be satisfied.  The revolutionary youth with their leftist ideals of fairness, freedom, employment and subsidized food shudder at the prospect of Sharia-led Egypt.

But they experience feelings akin to helpless paroxysms of rage when they envision an extension of the previous military rule, vowing that were that to occur, they would agitate anew, holding ongoing protests at Tahrir Square and throughout the country to continue delivering their message denouncing and refusing the ongoing rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Military rule graffiti Egypt
An Egyptian man walks past graffiti depicting members of the military council and reading 'Down with the military rule, no to military trials for civilians' near the defense ministry in the Abbassiya district of Cairo on April 29, 2012. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

"Either a killer or a fundamentalist?  Thank you very much, I don't want this country anymore", said one women's advocate and Tahrir Square alumnus.  And all the while Egypt stews in its broth of anger and uncertainty, its economy has suffered, security has become fraught with problems, as the once-hated police no longer operate with the impunity they once exhibited, and crime soars...

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