04 July 2013

Egypt - the first tentative (mis)steps of democracy

Interestingly (or not) two great progressive newspapers are echoing one another on the subject of Egypt military coup*.

NYT editorial:

Despite his failings, and there were plenty, President Mohamed Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, and his overthrow by the military on Wednesday was unquestionably a coup. It would be tragic if Egyptians allowed the 2011 revolution that overthrew the dictator Hosni Mubarak to end with this rejection of democracy.
Guardian editorial:
If Egypt's army had wanted to disguise the fact that what they had just done was carry out a military coup, they made a poor job of it. Without mentioning Mohamed Morsi by name, the head of the army General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi effectively declared the removal of Egypt's first democratically elected president by appointed the head of the supreme constitutional court as interim head of state. No one in Egypt knows who this man Adli Mansour is. But he will be the face, or rather the fig leaf, of the people who write constitutional decrees.
In the latter case, so indignant was the writer that s/he didn't even proofread the text ("by appointed the head"), but essentially they both are right: it is a military coup and as such a blow to the democracy. Or is it? After all, what was this unprecedented wave of the protests against the Muslim Brotherhood undemocratic ways of managing the Egypt affairs, if not an expression of democracy in action?

But whatever I say will be not good enough, let's listen to people who know much better what they are talking about, like The Big Pharaoh:
The failure of Westerners to understand why Egyptians revolted against an elected regime is stemming from the fact that they, the Westerners, are secured in their inclusive constitutions, bills of rights and rule of law. We have nothing of these. We only had one facet of democracy – election – which brought a cultic organization with a fascist twist that decided to cancel the other facets.

Why did Egyptians vote for the MB if they were so dreadful? Well, they didn’t know. They did a mistake. The Germans voted for a mass murderer and the Italians voted for a fascist. We have the right to make mistakes too. We’re not better than the Germans and the Italians.

(*) Yes, not being a White House Grand Poobah, I can allow myself to use the word.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Pharaoh has a point. Elections alone do not democracies make, no matter how charmed Wormtongue and his minions were by them.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Indeed. The road to democracy isn't finished by elections. Not in places that never had democracy before.