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This Egyptian struggle transcends borders

January 23, 2014 at 4:29 am

What is going on in Egypt is not merely a political crisis but also an Egyptian struggle which transcends borders and will, no doubt, affect the Islamic world, putting the latter at a crossroads. Will the people rise up for freedom from external influences or will they revert to an era of slavery the extent of which only God knows?

This struggle is not about President Mohamed Morsi; it is about the hijacking of the democratic will of the people and their revolution. The disastrous effects of the coup will not be contained within Egypt’s borders; all Arabs will despair at ever being able to rise against their authoritarian regimes. The resultant frustration and loss of confidence will delegitimise the Arab will in the eyes of the international community.

Even if we assume, for argument sake, that President Morsi was the worst president in the history of mankind, a failure in politics and government. This does not justify exceeding the bounds of the constitution to be rid of him. The overthrow of a democratically-elected president provides the basis for an endless cycle of chaos and confusion. No future president of Egypt can ever feel secure in the mandate given by the electorate or expect to serve a full term in office. Every president has millions of people who did not vote for him, but that doesn’t give them the right to overturn the votes of those who did support him and throw him out of office. From now on, the only president who can be sure of his position is the one who gets 99.9 per cent of the vote, and we all know what that means.

By allowing the democratic experience to be pushed aside in this way the people of Egypt have lost the respect of the world. The US has added to this by expressing support for the military-appointed “interim” government.

If President Morsi is to be blamed for anything at all it is lack of experience, which is hardly surprising given our presidential history. If we opt for a president with experience of governance in the discredited Mubarak regime, then why did we have the revolution in the first place?

Whatever the issue is with Morsi, it is a disagreement that is based on details. As long as we have a proper democratic system, we will be able to fix our problems by heading to the ballot box. The coup embodies a deep-rooted problem between the will of the people and the full return of Mubarak’s regime and all of its negative characteristics. Should we let our disagreements on the details distract us from our real revolution?

The disadvantages of the coup are far greater than any of its justifications. In a few days, we have seen Morsi’s opponents commit countless crimes against peaceful protestors and we have seen them dissolve democracy. The revolution is being hijacked and the old regime is coming back in all but name. The Arab world’s enemies are mocking us and they have lost any respect they had for Egypt after the January 25th Revolution. Are we, therefore, going to unite and save the revolution or revert to a dictatorship that will last another forty years or more?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.