One year of experiment in democracy in Egypt. The outcome is coup! The tragic end was a bit expected! At least, a fortnight in advance!
Democracy took many hundred years in Europe to mature. It had a price tag on it with enormous human sacrifice and endless hard work.
But with Mohammad Morsi, the first ever democratically elected president in Egypt, people expected too much and in little time for him to deliver. It is ironic.
In electoral democracy, power lies in parliament and the elected head of the state is held up by the constitution.
In the case of Mohammad Morsi, nothing worked in his favour, neither Parliament nor the Constitution. They were the helpless spectators.
What caused his removal is a few thousand protesters, ostensibly his opponents, who by any reason, did not like to see him in office.
The army took it as ‘a legitimate demand of the people’, thus showing Morsi the door.
In future, if the same drama happens with another elected leader, will the army take the same excuse as that of ‘the will of the people’ to remove an elected head from power? It is anybody’s guess!
If it so happens, that is indeed the mockery of democracy. Then what has caused Morsi’s exit? There are three sides of the story:
First, In post-revolution Egypt, Hosni Mubarak-era media owners, Mubarak regime loyalists, and key members of Egypt’s liberal and secular opposition have teamed up to create arguably one of the most effective propaganda campaigns in recent political history.
In a matter of months, these forces have managed to demonize Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Second, the lack of objectivity in Egyptian news is perhaps very common, given the reality that many Egyptian journalists perceive themselves more as political activists than as watchdogs. Others suggest that Egyptian journalism suffers from an overall lack of professionalism.
One consistent discourse that has emerged in recent months in Egypt defines the Muslim Brotherhood as un-Egyptian.
Third, Egypt has the largest standing military in the Arab world, estimated at 450,000 troops.
For decades, however, its tens of thousands of elite officers have jealously guarded their privileged station. They live as a class apart, with their own social clubs, hotels, hospitals, parks and other benefits financed by the state.
Many have also grown wealthy through government contracts and business deals facilitated by their positions. It is, in some respects, a hereditary, in which sons follow their fathers’ careers and they all live inside a closed social circle.
“It is a tightly knit group,” said Robert Springborg, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and an expert on the Egyptian military.
“They tend to think alike and they are a force to be reckoned with because, besides the Brotherhood, they are the only really cohesive institution in the country.”
For six decades before the revolution in 2011, military men ruled Egypt. The Brotherhood had been outlawed before the revolution. The military distrusted Mr. Morsi’s Islamist background who wanted it (the military) to retreat from politics.
Those who celebrate must not forget that ‘the military has never been a force for democracy’.
“The liberals and the revolutionaries are too quick to hop into bed with the military —it is not their friend,” said Mr. Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations in USA.
“The most important thing from the military’s perspective is preserving its place as the locus of power and influence in the system.”
It would be tragic if Egyptians allowed the 2011 revolution that overthrew the dictator Hosni Mubarak to end with this rejection of democracy.
Genuinely, any claims of Egyptian democracy stand hollow without Mr. Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in general. They have a place in any emerging new political order.
The Muslim Brotherhood have the members who are competent and disciplined managers. They would be a worthy partner in any vision for future Egypt. One only has to look to Iraq for how excluding major interest groups creates continued strife.