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Do Egypt's Liberals Care About Democracy?


World  (tags: world, politics, Egypt, violence against women, society, news, violence, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', freedoms, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!' )

Cal
- 378 days ago - theweek.com
Many of the same people who opposed Mubarak's authoritarianism are now applauding the return of martial law



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Comments

Kit B. (276)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 9:19 am

While things do seem dire for Egypt right now, I think I will wait to pass judgement. The expected dates for the election are after the New Year in the interim a committee to work on the structure of the constitution has many issues to deal with. That the current protests are engineered by the Muslim Brotherhood are causing a great deal of strife, and have the specific intent of making things look bad, all is not lost. The people want a democratic government, they are willing to go on fighting to rid themselves of the likes of Mubarak and Morsi. I think we should not be so harsh, when things can still change for the best. Any country that bring millions of people to protest against a leader, must know they want a change. What the change will be, how it will look, is still unknown. We are so mentally conditioned to the "fast food" way of life, we forget things take time to evolve.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (453)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 12:20 pm
It sounds like the typical Egyptian wants a democracy with a Shari's Law base. In other words, they want it all. Fortunately, the cabiet formed has no Brotherhood members. If come election time, these people can actually win, it will be a huge win for Egypt- like it or not.
 

Ljiljana Milic (100)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 4:32 pm
Thank You for this very enlightening (for me) article, exactly regarding puzzling information I’ we couldn’t figure out well.
 

Vicky P. (463)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 4:56 pm
Liberals are different there..there's many parties that call themselves Liberal but applaud this type of crap.
 

S J. (116)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 4:59 pm
It's very interesting to me and political scientists. So call 'liberals' may not in the sense mostly understand in the books or classrooms perhaps. Recently, some 'liberals' in Thailand invited military coup!!! So lovely. these countries including in Arab springs have long long way to go from now. They will need some time to learn until they find a peaceful ways to settle down. Until then so many more will have to sacrifice, I m afraid and I can be one of them sooner or later.

Thanks Cal.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 5:42 pm
Average Egyptians do want democracy like they see in the West. The problem is that democracy is built upon a whole lot of traditions and social institutions. Some are not present in Egypt, and the need for them is not publicized in the West either because they are so ingrained in our cultures that we don't even notice them or because they are now seen as distasteful.

For example, the victorious side must limit its attempts to push its agenda to the degree to which it won the election, not pushing too hard after winning with a slim majority and never push so hard that the defeated side sees violence as preferable to waiting until the next election. The losing parties must trust that these limits will be upheld, be willing to wait until the next election to reclaim power, and be willing to accept defeat in that one too if that's how the vote goes. Such trust is only built by long-term maintenance of the tradition of limited mandate. We often don't even think about how the power to control a vote in legislature does not traditionally lead victors to totally ignore the demands and interests of the defeated because this is just so ingrained in Western society. The Western tradition of limited interference with the defeated side only developed as a result of traditional terms of conquest/surrender among empires from Babylon through Rome. I don't know who here has read my comments elsewhere about the difference between classical empires and the Caliphates in reference to peacemaking in the Middle East, but this is a totally different (confirming) consequence of the same thing. Former Caliphate-territories do not have this tradition. Some had it before, but the Caliphate's traditional assimilation wiped it out

Another example is the loyalty to the constitution. The loyalty can't come from agreement with every article because leaders will be elected who disagree, and that's when the loyalty is most important. It can't come from deterrence by the law because those enforcing the law also have political loyalties and may side with the leaders. It really cannot come from anything practical and rational. The loyalty is ingrained in the culture and traditionally upheld by nearly the entire population of a country because the country as a unit is seen as supporting the constitution. That's the hallmark of fascism. I can't be more clear: Loyalty to the democratic system must be fundamentally fascist. Without fascism, we can't have constitutional democracy. It's just a matter of keeping that fascist loyalty to a fair document rather than a party or a policy of governance. This "dirty secret" of democracy is so distasteful that not only do Westerners rarely mention it, but it too is being eroded here though slowly. Arabs have no tradition at all of fascism. (Some people refer to religious politics as "fascist", but the legitimacy of religious law is not derived from peer-pressure so that's a misnomer.)

There are more problems, but I think it's clear: Democracy is, for the moment at least, a lost cause in Egypt. I think Egyptian liberals just recognized that.
 

GGmaSheila D. (164)
Saturday August 17, 2013, 6:37 pm
Read and noted with a lack of understanding some of the fine points of democracy over there compared to our supposed democracy here.
Thank you Stephen for some explanation - that helped some of my lack.
 

John S. (301)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 3:51 am
Democracy, most people don't. But I really wish people would realize what a republic is and why it is better.
 

. (0)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 8:15 am
Probably not. All they are care about is repressing the people.
 

Louise D. (38)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 10:50 am
The situation is that Morsi betrayed the very ideals that put him in power. Immediately before the June 30 protests, his administration was set to order the arrest of a number of liberal journalists and media personalities, and had already arrested notable opposition activists on charges like " ... insulting Islam, mocking prayers, and 'belittling' Morsi in the eyes of the world and his own people." Jailed activists were also tortured in prison. In one of the most notable cases, activist Mohammed El-Gendy was tortured to death while in prison. Meanwhile, Morsi attempted to strengthen his power by granting himself immunity from the country's supreme court, rendering him unaccountable to government institutions. Perhaps most absurdly, he appointed a member of Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya – the group responsible for perpetrating the infamous Luxor terrorist attack that killed 62 people in 1997 and a United States-designated terrorist group – as the mayor of Luxor. It was obvious that Morsi was merely becoming a dictator. The Army in Egypt was the only alternative, so it is not so much that liberals don't care about democracy it is that there has never been a tradition of democracy in Egypt in the first place.
 

Rehana VN (0)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 11:00 am
Still dont understand the military intervention to remove Morsi.He was democratically elected,the first democratic election in about 31 years with dictator Mubarak at the helm. Also seems strange that in thefew countries where decratic elections took place where so called conservatives won, the military moved in. A sinister "interference" by a western country.Just a thought!
 

Marija Mohoric (51)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 11:41 am
Thank you for the info. Very caotic situation.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 11:42 am
I have an idea; how about we just stay out of it and let the Egyptians solve their own problems in their own way? They've been doing so for a lot longer than we've been around. Remember Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini? He doesn't get back to Iran unless Carter gives the word for him to return from his exiled position in France. He lived quite comfortably there too. Remember how the Ayatollah repaid him?
Dear Rehana, the election was stolen just as it is in many of the countries and among peoples such as the Palestinians. Democratic elections are a joke to them, not that they aren't a very poor one in the US and Canada these days. The Muslim Brotherhood is the grandfather of many of today's terrorist organizations. They weren't doing what the rest of the people wanted or expected them to do. The majority of the people in Egypt don't want Sharia law or the extremist version of their society. What the Army is doing is stopping the attempt to install the same type of thing that happened in Turkey. Turkey used to be one of the most moderate and modern Islamic countries in the world.
 

Colleen L. (2)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 12:28 pm
I agree with the posts asking that the US stays of their businesses. Let them grow by accomplishing their goals. Thanks Cal
 

Birgit W. (144)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 12:40 pm
I don't have the knowledge to respond to this article. Thank you.
 

Roger Garin-michaud (61)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 1:30 pm
better a militay rule for a few months than the dictature of Sharia law for years...
they are not in power any more but islamists have already burnt down 25 churches and killes hundreds of christians...
Therefore Al Sissi is right in calling his actions a fight against terrorism
 

Yvonne White (231)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 3:23 pm
You might as well ask if American Liberals care about Democracy..it's really hard to tell these days. I think America is too messed up to be dictating to other countries.
 

Lee Hampton (15)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 5:24 pm
Amen, Roger

The Egyptian Salafis are already threatening to burn down more churches as well as go on suicide bombing missions against even secular Egyptian Muslims.

Like Adolph Hitler, Morsi was elected to office, complete derailed whatever democracy there was. There would have been one vote, one time. Democracy doesn't mean just being elected, it's also running a government according to democratic principles and that exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood didn't do.

Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood had his men rape women so that they would be forced to dress in Islamic bags, tortured people who weren't part of the Salafis or Brotherhood. Morsi power grabbed everything he could. They and the Salafis started burning Churches, continued kidnapping, raping and forced conversion of Christians, attacking Christian men.

The Muslim Brotherhood operates on a gradualist principle, and it works very well, especially with naďve European and U.S. governments, where because the MB guys don't have beards, wear suits, hide their agenda, they're looked on as moderates. In fact they are fascists, and a good part of their history, including from its inception by leader Hasan Al-Bana was intimately bound with the Nazis.

The Nazis generously funded Al-Bana and the Brotherhood, gave them huge amounts of weapons, trained MB soldiers and told them how to use dishonest propaganda. There is no one in Egypt who doesn't know that these people are terrorists and want Shari'a for all. The end goal is just like the Wahabis, Salafis, Al Qaeda: a global Caliphate. These people need to be stopped and wiped out.

The secularists do care about democracy, although it may not be just like ours. They know that there will never, ever be one while the MB is in the game.

The military, secularists, etc., are all FAR better than what the MB has to offer.
 

Billie C. (2)
Sunday August 18, 2013, 10:19 pm
we need to stay out of it. let the people of egypt handle it, they will decide what they want and fight for it.
becoming free has always been messy and not peaceful. leave them alone.
 

Yvonne Taylor (41)
Monday August 19, 2013, 4:03 am
I cannot even understand why all of a sudden we are siding with Terrorists, and saying they are peaceful demonstrations by Morisis backers! I cannot figure out what our country wants to gain for taking the side of the Terrorists, yes Terrorists, they are NOT peaceful demonstrators. The Army there works for the PEOPLE, not the Government. These Terrorists, Morisi backers, have thrown kids off buildings, peaceful demonstrators do not attack a police station with RPG and kill the police chief and his deputies, strip them of their clothes and drag their naked bodies down the street. Peaceful demonstrators do not threaten Christians with genocide as many of the Muslim Brotherhood declared in hate speeches from the sit-in stage. Peaceful demonstrators do not raise the black flags of al-Qaida while marching with pictures of bin Laden and al Zawahri on their chests. While the Western media was focusing on the clearing of the sit-ins, more than 45 attacks were made on Christian installations across Egypt, resulting in the torching of 19 churches and cathedrals, some built in the 6th Century. How can these be the ones the U.S.A. will never negotiate with while the U.S. government demands that Egyptians not only negotiate with them but also partner with them in the building of modern Egypt? Quoting the Christian Monitor, well there you go, such a reliable group, LOL This is such an uninformed and biased article, like most our media articles are! Let's keep religion out as well, this is about freedom and SHOULD be about the repression and violence that Morisis backers are guilty of. The rule of (deposed President Mohammed) Morsi showed how in less than a year they abused the people, reneged on their promises and overturned the rule of law by issuing constitutional dictates monopolizing the judiciary as well as the legislative arms of the state. This was enough to impeach any president in a democratic nation. Unfortunately, Egyptians couldn’t refer to their Supreme Court as it was besieged by thugs. This turned into another Dictator, how can you successfully vote in a new President under a Dictatorship? THE PEOPLE were successful with peaceful demonstration, as much as possible, of ousting him, with the help of the Army now, who are only interim, so that a Democratic process can be held.
 

Lona Goudswaard (68)
Monday August 19, 2013, 4:55 am
Egypt will have it's own type of democracy in due time, but it may not be something the US will recognise as such, because it can usually looks at the world through its own special kind of glasses. It starts with analysing the situation from the American perspective and calling the opposition of the Muslim Brotherhood "liberals". They are probably nothing of the sort except that they want a secular government and constitution. Apart from that, there is little that unites them and that was exactly the reason they couldn't come up with a united national party at election time.

Labelling them liberals is putting the American stamp on things and trying to fit it into the American mould, and not realizing that liberals elsewhere, for instance in Europe, are something quite different, and these Egyptians are something different altogether.

Unless we are prepared to look at the situation unbiased and not expect our definition of democracy to be the one to emerge in Egypt, this country will not have a chance to find out what is RIGHT for THEM.
 

Lloyd H. (46)
Monday August 19, 2013, 6:45 am
It is really difficult to know where to begin in responding to a question, "Do Egyptian Liberals...", that is based on so many assumptions that are fallacious. The big problem is that the American political labels liberal and conservative do not have the same meaning in any other country. Those who back the ousting of Morsi are the moderates, the left of center and the left. And to be clear Mubarak, was another self-serving dictator backed by the US and others as a hold over from the Cold War and a buffer for Israel, Morsi once in power showed himself to be a power hungry Theocrat with no interest in the economic plight of the Egyptian people. While it is true that the Egyptian Constitution was some what weak on separation of powers and the ability of the separate powers to control each other the article far to easily dismisses the fact that Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood effectively bulldozed all checks and balances on the Executive leaving only the Egyptian Military with the ability to stop the Morsi power grab.
 

Winn Adams (191)
Monday August 19, 2013, 7:06 am
Noted - Thanks
 

Kenneth Davies (0)
Monday August 19, 2013, 7:26 am
noted
 

bob m. (32)
Wednesday August 21, 2013, 12:06 pm


@ S.B... wel wel.. Arabs (islamists) have no tradition of fascism... (.Verrry interesting).(.Laughin).... must nbe the season of the witch....or was it SS fascist divisions in Nazi legions...maybe just an innocent propensity fo JOO hunting...nothing to doo with islam?
 
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