Monday, July 8, 2013

Egypt Emerging on yahoo
The revolution continues.  Egypt's democracy is emerging.  But it won't be easy. It won't be easy because the Islamists won't accept the will of the people.

Morsi could have stepped up to Mandela status and listened.  He could have included more voices in his regime. He could have vetted the new constitution with people outside of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Muslim Brotherhood could have agreed to engage in a democratic process.  Show in practice that they know what democracy means. They could have accepted other points of view, rather than talking about democracy and acting like tyrants.  Now they are inciting violence, begging for violence, killing Christians and other minorities who disagree with them, acting more like terrorists than citizens, keeping Egypt in turmoil rather than promoting a peaceful transition that the majority wants.  Really, I don't think they care about what the majority want.

Can the Islamists swallow their anger, get out of revenge mode, and step up, for the good of the whole. Have they ever done this?  We can acknowledge the critical role they played in ousting Mubarek from power, a grassroots uprising.  But did they have to install an Islamist Mubarek-type government after all that?  Did they have to turn the Arab Spring on its head? Couldn't they have been among the first Islamist government to stand for a real democracy, a secular state with separation of church and state, open and tolerant? That's the real Egypt and they know that.

I am hooked on what's happening in Egypt because I love the country and its people.  The Egyptian ambassador, Mohammed Tawfit, has told the true story: the ouster of Morsi was not a coup: it is a correction on Egypt's path to democracy begun in the Arab spring.

When Morsi was elected, hope ran high.  Tawfit and many like him suppored Morsi, hoping he would get a new democratic government on track. Now THAT would have been a revolution!  Instead, Morsi did the opposite.  When you refuse to open up the government to other than Islamist voices, when  you call for jihad, and start calling opponents "infidels,"  you are not running a democratic government.  You are imposing a totalitarian Islamist government on the majority of the people who hoped for better and want a democracy.

The Muslim Brotherhood is showing it's true colors by inciting violence and refusing to participate in a new process.  They are talking democracy and acting like extremist religious nuts.  That's the worst aspect of this whole thing: the Islamists can't seem to rise up to expectations for a tolerant democracy that includes many voices.

So Egypt remains in crisis.  We all hope the interim president can hurry up and offer new elections and begin again the promise of the Arab Spring. When it comes to the Middle East, I always say "hope springs eternal."
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