Saturday, June 16, 2012

How democratic do we want Egypt to be?

A woman voted at a polling station in Cairo on Saturday. By
When the Egyptian military dissolved Parliament this week, just before the presidential runoff that will likely result the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood winning, what was that huge sigh of relief I heard? We stand here, that shining city on the hill, espousing Democracy to the world but we get nervous when the likely winners of the democratic process will be a party who wants to see a return to Shariah law. Is that fair?

If we consider that Shariah law in Egypt will likely result in less freedoms than the people enjoyed under Mubarak's dictatorship, maybe that is fair. We have Iran as a perfect example of what can happen. Are women better off in Iran now or under the Shah? How about political protesters?

Northern Africa has consistently resorted to military coups to repress the emergence of an Islamic party so it's no surprise to see it happening again. While an Islamist may win the presidency, with a dissolved parliament, the generals will hold the real power in the country.

Politics makes strange bedfellows and I see the American leaders bedding down with the Egyptian generals to head off an Islamist-led Egypt. But it makes me a little ill to see it. What happened to the passion we saw in Tahrir square last spring? Why did all these people choose to support a party that will take away their freedom? Why couldn't there be a moderate leader who could lead from a secular angle, bringing Egypt into the 21st century and putting it in the forefront of the region?

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