July 5, 2013
By Dave Lefcourt
All revolutions including Egypt are messy affairs. Pres. Morsi now removed in a coups by the military faced conditions & roadblocks preventing any chance for success. The people w/ a newly found voice helped to get the authoritarian Mubarak to step down. Now it's popularly elected Morsi forced out by millions in the streets. Can any elected Egyptian pres. stabilize the country & be supported by the people? Answer? Unknown.
Mohamed Morsi - Caricature by DonkeyHotey
Caricature of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi now removed from office in a coups by the Egyptian military
Let's establish this from the outset, all revolutions, including the one in Egypt are messy affairs. Establishing representative democracy after decades of authoritarian rule and/or monarchy, as history has shown, doesn't happen without much trial and tribulation.
Just look at our own American revolution. It was fraught with mistakes and certainly wasn't favored by most of the people. The leadership was dominated by white, male landed gentry and included no women in directly establishing the government. Slavery was a divisive issue and essentially avoided.
But the American Revolution is not the focus of this piece. That focus is on Egypt and what has transpired not just in the last few days but goes all the way back to the initial Arab Spring that began in 2010 after a fruit seller in Tunisia self immolated himself protesting against the oppression of his government which became the catalyst setting off the Arab Spring not only in his country but much of the Arab world, including of course Egypt.
The intent here is not to describe a thorough history of what has transpired since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February 2011, but highlight some of the conditions and major roadblocks newly elected President Mohamed Morsi faced upon taking office in August 2012.
Remember, the newly elected people's assembly (parliament) was shut down weeks after it first met by the country's Supreme Court saying it was not representative of the majority of the Egyptian people and dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Morsi had been a member). The Court members were all holdover appointees of the former Mubarak regime, (and a major stumbling block imposed on the new president).
So with the popularly elected assembly closed down by the Court, no constitution written and approved defining the separation of powers of the president and the legislature and a holdover Supreme Court of the Mubarak regime ready and willing to oversee and reject most anything the new president wanted to initiate, Morsi had to decide how to proceed as the newly elected president of Egypt.
Morsi attempted to have the popularly elected assembly reseated but the Court remained adamant and rejected his plea.
He was able to assert, as the civilian head of the government, his authority over the military and got many of the generals that served under Mubarak to resign,(a significant development at the time).
Still the new constitution had not been written as squabbling and accusations persisted over the dominance of Muslim Brotherhood members as part of the specially formed constitutional body authorized to write the new constitution and have it before the people to accept or reject by the previously agreed upon April 2012 deadline.
So with this constitutional body in turmoil and nowhere near having a new constitution document written, Morsi pressed and demanded they have the document written and ready to be voted upon by the April deadline, (which they did). And the new Constitution was subsequently voted upon and accepted by the majority of Egyptian voters.
However Morsi's actions were seen by many of the Egyptian people as reminiscent of the authoritarian Mubarak. They also believed the new Constitution was slanted toward the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood and the initial stage for establishing Shariah Law in the country.
Though the new Constitution was approved by the voters, a significant minority of liberals, students other more secular elements of Egyptian society plus previous supporters of Mubarak continued to resist and pointedly against Morsi himself with their perceived notion he was being authoritarian, even worse than Mubarak.
Couple the political plight Morsi faced from the beginning of his taking office along with worsening economic conditions (there before he was elected), severe unemployment, power outages, a decline in tourism (a major source of income in the country), fiscal debt in the billions, (another carryover accumulated under Mubarak and most of which Morsi had no direct control over) plus his perceived authoritarian style of operating and now with millions of Egyptians in the streets demonstrating and protesting directly against Morsi, exercising their new found voice that helped to topple Mubarak 2 - years ago, it became inevitable he would be forced from office by the military in a coups ending his presidency as well as scrapping the new Constitution.
The military has vowed it has no interest in politics and has installed Adly Mansour, Egypt's chief justice, as acting president with an "agreed on road map for the future" supposedly to include all factions in the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Say what you will about Morsi, but from here in retrospect, he never had a chance to succeed. In fact it is hard to imagine anyone elected president a year ago would have established a stable Egyptian government under the same conditions Morsi faced and had to operate under.
Did Morsi make mistakes? Hell yes. Was he too forceful (authoritarian) in his approach? Probably so.
But the Egyptian people had success in getting Mubarak to step down, their chains of fear, inhibition and political lethargy replaced with a new found voice and a demand they be heard and the government responsive to them or else.
But a truly democratic representative government involves compromise and working with the opposition to resolve the problems and issues facing the country and its people. That condition doesn't yet exist in Egypt.
What does seem to exist are unrealistic expectations by millions of Egyptian people that an elected president of Egypt should be able to deliver on all the problems and issues facing the people or else be removed from office.
In the new political circumstances in Egypt can civil war be avoided between the former opposition groups massed against Morsi and Morsi supporters, Islamists and particularly the Muslim Brotherhood? Can any new president succeed in stabilizing the country, have a real representative democracy take hold and be supported by the majority of people?
Questions abound. Successful answers? As yet unknown.
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Retired. The author of "DECEIT AND EXCESS IN AMERICA, HOW THE MONEYED INTERESTS HAVE STOLEN AMERICA AND HOW WE CAN GET IT BACK", Authorhouse, 2009