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Democracy? Not So Fast!

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But it's critical that the nation-builders of Tahrir Square keep in mind that the only real changes made thus far have been to the cast of characters at the top: The president, the vice-president, the prime minister, the cabinet.

 

But the institutions are still where they were on January 24th. The procedures haven't changed. The infrastructure hasn't changed. No laws have been changed, including the so-called Emergency Law. The police haven't changed. Their qualifications haven't changed. How they view their mission hasn't changed.

 

All these and many more issues are going to have to be addressed   as the nation-building task goes forward. Police brutality -- whether military or civilian -- won't stop by itself.

 

So Step One is getting someone in authority to simply say "stop" and then monitor the situation to see if instructions are being observed.

 

Step Two would be a team of law enforcement professionals to take a rigorous look at the criminal justice system, starting with   arrest and detention.

 

Step Three has to be the development of long-term strategic plan whose goals is to professionalize the performance of Egypt's law enforcement apparatus. And provide incentives for interrogators not to morph into murderers.

 

And Step Four is going to be designing and implementing a system of oversight and accountability.

 

In the euphoria of post-revolutionary Egypt, it would be tempting to forget police brutality. But that would be like leaving a large chunk of Mubarak behind.

 

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
 
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