Welcoming Egypt to the World of Democracy

The Struggle for a Democratic Future

Egypt’s transition is best described by going through the more than one hundred metaphors that fill Cairo. The metaphors are incoherent and fragmented, meaning that Egypt has come a long way before becoming the nation it is today. Egypt has a looming revolution that can be seen from the way its citizens react, and the manner in which they wish away any manner of distraction from attaining their intended purpose. The absence of a well fixed system in Egypt gives citizens some degree of hope. The country was set to experience confrontations and strikes, especially the battles that used to ensue between security personnel and protesters at the famous Tahrir Square. The old regime aspired to have their order last forever but protesters were determined to lead Egypt through murky waters that would eventually result in a free Egypt.

The country has gone through the so called liberalized autocracy since 1974, and no one was willing to see the same go past February 2011.

The country was between a rock and a hard place, since everyone was fighting to gain control. Egypt is a critical country in the MIddle East, and the groups that are fighting–liberals, radical religious battalions, and the military–knew too well that one had to give up so that a given group would lead. There was no single group that was about to give in. The three main groups had huge followers and millions of demonstrators filled the Egyptian streets to try and gain an upper hand.

The young generation, which was the largest group among the demonstrators, was interpreting the incoherence thereof as a means of diverting the main course of war and therefore bringing confusion. It is this group of young persons that led the protests that eventually brought to an end the administration of Hosni Mubarak. Most of them held the opinion that the army sought fresh rejuvenation and reinvention through incorporating the Muslim Brethren, as well as the people who remained from the National Democratic Party which was led by Hosni Mubarak. Such an alignment was to leave the liberals with no other choice other than to turn to the military so as to be guaranteed protection. Such an arrangement was done in Turkey and the founders of Egypt expressed fear that the country they fought so hard for would be returning to the reigns of a single person who rules unilaterally.

Islamists were also fearful that the military might be ruling without governing. This was a theory that was put forward by a famous scholar, Steven A. Cook.

[Source: The Atlantic]

The old Muslim brethren have not forgotten 1954, the fateful year where the political arena was liberalized by free officers and Gamal Abdel Nasser. Therefore, even if the Islamic leaders have had cordial relations with the perceived group of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), they were still wary of the welcome they received, saying that it could have been a signal of a stronger fist later on.

The behavior of the military was erratic and this led to similar fears shared by the secularists and the Islamists. Once they entered the political arena, the army generals who were in charge of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) were continuously improving. Since the improvement of the army was perceived as a positive thing to the political arena of Egypt, the majority of the people found themselves aligned to the army hoping that they would get protection once the struggle was over.

The aim of the military in any political war is first and foremost to assure corporate investors and stakeholders that their wealth is protected, hence protecting the economy from sinking deeper. The military was also ready to offer protection to the elites in politics and business. It is for this purpose that the military was always at the ready, even going to an extent of putting the former president, a few prominent persons, and his sons, on trial. However, a majority of the political elites and fortune tellers saw the move as a mere popular maneuver by the military. The military desired to win a smooth transition, while at the same time assuring the socio-political elite the country was intact. The have-your-cake-and-eat-it strategy worked since the military employed it tactically.