The Egyptian Spring: Chapter 2

 

Protests spark revolutions, revolutions mark change but that change is sometimes an undesired product. Egypt has shown that the paradox of a protest is sometimes its only inevitable outcome. Inspired by Mohammed Bouazizi’s self immolation in front of the Tunisian parliament, Egypt rose to the global media fore demanding a change, and most West Asian ‘totalitarian’ countries followed suit in a process that came to be casually known as the ‘Arab Spring’.

When Mohammed Morsi was declared the 5th President of Egypt, the country danced to tunes of democracy after being under Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship for over 30 years. Morsi’s Freedom for Justice Party, founded during the Arab Spring, was a direct product of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its anti-capitalist, orthodox Islamic standpoint saw it win the majority’s approval and this change brought with it hopes of peace and stabilization of the nation. However, Morsi’s usurpation of unlimited power to ‘protect the nation’ did not go down too well with the public in general. To add to that, his support of passing a referendum on an Islamist supported draft constitution and the disastrous economic state of the country, opposition began gathering in numbers across Cairo and Alexandria chanting choruses of democracy and secularism.

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What is the future of Egypt? | Image source: theatlantic.com

On the 3rd of July the army staged a coup and General Abdul Fata al-Sisi removed Morsi before suspending the constitution. However, there was support for the ousted President as thousands took to the streets demanding for his reinstatement. And, as was expected, clashes broke out leaving over 60 dead amidst demands for a peaceful protest by the Muslim Brotherhood. The newly elected cabinet by the interim President Adly Mansour comprises only Liberal figures and how the pro-Islamists react to it will be a major concern. Failures leading to the blame-game have been projected around with the US receiving much of the unwanted attention. Both pro-Morsi and pro-Liberals have blamed the US for its role post the 2011 protests. Whatever be it, if one understands the pattern, the future is likely to be marred by deaths, sexual offences, huge waves of anti- establishment crimes and unwarranted counteractions.

Alaa Reqaby, a supporter of Morsi, feels that the army’s political interference is purely selfish rather than a testament to the people’s sentiments. “Mr. Morsi will be back, he will be back. Yes, we can. I want to say to Obama; Yes, we can,” said Alaa Reqaby. However, the complexity of the situation in Egypt is rather interesting because it seems as if two forms of governance are happening alternately. The current liberal form is somewhat similar to Mubarak’s anti-Islamist, pro-development (economic and social especially) style of governance. Morsi’s conservative approach served as the much needed change for many pro-Islamists who were especially against Mubarak’s stance on Israel. Obviously it was corruption that got Mubarak removed but going back to the same political pattern will spell uncertainty as is evident with the increasing support for Mohammed Morsi. Hence, when protestors like Reqaby see the rising sun everyday as a symbol of hope and peace, the more logical tangent would be a doubt which asks: ‘Where exactly is Egypt heading?’