Egypt has declared a month long “state of emergency”. But I completely disagree with political theorists who argue that Egypt’s current situation is some temporary and uncomfortable turbulence on the road to democracy, this is completely wrong. I would completely challenge any analysis which says this is a short term challenge for Egypt. Egypt has not progressed economically for a year and it’s economy has stood still. If there is one thing all economists will agree on – its that economies have to be adaptable to survive. The last years events have stalled economic growth and annihilated masses of foreign investment. Egypt shows no signs of improving, with unemployment rising to 12.5%, tourism becoming virtually non-existent and GDP free-falling there can be absolutely no argument that Egypt is in decline. It’s estimated that Egypt has lost $418 $418 million in direct investments from overseas. But the real arguments begin when one question is posed. “Who is responsible?”
Many factions are obsessed with finding a single entity to blame, some blame the West for not intervening and trying to stabilise democracy, some blame the west for constantly making statements and intervening too rapidly and too much, some blame Mumbarak for this decline, yet others say they were better off under Mumbarak. The blame culture is definitely prevalent, but importantly – the different factions of Egyptian people are increasingly over-focused in blaming one entity for the current situation and the decline which has been suffered. The situation is simply not that simple. Many factors and factions have affected Egypt’s decline and more importantly, Egypt is stuck in the past. Too not risk being left in the wastes of the 19th century, the people and factions must unite to put their differences behind them. The Muslim Brotherhood has become very prolific in their accusations, protests and allegations over the last weeks. Having gone from newly elected ruling party to deposed and militarily ousted Government in under 12 months, the Muslim Brotherhood are understandably very angry.
Many view the democratically elected president Morsi’s removal as deeply anti-democratic and as a military coup. And even as a supporter of the removal of president Morsi’s I cannot call it anything else, but I will add an adjective to this description. It was a practical removal. The streets of Egypt were completely filled with protestors, Tahrir Square was again calling for the presidents removal and such societal unrest was grinding Egypt to a complete halt. Cairo was in a state of emergency – work attendance rates were under 28%. While removing Morsi’s wasn’t the democratic thing to do, it was the practical thing to do. You could argue that if Morsi remained president, that the protestors would never have left Tahrir Square. Some times the people must be listened to, if its not by ballot box then some times a traditional peaceful revolution can be the best method of voicing dismay or abhorrence at the political and economic climate and cultures of the country. The Muslim Brotherhood however, have the right to democratically protest against this decision, however – they have lost credibility both within Egypt and world-wide for their usage of violence to retaliate against the military and this has seriously harmed any message they had that was of potential merit. But the Muslim Brotherhood haven’t just been negligent in this regard, but by using children as shields during protests they have seriously harmed their image. Endangering children’s life’s, regardless of attendance by the children being voluntary is unacceptable. They have a legal duty to protect their children from violence and not only a legal duty, but a moral duty to do so too. I disagree with their politics and their aims – but they must seriously consider how to protest against the decision as too better convey their message. As much as I disagree with the Muslim Brotherhood – the interim military administration is also completely wrong. Everyone has the democratic right to assembly, as upheld by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, no matter how potentially abhorrent their views are.
By seeking to legally dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood – the Government of Egypt seek to destroy an organisation which has the democratic right to exist. Importantly, if you suppress the Muslim Brotherhood they will only grow more extreme, and grow in number. Does the Egyptian Government really think the best way to challenge mass violence is to drive it underground and possibly make the Muslim Brotherhood powerful extremists. They are best challenged on substance, if the Government really wish to show how the Muslim Brotherhood are not fit to rule Egypt the they should challenge it on Sharia Law which is brutal and breaks the UNDHR in countless instances, their poor governing record and their recent behaviour. Equally, firing on protestors creates martyrs which is both exceptionally dangerous and creates further problems for challenging an organisation which would be further entrenched. For me Egypt can only continue to get worse, with news recently of prison riots, shootings on the streets and mass disorder, Egypt really needs not a revolution but a metamorphosis – but for once in my political career – I have to say – I’m unsure of what to suggest to fix Egypt or who holds the solution. I fear soon the only things left in Egypt could be the relics, and then the relics of Ancient Egypt.