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Democracy in Egypt
In 2009, countries of the Arabian descent took to the streets in rebellion to the aristocratic leadership they have been subdued under for years. The wave of demonstrations and coup detats spread over North Africa with Egypt being among the countries that were affected. Two years later, the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by the government through a military coup. Egyptians sought to the streets proclaiming victory over the aristocratic leader’s exit from the palace. The President was acquitted with several violations of the human rights and other atrocities under his reign. (Bukay2007) It is purported that the struggle for democracy was fostered by the Western country of the United States with the primary aim to westernize the Arabian country. Some reports indicate that the dynamo effect of the revolution was because of the consequent subsequent revolutions in other countries. Nonetheless, the question remains whether democracy will prevail in the Arabian country. Considering the cultural and the media factors, will Egypt’s struggle for democracy actually bear fruit? To this effect, the purpose of the paper is to analyze sources of information on the particular topic.
The main purpose of the paper is to delineate the United States involvement in the democratic struggle in Egypt with reference to Putnam’s work on the Arabian countries’ revolution. Moreover, the paper will discuss why democracy will not prevail in the country provided that the cultural, historical, religious and ideological views still held firmly in the country.
The democratic revolution
It is purported that the United States has been at the forefront in the struggle or the support for the revolution in the North African countries. The U.S. supports a strong, affluent and democratic Egypt that responds to the aspirations of its peoples. It believes that the outcomes of elections and the shape of Egypt’s new democracy are for the Egyptian people to decide. The U.S.’s support for the transition to civilization is aimed at aiding the citizens in building democratic institutions as well as fair processes that offer greater opportunity. Moreover, provide for accountability plus the participation in political life. However, the United States does not support or fund any candidates or political parties. (Embassy of the US2015) The United States funded the after revolution events worth sixty million dollars for the programs supporting the revolution. The United States supports such endeavors in the name of partnerships. Therefore, the nation is focused solely on the immediate priorities that the Egyptians had identified including holding of free and fair elections, empowering citizens to play a role in their country’s future and the protection and expansion of the universal rights. Moreover, the United States sought to expand in the civil society and the building democratic institutions that are transparent and accountable. The main agenda of the United States is to provide the support of the independent Egypt that represent the rights and the interests of the people. Nevertheless, are the good will intentions of the super power possible to relegate the democratic revolutions of the nation? Are the actions of the United States credible with the medieval factors that still govern the society such as religion and culture? There have been former studies conducted by political scientists on the success of such western countries in forging for the move to democracy in Arabian countries. Among them is Putnam whose main life’s work is to address the issue in the Middle East. Putnam’s view on Democracy and the Arab nations Putnam is a political scientist whose main interests were on the ideology of democracy and revolution. He performed a study on the equality of the Arabian countries and its significance to the development of the nations. In his studies, he argues that most students of the novel democracies, which have emerged over the previous decade and beyond, have emphasized the significance of a robust and active civil society in relation to the Alliance of democracy. This is especially in relation to the post-communist nations, scholars, as well as democratic activists who have also complained about the obliteration of norms of independent civic engagement, as well as a broad tendency toward reflexive reliance on the state. He purports that for the people who are concerned about civil societies’ weakness, within the post-communist and developing world, the developed Western democracies and particularly the UDS have generally been considered as models to be emulated. Nevertheless, over the previous several decades, it has emerged that the vibrancy associated with the American Civil society has declined. (Shafick2013)
It is clear that democracy will never work in Egypt because of many reasons. The situation in the Middle East is now more dangerous and chaotic as compared to how it was years ago. The enthusiasm that was linked to yesteryear has now proved to be entirely misguided. Moreover, it has contributed to the chaos is Egypt, as well as anarchy in Libya. The people who are interested in being on the appropriate side of history, realize that they are on the erroneous face as far as the argument is concerned. This means that democracy is precisely not the solution for societies that are extremely involved and the fact that the Western keeps on meddling. That only makes matters immensely worse. The main arguments that democracy as it is understood simply cannot work within the Middle East nations where tribe, family, sect and personal friendships outplay the device of the state. Democracy cannot work in Egypt because all the Middle East nations have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are societies, which can never be controlled by the decree of law. Thus, some scholars have defined them as “favor for favor” cultures. This suggests that in Egypt what usually happens that whenever individuals face particular problems, they often seek help from relatives or people of their own tribe or who live within the same locality as them. Furthermore, such requests of seeking assistance are rarely refused because those people tend to have very strong ties. Moreover, in states where social security is ineffective, people’s future security only depends on the usual extensive family.
Democracy will remain to be a dream in Egypt because is that state behind the chaotic structure lies the secret police, as well as the armed forces. They are known to hold the nation together under the protection of the president who rules. The leader maintains the various elements of society whole holding concessions to every group, but the leaders also possess authority,which can be exercised in relation to how the public can understand. Democracy has also failed to work in Middle East countries such as Egypt because the West has abjectly failed in understanding the inner workings of such nations, and that has brought about some disastrous impacts. Iraq can be used as a classic example. For instance, the invasion that occurred in Iraq only made matters worse in spite of the negative e deeds of Saddam. The fact that the US invaded that nation, the stability of the Gulf was destroyed, and it was an enormous impact since the Gulf had since 1979, depended on a tripod consisting of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Consequently, the Iranians now have the ability to govern the Gulf region. (Orttung & Walker 2012) The term democracy can be defined as the system of governance where the people vote for their representatives in direct democracy or indirect democracy. It is explained that he Islamic culture is in line with the term democratic. Nonetheless, how is democratic if a large portion of the world’s political system is in opposition to the Islamic culture and laws? First, the law and the culture do not permit commoners or people of lower classes to hold any political positions in the government or any other post? Islamists argue that the parliamentary democracy and representative elections are not only compatible with the Islamic law, but it also encourages freedom. It is mostly done in two ways: either they twist the definitions to suit the apparatus of the Islamic governance such as the term democracy or they bend the reality of life in Muslim countries to fit their theories. (Amid2015) It is arguable that the term democracy has a myriad of meanings and a variety at that. Every culture molds its own democratic government and, therefore, a religious freedom can ensue.
There is the argument that Islamic movements have internalized the democratic discourse through the concepts of shura –consultation- and ijma-consensus-. It is, therefore, implied that the ideology of democracy already exists in the Muslim nations. It is consequently, reaffirmed through the minority revolutions where the move to overthrow the Egyptian president was due to his dictatorial leadership and not due to westernization. The strong argument will be that he other Arabian nations that still follow the Islamic laws will not let the influence of the Western world become apparent. In addition, how will democracy be reached if issues such as women rights and freedom are far from being realized? Years and years of protests in the western world on the stringent Muslim laws and the forceful submission of the woman on the expense of the male superiority and liberties have been practiced. If the argument that the Arab nations are democratic, then the struggle and the support that the United States is offering is a waste of tax payers money at the expense of ‘democratization’ in Egypt. The idea of Islamic democracy in the relativism theory on Islamic culture and religion is accommodated in the Arab nations whose sole purpose is to avoid westernization. However, the ideology is not complete but the struggle by America is accommodative as well since change is a gradual process. Hence, the cultural aspect of the Islamic nations will be a barrier to the democratic revolution of the Islamic nations. (Zunes2011)
Freedom of speech and the media
Conversely, the media channels were at the forefront of the struggle for the democracy in the Arabian country. It was a breakthrough for the Egyptian country with the reports from the neighboring countries’ revolution and Libya’s anarchy. It brought about the wave of riot, and the military used the media primarily to enforce revolutions. From bloggers to media personalities the country was manipulated by the military to engage in the violent engagements around the country and mostly in the capital city, Cairo. The effect of the social media has deepened the imprint on the Egyptian society and politics despite the fact that most bloggers and media officials suffer from the freedom to air information on the country’s current issues. (Clay, 2011) Three years along the procession, there are still revolutions on the freedom of speech in the media docket. In February 2011, the highest commission of the Armed military directed a harsh order to the civil society routinely portraying the democracy activists as foreign-backed troublemakers. It had also restricted the discussion of assorted views on the news along with analysis programs, and more generally blocked the pathway for improvement in key areas of the media division.
In the mass to the centennial of Mubarak’s acquiescence, state media have presaged activists against insulting steps while asserting that the military would provide to protect the state. A recent example of this backsliding is the creation of the so-called National Military Media Committee, a body of eleven generals that will be accountable for as long as information about the martial to journalists and offsetting what it considers “biased coverage.” (El-Sherif2014) Such retrospective actions have been all the more unsatisfactory given the ciphers early last year that real development ought to be in the offing. Among the first steps in use after Mubarak’s upheaval was the abolition of the point of information executive official on February 22nd, 2011. The move made Egypt become one of the three nations in the Middle East and North Africa, together with Qatar and Lebanon that became short of an information official, a post that is characteristically associated with restriction and can’t. In July, though, the position was restored, and all through the subsequent half of 2011, the taboo on the debate of individual subject was reestablished in state media.
At least five national televisions plus radio presenters have been taken off the air or confronted with prosecution difficult for the limits of permitted speech. Therefore, the issue of the democratic revolution of the state will be hindered with the military governance that seeks to guide the move of the nation to the next step. In addition, it is clear why the military and the country at whole are in retaliation to the revolutionary democratic move. The incidences where their fellow citizens have been mistreated and live cruelly in the western worlds. For instance after the terrorist attacks in the United States and the United Kingdom in London would soon prove to be difficult for the Democratic support to be futile. Americans and the Europeans were upset after the twin attacks in both continents with sentiments towards the attackers mostly being Arabians and Muslims origins discriminating those living in the areas. Therefore, the struggle by the United States to support the country especially will be futile with recognition by the citizens in this country being affected with the awful comments from the nations. It will, therefore, be difficult to endorse the democratic movement if such wounds are still new in the wits of the populace of the Islamic countries considering that the effect is still felt to date. “The Youth of January 25.” In the wake of the revolution, the youth was at the forefront of the struggle of the democratic incidences. However, since the revolution culminated the youth have gone underground with no intentions of surfacing to enable the revolution. In fact, the crisis is not the standard radical problem of influential running out of steam. If something, the exact conflicting has happened: they had too much steam that has reserved them operating around in circles. That they were authentically stunned to observe the degree of the democratic system breakdown rising in the years after Mubarak’s subtraction is no news: it is generally familiar and acknowledged. Their mistrust of all sorts of authority, whether they are politicians, intellectual experts, or even elder people, persuaded them that they had to suspend onto their grounds of Utopian revolt, and not pay attention to the warning voices of unattractive understanding. Except these childlike leaders were thunderstruck on the several junctures when they instituted themselves on behalf of a losing preponderance in the face of a prearranged alternative. It is argued that the youth in Egypt have less to look forward to in terms of democracy if there is any hope of the western world. The ideology of the unstructured government is among the issues that will lead to the democratic movement’s culmination.
The military is independent of other institutions of the government that enabled it to act solely without the remission of the other institutions. Moreover, the parliamentary community and the government operate differently without the involvement of the other subsidiary meaning there is no constitutional application for the transition of power if there is no president. Hence, it was able for the military to succeed the former President Hosni Mubarak. In addition, the division of the diverse political groups may be the reason why the devolvement of the political system will not digress to the democratic revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood is among the groups that constitute for the remission of the ruling ‘government’ in democratic ways of governance. The reason is because the ideology on the former management system was not efficient then and would never be efficient in the new Egypt. Egypt is becoming increasingly ungovernable. (Fadel2014) The realm cannot change its reasserted supremacy into legality, and as intrastate rivalry and unruly complaint political affairs overwhelm the following arena, the nation faces a political void with no clear resolution. Egypt desires an absolute reinvention of its biased sphere. In spite of the development of a controversial public liberty since 2011, Egypt still requires a proficient political division, without which it will be powerless to deal with entrenched institutional obstructions to democracy. The alliance that supports the July 2013 overthrow that conquered then-President Mohamed Morsi is portioning. A split is increasing amid groups that want to replicate Mubarak’s totalitarianism and those that bear a more self-governing future for Egypt. No one collection has monopolized the debate.
List of references
David bulky “can there be an Islamic democracy?” (2007) pp71-79 the Middle East Quarterly http://www.meforum.org/1680/can-there-be-an-islamic-democracy
Embassy of the US “supporting Egypt’s Democratic transition” (2015) http://egypt.usembassy.gov/democracy.html S
tephen zunes “Egypt’s pre-democratic movement: the struggle continues” (2011) open democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/stephen-zunes/egypt’s-pro-democracy-movement-struggle-continues
Christopher Walker & Robert Orttung “For Egypt’s State media, the Revolution has yet to arrive” (2012) https://freedomhouse.org/blog/egypt’s-state-media-revolution-has-yet-arrive#.VUoMx5MYF_M
Hesham shafick :Egypt’s January 25 revolutionary youth: where have they gone” (2013). https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/hesham-shafick/egypt’s-january-25-revolutionary-youth-where-have-they-gone
Rebecca A. Clay “Muslims in America post 9/11” American Psychology Association (2011) vol 42 no.8 pp 72. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/09/muslims.aspx
Ashraf El-Sherif “Egypt’s post-Mubarak Predicament” (2014) http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/01/29/egypt-s-post-mubarak-predicament Shadi Hamid “The struggle for Middle East Democracy” the American University in Cairo (2015) http://www.aucegypt.edu/gapp/cairoreview/pages/articledetails.aspx?aid=20
Mohammed Fadel “what killed the Egyptian democracy” (2014) http://bostonreview.net/forum/mohammad-fadel-what-killed-egyptian-democracy