Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Out of the frying pan, into the fire: Egypt

An old adage of "Out of the frying pan, into the fire" applies to the Islamic societies like never before, atleast never more than any nation as it is for Egypt nowadays. I had this foreboding for a long time now, ever since the world was going ga ga over the Tahrir Square demonstrations. What good have come out of any revolution anyways - asks the sceptic in me; especially if it has no particular face or symbol or party or institution.

Governance is as much about administration as it is about excercising a certain measure of power. While in any regime change, the administrations almost never changes (nor culture for that matter), power transfers hand. Now who would any incumbent transfer the power to, if there is no face or parties to take the power over. The west said, the people! They will elect their own Government. And they did. Guess who, the Islamists. The people thought, Islam and their Egyptian angels (Muslim Brotherhood) will deliver them from the corruption Mobarak has been fostering. Pity, pity. These guys are no different from us Indians.

Very good, so on what basis will these elected representatives function? They do not have any constitution. Whatever scraps they had were swallowed up by Mobarak and his cohorts. Ok, so the elected representatives will write the constitution, the West opined.

Right my lords, but will the majority write it or every elected members would? Here was a problem. In the scurry to grasp power they forgot to take into account all voices. And eventually the constitution was passed with 64% majority, a farce in itself, with only 33% electorate participating in it. The good thing is that they reduced the sweeping control of the army over public and private lives. The bad thing is that they forgot to provide any solution to the corruption issue, which got them elected in the first place. The ugly thing is that most of the constitution is disturbingly Islamist or Islamic interpretation of various facets (such as individual expression, family, religion). A notable (and noble) exception however it gender based discrimination and womens rights. The rest is almost Sharia compliant, the greatest common factor among the elected representatives of the Big Muslim Brotherhood.

And result, yet another protest. Yet another revolution, still nameless, faceless, partyless. Eventually, with the army takeover, the army is the saviour of the people. The people are celebrating. Oh come on... are you guys for real? Army...Islamists...Army. Show some imagination, how are you guys different from Pakistan, our beloved brothers of the other side?

This situation will not change in Egypt. This will not change in the entire Islamic world so long as they do not start adopting and then believing in secularism and build institutions. India escaped this luckily by building both very early on. And no matter what the leftist liberals would like us to believe, we are not becoming intolerant or anything. May be there are some fringes, but that is it, no more.

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