Egypt struggling in tense showdown between two uncompromising parties
The question of the week: How will the powers in Egypt resolve their violent disputes that have erupted in the past few months? Will a stable leadership be found in another election?
In early 2011, Egyptians staged wide demonstrations against then-president Hosni Mubarak. The military proceeded to take temporary control of the unstable nation, ending three decades of Mubarak rule. Let us keep in mind that Americans at the time were hailing this as part of the collective “Arab Spring” sweeping through the Middle East.
In the country’s 2012 presidential elections, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won with just over 50 percent of the votes. Since then, many Egyptian citizens have been displeased with the power President Morsi has attempted to grant himself. So much so that on June 30 of this year, millions took to the streets in protest.
This prompted the military to again intervene, telling both sides (Morsi supporters and anti-Morsi protestors) to resolve the issue quickly or they would be forced to take action. Inevitably it seems, the military removed Morsi from office on July 3 and replaced him with the Chief Justice of the Egyptian S u p r e m e Constitutional Court until elections can be held once more. T h i s raises serious questions about this nation’s ability to transition into a democracy.
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi won a legitimate election a year ago. But when he tried to grant himself king-like powers, the people revolted and forced him out of office. Can we expect a serious leader to come from a nation in such upheaval? The Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the Egyptian military are the two parties involved in this fight. On Wednesday, the conflict came to a head when military forces moved on multiple Morsi-supporter encampments, killing more than 200 people. Since then, a month long state of emergency has been placed on the entire nation.
What is lacking now is a compromise. Morsi supporters are demanding the democratically-elected president be put back in power. But the interim military-backed government just performed a coup ousting the man. Why would they reinstate him?
Not only is there a potential for a civil war in Egypt, hundreds of people have died in the fight for control of the nation’s government already. If the citizenry is serious about becoming a stable country, they must realize that democracy is much more than elections. It is dialog and compromise. There must be more than one party in power, or else it is no democracy at all. These are necessary checks and balances.
What is happening in Egypt right now is a tragedy. But is a transition to democracy possible without bloodshed? America certainly saw its share when it was forming and again during the Civil War. Will the people of Egypt rise up and let freedom and democracy rule? Only time will tell.
James is a sophomore majoring in political science. He enjoys bike rides and Florida sunsets.