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Egypt is not one of your ‘banana republics’, both from the point of view of history and geography. Starting with the obvious, the country doesn’t lie in the tropics, hence is not naturally endowed to growing the yellow stuff. Moreover, its overwhelming history makes it difficult to put it under the above derogatory classification of empire! Admittedly things look a bit erratic in today’s Egypt, but one has to appreciate what the country had to go through during the last forty years of generalized misrule. It had to wither the onslaught of excessive crony capitalism in its economic undertakings, blatant dictatorship in its political governance and degenerative fake values in the cultural sphere. In light of all these, the chaotic situation that has engulfed the country recently, we believe, is understandable.
Many casual observers insinuate in their regular comments; ‘things ought to have sorted out themselves by now, a whole year after Mubarak’s departure.’ Only serious observers recognize real power, not only the formal one, is a system of tentacles that are painstakingly built from top down as well as from the ground up. It incorporates individuals from the upper echelon to low-level operators, be they within the state or outside. The task assigned to those incorporated in the power game involves, amongst other things, the continuous push of myriad desires as stipulated (formally/informally) by the power-that-be, whether they are within or outside of bureaucratic jurisdiction. There is a name for such an entrenched formal/informal power; it is called ‘deep power.’ See the article on page 50. Such a systemically organized entity cannot be overthrown just because the head that was recently running it is no more. It had to be fought tooth and nail until the last zealot of this enclave is thrown out. This is what the Egyptians have realized and that is why they are out on the street a year after Mubarak departed. See Margolis’ article next column!
In the last half a century, meaningful debates (by the populous) on matters of importance to general collective existence were literally prohibited by the government. Instead, it was only sympathizers of the status quo that were allowed to pontificate on all and sundry, thereby dominating public discourse at all levels. In addition, the thieving goons that were/are always in cahoots with the highest political offices of the land, were given the green light by the globally condoned regime of ‘neo-liberalism.’ It gave them an ideological license to loot. But from now on the Egyptians are not willing to take the whole scam lying down! See their proposals to right the wrong of the past, as cited by one of Africa’s finest thinker of Egyptian origin-Samir Amin, on page 50.
The latest eruption in Egypt only signifies the commitment of Egyptians to protect their hard earned political space from being abused by power holders that come and go circuitously. We respect and salute their determination! On the other hand, whatever the intention of the current President is, he must recognize almost half of the Egyptians (49%) didn’t vote for him, hence he must tread the water carefully! We believe the Egyptian revolutionary upheaval still has some distance to travel, as there are many protracted problems that must be addressed, before normalcy can be established. For example, out of the current 100-member assembly that was set up to draft the new constitution, a good 40% of the members have already packed. The remaining ones, which are almost exclusively members of the ‘brotherhood’, have now approved the draft constitution that will go for plebiscite or public referendum. This certainly is not a promising start.
Like its sphinx in Giza, Egypt has to rise from the ashes and take its appropriate place in the community of nations. We admit the whole effort will take prolonged time and intense energy, particularly in light of the prevailing polarizing globalization and the unappetizing prognosis that is borne out of its logic. Egypt should reaffirm its position within the Arab world, not only as a mere supplier of cheap labor, (to the oil endowed states, etc) but also as the traditional center of scholarship that fostered tolerant religious doctrines and other progressive thoughts. The current demeaning and stupid mimicking of outsiders, as practiced not only by Egypt’s degenerate political class, must be rejected in toto. In this regard the spirited and conscience struggle of its youth is an inspiration to all!
“Our decision is to continue in the square, we will not leave before this declaration is brought down, Tahrir Square would be a model of an Egypt that will not accept a new dictator because it brought down the old one.” Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy. Good Day!