Now that Democracy is paused, what is next?

Sbens-blog-photo2ince the uprise of the youths of the Tahreer Square and their victory in Jan 25, there have been a big debate within the Egyptian society about politics, power and Islam, mostly about Islam. The debate is always about Islam when it is about politics and power. It was so in Algeria in the 1990s, and is so in Tunisia too now. People rediscover the Halal and the Haram when they are debating how and who should be ruling the country.  An important part of the society in the Arab Spring countries expressed inclination for the rule of Islamic Sharia while another part is favoring a secular governance. The debate would’ve been smoother if everybody knew what Islamic Sharia, or for that matter a secular governance looked like. Instead, the debate is convoluted and diluted, and the population is called to take a stand based on abstract images of what future they would like to have. The secularists are aspiring for a nation which resembles France or Finland, while their pious countrymen are aspiring for a nation which resembles that of Omar Ibn Abdul’ Aaziz  — or Saudi Arabia at a lesser extent. Well this later and another Gulf country, known for their open animosity towards the Muslim Brotherhood just pledged $8 billion in support of the new Egypt’s government after Morsi ouster.

I learned a long time ago that actually politics is not about Islam, never was and never will. It just can’t be. Just ask yourself the question, not even rhetorical, how do two Islamic parties competing for power differentiate themselves if not through plain old politics? Yeah! sure they’ll invoke the pontifical foundations for each one’s approach to ruling the country, but politics is the only way they’ll ever use to settle their differences, including unislamic politics. Now, my earlier question becomes rhetorical if we consider that Islamic parties haven’t got the chance yet to debate their differences for they have not gotten to last long enough in power.  And that brings me to the recent development in Egypt where democratically elected president Morsi  was ousted from power by the Army under the pressure of the street. I am sure if you ask the people about the real reason, you’ll end up plunging in the endless debate about politics and Islam. Therefore, the real question is what is next? Will we ever be able to institute a rule of Democracy without interrupting it on the pretext of an inappropriate Majority? I am surprised at Morsi’s antagonists’ short-sight. How do they plan to get rid of this massive support for Muslim Brotherhood, and for other Islamist movements, and yet establish a genuine and open democracy in Egypt? Twenty years ago, ‘democrats’ in Algeria brilliantly managed to help stop the democratic process leading to 10 years of a bloody war costing 200,000 lives, and another 13 years of extreme mediocrity. 20 years and the Algerian Democracy is still pausing. Once the fundamental rule of the people’s will is broken going downhill is pretty much the most probable scenario.

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