Egyptians pay for democracy in blood

By Emad Shahin, American University in Cairo

Emad Shahin

Dr. Emad Shahin

The violent deaths of hundreds and the injury of thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in a few short hours yesterday is tragic. What is the more tragic is that it could have been avoided.

In past weeks, foreign mediators and domestic sides have presented sound initiatives to resolve the ongoing crisis in Egypt peacefully. None was headed by the leaders of the military coup that repeatedly rejected these initiatives in “substance and in form” and insisted on superimposing their own road-map that toppled a freely elected civilian president, Continue reading

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Arab Spring: A season for witch hunting

witch_huntTwo years ago the humiliation of a street vendor in Tunisia sparked a global popular uprising, which swept across the Arab countries forcing the departure of the most vicious despots. The Arab Spring electrified the world and captured its attention for months. Egypt’s revolution of 25 of January inspired the world with the spontaneous spirit of unity and a common vision of freedom, democracy, and hope. Commentaries of media observers and world political leaders praising that spirit and its people abound. Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Democracy and the Arab World: Une valse à trois temps.

Mohammed MorsiSo, is Egypt’s military coup against Morsi a remake of Algeria’s interruption of the democratic process? Well! It certainly looks like it and it sounds like it. But different people will always have different opinions. For me, one to answer this question ‘objectively’, one has to determine the comparison criteria and see if they apply to both cases. For the rule of Democracy the will of the people is very important as it was for the the American people in 1783 and for the French people in 1789 and most importantly for the indigenous people of Algeria in Jul 1st, 1962 when they chose to break up from colonizing France. However, despite the efforts Continue reading