Legitimacy and change in Egypt

The ballot box is of no use if it doesn’t bring the desired change of people who vote – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Mohamed Hussein Abul-Ela, June 25, 2013.

Is it possible that the results and implications of practising democracy become a deterrent or penalty for people, so that they scrutinise their choices later? Does political choice mean that authority is eternal, even if it deviates from the right track or is inclined towards dictatorship? Is it necessary for the people to bow to all means of repression applied by an authority merely because it was chosen democratically?  

Are the terms prescribed for rulers by various constitutions considered heavenly that cannot be compromised in any way? Is holding fast to power a deliberate wastage of a people’s rights? And how has the Arab Spring breeze turned to a lump in the throats of the people, following troubled and deteriorating conditions? Is the entire Arab region to be exposed to fierce attack, planned by the evil hand of extremism under the slogans of sectarianism and ethnic nationalism? Or are we witness to the first scenes and applications of the creative chaos theory that America exported to the Arab world nearly two decades ago? How can we pick up our Arab world from the claws of impending strife while minds have become empty except for thoughts of conspiracy, enmity and genocide?

Perhaps the answer to these inquiries will be less heated than portraying the contemporary Egyptian status, which is dominated by a two-factor equation: namely religion and blood and what lies in between them — feelings of division, antagonism, enmity, ambiguity, confusion, absurdity and ignorance. Religion here, of course, is not used in its actual meaning and historic purpose; it is that religion that its user manipulated, that motivates the grip on power and satisfies the desires of a group that imagines itself holding religious custody over Egyptian society. The shed blood is sacred, and a record of guilty fingerprints, as well as a defender of religion in an innate and innocent way, free of suspicion and selfish purposes, and rebellious in honour of the country and its history. The source of alienation that invaded the Egyptian mind in these moments is the fight of the regime in defence of its political and constitutional legitimacy and survival, and the coming out of other cries denouncing the regime, which will be voided if it continues in power … //

… The people of Egypt have rights acquired by time and necessity, the first of which to recover stolen dignity, to culminate the revolutionary march majestically in social justice — or justice in all its various meanings — speeding towards the democratic path and freedom, and scrambling in the path of contemporary human civilisation to wipe layers of dust from Egypt’s face. The Egyptian people are suffering innumerable and enormous economic, social, political and daily living crises, stemming from the disastrous performance of the political system that is effective only in intensifying crises and tabling proposals characterised by a closed political and intellectual horizon for a society that has endured horrors for three decades. The logic of reality overcomes and exceeds the logic of ballot boxes, as electoral results should be supported by parallel change and economic, political, social and cultural recovery. When all of these are absent, the ballot box stands isolated and lacks legitimacy because it provided no means to address the needs of the people who voted.
(full text and at the end a video, 1.09 min).

(The writer is a political commentator).


7 dead, scores injured as millions take to the streets in Egypt to demand Morsi resignation, on Russia Today RT, July 01, 2013;

Biggest protest in Egypt’s history, on Russia Today RT, June 30, 2013;

Protest against London fire station closures, on Socialist Unity, by Andy Newman, June 28, 2013;

The Rebirth of the Chicago Teachers Union and Possibilities for a Counter-Hegemonic Education Movement
, on Monthly Review, by Eric (Rico) Gutstein and Pauline Lipman, June 2013;

Creating a New Model of a Social Union: CORE and the Chicago Teachers Union, on Monthly Review, by Robert Barlett, June 2013.

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