Sunday, May 14, 2006

A hypothetical question

Suppose that Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz and the Judges' Club has its way, and the Egyptian judiciary gets its indepence now. Judges Mekki and Bastawisi go on to document what the entire world has already known since the last parliamentary elections...that they were widely rigged.

Based on their work the Muslim Brotherhood contests the legitimacy of the current parliament and calls for new elections. The new independent judiciary of course grants this claim. New elections are held and this time the Muslim Brotherhood confidently runs for the ticket full-swing and triumphantly oversweeps the Egyptian parliament.

Is this really what we want?

I read and re-read Judges Mekki and Bastawisi's article to the Guardian, and I'm not convinced that they are non-political:

There is no doubt that educated Egyptians, among them judges, have great respect for western ideas. The functioning of democracy in western society is a model that every Egyptian hopes to see one day in our country. But there is also no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has had a negative effect. In particular, interference in Iraq's internal affairs has created the impression that western intervention to impose "democracy" is not about principle but about self-interest.

In Egypt we don't have any confidence in US policy because it is a contradictory policy that pays lip service to democracy while supporting dictatorships. We have confidence in the Egyptian people. We welcome support from any quarter, but we won't rely on it. We will depend on ourselves in our campaign for reform and change.

Not that it is a crime for anyone to be political, and it really is despicable (and incredibly stupid, more importantly) for the government to try them as honourable judges in this demeaning way, but I only wish that those who decide to practice politics in these delicate fate-of-nations situations would calculate the consequences of their politics first.

Politics is in essence the art of dynamism, and how can you not call the actions that will set in motion the changing of the entire existing system of government not to the better but, according to the existing realities of the moment, to the worse...politics?

The reforms must be done, but how can this consequential action be set forth without even discussing the next alternative?

These are the questions that must first be asked.


Memz said...

senefru, great pos with a very interestin question! I find it worrying what is happening in Egypt, as I feel every road is leading us to the MB!

Sadly, it makes me wonder sometimes, if i prefer the devil i know than the MB!

Seneferu said...

Thank you, Memz:-) I'm glad to find support on this one.

Memz said...

senefru, my thoughts on the vaguness of the MB could be found in my response to a right wing pro MB comment found on my blog:

the thing is, what should we do! It is sickening to feel so helpless. The whole world is turning to the extremes, the East is afraid of the west so they are turning right wing and the west if afraid of the east right wingish behaviour so they are turning more right wing! Where does that leave us moderates!

Mohamed said...

Exactly memz, scary, isn't it?

Seneferu said...

Memz, just let your voice be heard and don't let the boat rock you either way. (I'm not sure what the boat part means, but it sounds right:)

The link didn't take me to the comment you spoke of.

Memz said...

senefru: here is the comment:
and here is my response:

i guess you are write! Lets just hope the world would one live in hope rather than fear! All we can do is try and try and try!

Seneferu said...

I think it's very possible that we can live in hope...the tragedy is that these conflincts are really just a big misunderstanding.

Thanks for the links and great job with your answer.

The main fallacy which the anonymous commentator bases his argument upon is the claim that the MB is a majority. Would the majority of the Egyptian population like to be stripped of the freedoms they already have...would they like to be ruled with the hedood (archaic punishments, i.e. cutting the hands of the thief and so forth) would they like to return to reniewed external political conflicts, and would they even like their pop culture gone? The answer is an obvious no.

But here is the trick. In the current vagueness of the goals of the MB and their classical two tongues to trick all kinds of persuasions...can they sway a majority to vote for them? There's a good chance they can.

For this reason we need a transition period stressing on education, awareness, serious debate and engaging the MB on their platform before substantial elections are held.

And on the democratic argument, (the leaders of the MB are really less than an absolute minority to the rest of the population) all we are saying is that we first need to work on a flawless guarantee that the democratic basis of government will not be overthrown for a theocratic MB system of government.

I'm confident that Egyptians are a smart people, and given enough knowledge about their choices will make the right decision. But before they get the chance to acquire this knowledge through continued reform and debates, I will continue to view what is happening now with the judges as irresponsible recklessness that threatens to harm the country into the lap of the MB rather than help it. Of course the government is no less responsible for this mess.