I ask this question because I feel a sense of dilemma. I hate extremism in general and religious extremism in particular. I am not sure exactly what the policies of the Muslim Brotherhood government are, but the idea of any government associated so directly with religion worries me greatly - particularly in that part of the world. It filled me with apprehension when President Morsi was elected.
However, as far as I am aware, the Egyptian Government was entirely legitimately elected, and unless they were moving towards dictatorship, they should not be overthrown by the power of any particular group in society, be it the army or a large protesting crowd. They should be removed peacefully in a future election. This sets a precedent. If it happened once, it can happen again.
Democracy to me is all important, as in the words usually associated with Voltaire:
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
Equally I defend the right of a group I disapprove of to rule a country if they are democratically elected. What do you think? Should a party - however disagreeable - be forcibly removed from power in a democracy under any circumstances?
In modern democratic elections it seems that there is an emphasis on projecting an electable image rather than stressing the issues and what the candidate has in store to address or ignore the issues they wish. It is the old bate and switch that has been around for centuries. Did Morsi project a more secular image than the theocratic tendency of his party in the election? It is hard to tell here in the US as we have a compromised press and Egyptian newspapers in English are hard to come by to have any accurate assessment of what really went on in the election. Reports of his installing his party minions as ministry leaders could lend some to believe that this could prove his over reaching intent. This is not a unique practice as US presidents always reward their buddies with posts they have no understanding or expertise. Morsi's acquiring more power in his role as president really has to raise an eyebrow. Perhaps the military did not wish to see something like Syria where endless civil war and deaths could mount a challenge to their authority. With the current ability to discern anything from the press I think it wise to wait and watch to see what they do in Egypt.
If, as rhamson and also Paraglider suggest, there has been some unethical bolstering of their position by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, then it may have been necessary to take action - but only, I would suggest, if such behaviour threatened the democratic process. Otherwise peaceful removal of the government in a future general election would still be the preferred option.
The point about Syria may be extremely valid. Clearly the last thing the military want is for Egypt to degenerate into a civil war between pro and anti government factions. Perhaps the intention is to prevent that. There are other countries - Thailand is one example which I know of - in which the military have occasionally intervened when a government has been involved in dubious practice or has become deeply unpopular. In Thailand when intervention has occurred, military action has been restrained, and power has always been quickly handed back to the democratic process. Hopefully that will be the way it is in Egypt.
I think the Thailand parallel is a valid one. The Egyptian military is popular with the people. They are from the people after all, and traditionally they have been a proper national defence force, outward-looking, not inward-looking, as befits a national army.
We should remember that the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt was not an Islamic revolution (though the Iranian regime tried to claim it was!) It was a popular uprising against the tyranny of the Mubarak regime. The army at that time refused to oppose the people and such violence as there was was fomented by the regime's private hit squads.
Although the ensuing elections were deemed 'free and fair', the MB, already a well established organisation, was the only group ready to put up a candidate. The rest of the revolutionary movement simply didn't manage to get its act together in time. So the choice was between members of the old regime and the MB.
The MB therefore scored an opportunistic victory, promising much, but since taking power they have worked entirely in their own interests. They are an organisation formed to do the will of Allah (as they see it), not a true political party, and have in many ways shown themselves unfit to govern.
Thanks. It's certainly true enough that because of the sudden collapse of what was effectively a dictatorship under Mubarak, events moved with unfortunate haste and the Muslim Brotherhood - as one of the few organised political groups in the country - had an undue advantage over other parties in the first democratic elections. That of course is not their fault, but hopefully if the new military installed government handles things cautiously and fairly, then parties of all political persuasions will have time to prepare and contest new elections in the future. In the meantime, I think the onus is on those who live under established working democracies to inform and educate such emerging systems on how free speech, tolerance, equality under the law, and peaceful, regular elections, all contribute towards civilised government and civilised transfer of power.
Egypt is nowhere near being ready for a democratic govt. The USA is not a democracy, although folks frequently make the mistake of thinking it is.
I hesitate to reply because I don’t want to get involved in a long running debate, but democracy and respect for democracy is something I feel passionately about. Therefore I feel I must take issue with the second part of this comment. I can agree that maybe Egypt is not quite ready for democracy, but I cannot agree that the USA is not a democracy.
Democracy has no precise definition, but it is a human right (not a political system). The only requirements are that the majority of people should determine in a free, fair and open election who governs, and the majority of people should have the right to re-elect or remove that government in a peaceful expression of opinion after its term of office.
Now there are many ways of organising and administering a democracy and no method is perfect - the democratic process itself cannot possibly result in a government which precisely and accurately reflects the wishes and intentions of every single person who votes. All can produce rather perverse results and governments which do not truly mirror the will of the people. All can also result in some people being unrepresented. And sure, there are criticisms which can be made of the American government, the American political system, my own British parliamentary process, and all others. Government is by politicians who are human beings, with vested interests and human failings. They will lie, and they will be corrupted by money or by power, and it is for free speakers, opposition politicians and the public to endeavour to keep them under rein.
But let us be clear. Whilst criticisms can be levelled at American politics and politicians, the fact that they have the freedom to speak and express their views and be heard in argument and counter argument, and the electorate have the right to remove them without resorting to violence and insurrection, means that America IS a democracy. To fail to differentiate between those nations which permit such a process, and those nations in which the government is free to govern without any accountability or any civilised mechanism of restraining their powers, is to fail to differentiate between systems of good intent and systems of evil and ruthless tyranny.
Democracy DOES have a definition - mob rule. Our founders set up this nation as a Constitutional Republic, based on Federalism. A democracy suggests that every vote counts equally, and, thankfully, our Founders were too smart to put that into place. We would not be in existence today, I fear, had they made that err. Democracy can easily lead to the persecution of minorities.
Imagine what the US would be like today if 51% of the population voted to enslave blacks once again? That would be a democratic vote - but it would not be one that would lead to equal rights and freedom for all.
Keep in mind the famous quote:
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."
Your definition of a democracy - 'mob rule' - shows clear bias in your thinking. It is certainly NOT the definition you would find in any reputable dictionary. Democracy is 'majority rule' and that applies to America as much as it does in other democracies. Democracy - unlike mob rule - is still subject to the laws of the land whether those laws are enshrined in a constitution or not. The only difference is that it is easier to change those laws in most democracies which lack a constitution than it is in those countries which have a constitution.
I repeat there is no clear definition of all forms of democracy. All a democracy requires is that everyone (within reason) has a right to be heard and for their views to be counted and taken into account in the formation of a Government, and everyone has a right to change their mind in a subsequent electoral process. Exactly how that Government is formed and the extent of its powers determines the kind of democracy we are talking about. America is a democracy as well as a constitutional republic, and while the distinction between the two is cherished by some in America it is not widely regarded as particularly relevant in other democracies, where 'majority rule' poses no significant threat to minorities. Indeed, the liberalism of most Western European democracies appears to offer more equality and less persecution of ethnic, sexual or political minorities than some on the extreme right in America who promote the constitutional republic ideal would seem to favour.
The notion posed that 51% in a democracy might vote for enslavement of blacks which a Government would then endorse, hypothesises a very unlikely scenario and a very cynical opinion of human nature in a democracy where exposure to and critical analysis of all opinions is possible. Nothing like that is likely to happen in an established democracy, but whatever happens today, who is to say that the majority is wrong? People living today with free thought, access to facts and ideas and knowledge of the modern world, or people who lived and wrote a constitution more than 200 years ago?
It's a difficult one. There's more to legitimacy than victory in a ballot, which nobody denies the MB did achieve. To remain legitimate after election you have to govern in the interests of the entire electorate, or at least you have to make the effort to do so, in line with your pre-election promises. For example, deliberately crippling the state police force and replacing them with your own 'enforcers', thuggish gangs by any other name, is not legitimate. Nor is enacting legislation to give yourself special powers, though that is done by western governments too, often on minimum justification. Nor is oppressing your minorities. The MB may present a smooth, urbane image at leadership level, but in the rank and file it is a very different picture.
Though the army has taken decisive action, it has not taken power, i.e. it has not imposed martial law and is trying to put in place asap an emergency technocratic civilian government.
But will the MB win the propaganda war over this action, by putting themselves forward as victims of an illegal coup? It is too early to say, I think.
I agree with Paraglider, but have to add that when the army take sides- or remain neutral as they are purporting- it makes me wonder if foreign powers have played a hand in Morsi's downfall. As they're heavily reliant on US aid, it appears that the west has quite a bit of a say when it comes to who leads Egypt. Whilst many in the country want Morsi gone, which is completely understandable, I think this has set another precedent in terms of how democratically elected leaders can be overthrown. Whether the leadership is beneficial for Egypt, or otherwise.
An interesting suggestion. Generally I am sceptical about whether the level of Western / American influence in events of this kind is quite as great as some think, though no doubt there would be a desire by many to keep American support on board in Egypt. The issue of precedence is a major concern. Already the supporters of Morsi have been on the streets protesting against this action, and no doubt a year down the line if some group feel disenfranchised by the next civilian government, then they too will feel it is legitimate to try to pull it down through violent or intimidatory protest.
The trouble with any protest demonstrations, marches etc is that even if a million take to the street it is still only a tiny minority of the whole population. Knowing whether the majority support the protest and truly believe in the overthrow of the government is not easy to guage in a country such as Egypt.
i do't know,,, that's their rules..... i can't give more comment why they not handle it
Egypt has been in crisis for many years. The average family in Egypt spends 40% of its household budget on food. More than 14 million people there suffer from food insecurity.
It's difficult for the western world to understand that politics means very little when your children are malnourished.
'Freedom of expression' doesn't exist in Egypt. The media and the Internet are control by those in power. And so are 'elections.' Dissenters are killed.
The crisis has nothing to do with religion. It's all about money and power. What religion teaches that it's OK that children don't have enough food to eat?
I just found this video (along with 1,400,000 other people). It's a little boy in Egypt explaining the situation:
I think it would be a brilliant idea to back an insurrection in a country where we don't know much about the people who are revolting. Further, I think it would be genius to give F-16 jets to that same government once it had proven to be unstable and unreliable.
My speakers aren't working right now, so I'm not totally sure, but I think this is the video I saw a long time ago explaining several forms of government and the pros and cons of them. Very interesting.
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