Oh boy!

I was going through my old posts, and I found this paragraph in the post Tahrir: an Exercise in Nation Building :

But as an ending note, here is some food for thought: If Tahrir is a microcosm of modern day Egypt with all of its issues, and it managed to get there in a week, then being there for the next few days is crucial to understand what might happen in the next few years and how to prevent it.

That post was published on July 16th, a full two weeks before the July 8th sit-in was disbanded.

Do you recall what happened in those 2 weeks and how it all ended?

I do.

Hmm….

10 Comments on Oh boy!

  1. W. C. Taqiyya
    April 8, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Yes, please enlighten me. When the Tahrir square was dismantled, what lessons were learned? You wrote, ‘If Tahrir is a microcosm of modern day Egypt with all of it’s issues, and it managed to get there in a week, then….’
    First my Sandmonkey friend, Egypt is not modern, but I will assume you meant to say contemporary. Second, unless your little camp was ruled by a military junta who controlled all the major industries and profits, it was not a microcosm of contemporary Egypt. But, insofar as it did not have the basic building blocks of a self ruled society, it was indeed a microcosm of Egypt and all of the other majority Muslim nation states. Begin at the beginning Sand. Private property, individual rights, freedom of action, speech, etc. A functioning, by which I mean mostly trusted and mostly fair and even handed justice system. Some way to organize and limit the power of the executive. Parliamentary power sharing, provincial decentralized power, whatever. An enforceable written Constitution might help. You get the idea. And abandon Islam. Or, that caveman culture will keep you in the stone ages forever. If it helps, pretend to be wealthy sheiks puffing cigars, playing poker, slurping martinis and frolicking with naked maidens. If it works for them, why not you?

    Reply
    • Mia
      April 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

      It is true that the combination of religion and state politics is a dangerous combination and usually ends up in injustice and crimes; I assure you that many of us wish that it was not the case. Thank you for your support.

      However, your description of an ‘ideal governing system’ is simplistic. You act as though the West did not suffer in the making of many of these concepts…and in fact, many of these concepts arose out of their own mistakes (like genocide, war, ethnic cleansing). Don’t forget history. There are a lot of factors that go into a liberal democracy’s success, and sometimes these factors do not move in our favor. It is all a process, and a very long slow moving process.

      One more thing, don’t act as if your tolerance does not need to include Islam. If you cannot attempt to understand and be tolerant of one of the most highly populated religions in the world then you have a very small audience among activists. Go preach to your own choir. Oh, and I’m Christian. ;)

      Reply
      • W. C. Taqiyya
        April 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        Thank you very much for your reply Mia. And I did not mean to imply it was easy or that western society did not have many growing pains. It certainly did and it is far from perfect today and I would add that western societies are in decline from decadence, corrupted institutions and unrestricted immigration. For starters. But, the topic was Egypt, so… I also agree with you that it is a slow process. Unfortunately, Sand appears (I may be mistaken) to think there is a formula or technique that will bring about the change he seeks. As you rightly imply, there is not. However, Mubaric and to a lesser extent, Sadat before him did bring some significant changes to the financial sector. Not enough by a long shot but it helped. Egypt also has a robust if fledgling press. The new 2011 Constitution says lots of nice things but is not effective by itself. If you haven’t already, read the 2007 Carnegie report or just skim the on-line Britannica for starters. Concerning tolerance of Islam, I am compelled to say it is not merely another religion, it is, in fact, an all encompassing culture. A culture of severe repression, murder, deceit, total, violent intolerance and slavery. Looking at each of the dictatorial majority Muslim countries, can you really deny this truth? And this resurgence of Islam in Egypt will move that country backwards, not forward. If they get their way, they will destroy the pyramids like they blew up the Buddha statues in Afghanistan. How would you feel about that? So, I don’t tolerate Islam any more than I would tolerate any rampaging beast. Oh, It’s more exciting to ‘preach’, as you say, to an antagonistic audience than a friendly one. And maybe I can help a little.

        Reply
  2. Publicola
    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    @ W. C. Taqiyya – Your are lambasting someone, i.e. Sandmonkey, who is seriously fighting for a modern, democratic (secularist) society and a constitution corresponding to and supporting such a society where human rights, the separation of powers, the rule of the law, the freedom of opinion, the freedom of religion, the ostracism of islamism, the respect for individual rights etc. pp. are enshrined.

    e.g. Mahmoud Salem, a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, ran as a representative of the secular Free Egyptians Party founded by prominent Christian businessman Naguib Sawiris. Salem says his intention was to stand as a bulwark against the growing power of Islamists, especially on issues of freedom of speech
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/24/what_happened_to_my_revolution?page=0,5

    e.g. Egyptian blogger and political activist Mahmoud Salem, more commonly known by his online persona Sandmonkey, filed a civil lawsuit on Thursday, January 26th against the well-known and influential Salafi preacher Yasser al-Bourhami for the latter’s incitement of violence against Coptic Christians.
    … the details of this suit … deserve serious domestic [innenpolitisch] and global attention:
    if methodically pursued, the case could form an important challenge to Egypt’s still-persistent culture of legal impunity for violence and discrimination against members of the country’s significant Christian minority.

    http://www.acus.org/egyptsource/sandmonkey-and-salafis-go-court-one-egyptian-activist-challenges-ultraconservative-islam

    Reply
  3. W. C. Taqiyya
    April 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Publicola, thanks for replying. And you are right, I was lambasting Sand a bit. You are also correct to say Sand is not the primary problem in that he is working and sweating and laboring to make things right in Egypt. Regarding the Egyptian constitution of 2011. Yes, it is pretty and says all the right things. But, it can’t function all by itself. The constitution is a good start, now lets get some meat on those bones. Again, I appreciate Sand’s intentions, his work and his blog. However, for all his good work, like the stuff you linked in your comment, he also said this in his April 7 post. ‘…I do not share the view that the Muslim brotherhood is the power hungry opportunists everyone makes them out to be, and I believe that every decision they made they had to make.’ Now, that statement is a problem. It’s a problem because it means Sand doesn’t recognize the mortal threat to Egypt embodied in the Muslim Brotherhood. They will institute Sharia rule and move Egypt, just emerging from dictatorship, back into the abyss of that caveman culture. If Sand and his fellow Egyptian activists don’t even recognize the threat, they are doomed. So, do you now understand my concern and why I provoke responses? I thank you and Mia for your serious replies and I tried to respectfully reply in kind.

    Reply
  4. Publicola
    April 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    @ W.C.Taqiyya – Thank you for your sensible and pensive answer. –

    Regarding the Muslim Brothers and how to assess their politics, it must be said, that in 2011 nobody had any real experience as to how they might behave politically. There were a lot of promises on their part in the air, e.g. not to field a presidential candidate, e.g. not to dominate, e.g. not to majoritize the constituent assembly, e.g. to support a civil (i.e. a secular?) state etc. etc. etc. – …. promises that in the meantime have already been broken by them or are reasonably to be expected to be broken by them in the near future.

    On the other hand, the equivalent of the Egyptian Muslim-Brother-party FJP in Tunisia, the Ennahda party e.g. finally has refused to insist on the sharia to be enshrined in a future Tunisian constitution.

    So it was and still is and will be difficult to judge in each particular case, what these religious-political forces are up to.
    No surprise, that even experienced people (have) arrived at wrong assessments every now and then. Worth remembering in this context are the many misleading polls (carried out in the course of 2011 by respectable and experienced organisations) as to the possible outcome of the first election in Egypt, in particular as to the probable election results of the islamists.

    The Egyptian and the reliable Arabian press – as far as it is accessible online in English (Al Arabiya, Al Ahram, Egypt Independent, The Egyptian Gazette) – seems to adopt an attitude more or less critical of islamism and salafism, which again – though gratifying – makes it difficult for non-Egyptian readers (like us) – but probably also for Egyptians – to acquire a truly realistic picture of what’s really going on in the minds of ordinary citizens in a metropolis, in a town or in the countryside, i.e. of what’s really going on and what to expect in Egypt politically.

    Needless to say, I entirely share your grave concerns about (the consequences of the election victory achieved by) the islamists and salafists with a view to a democratic development of Egypt!

    In conclusion, thank you again, W. C. Taqiyya, for your reflective and considerate contribution!

    Reply
  5. leo
    April 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Did you mean June 16th?

    Reply
  6. streamfortyseven
    April 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

    If you want a classical liberal constitutional republic, it’s got to be secular, with no established religion – no “In Allah We Trust”, no “Allah mit Uns”, no “Allah and Country”.

    The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    This was the concern of Jefferson, when he wrote:
    “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

    It looks like this will be pretty well impossible at this point for Egypt to attain – but this separation must exist for any sort of rational governance to occur, otherwise it’s back to the Middle Ages…

    Reply
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    April 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

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    Reply
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