Uneasy Spring

The coup in Egypt, the Arab World’s most populous nation, has proved that achieving full and vibrant democracy will remain as a dream for Egyptians.

The 2011 overthrow of Mr Hosni Mubarak, the previous President of Egypt, set in motion what is called the Arab Spring Revolution. It was simply unthinkable that a military-supported President would be overthrown by a popular uprising, but that is what exactly happened.

After more than a year of uneasy rule, a free and fair election was conducted and a President was elected in June 2012. But just about a year later, he has been overthrown by the army and guess what, another popular uprising against the policies of the new government and the President.

Democracy is not easy to implement in almost any country for that matter. If the origin of political thinking in a country has been formulated in a democratic sense, then that thinking would prevail. We have seen that happening in many Western nations and few Asian countries. But if that thinking was never in existence in the past, or has been trampled upon by military means in the past, then we cannot safely assume that the institutions would inherit a free democratic orientation.

Egypt has now demonstrated that its institutions are still subverted by military might. The military may be right in taking unilateral action to remove a sitting President without due process of the Parliament or the law, but the world would interpret the unfortunate action in a negative manner. The dubious stand of the European Union and the U.S. did not help matters as well – very crucial for a country which largely depends on foreign aid to sustain itself and its military.

Come to think of it, what has happened in Egypt is not a good thing. The President might have committed some errors of judgement, or he might have moved a bit too radically for acceptance. However, he should have been contested on the floor of the Parliament. If the institutions are not strong enough to sustain their approach, orientation and strategy in a democratic framework, then one can only expect a weak democracy going forward.

It is simply unfortunate that one of the cradles of human civilization and culture, has not been able to find a suitable form of government for itself even after all these years.

I hope Egyptians would grasp their current state of affairs and come to the conclusion that an economically successful democracy is what they should aim for, and therefore they should elect the right set of law makers for themselves. Nobody from the outside can dictate to Egypt.


Vijay Srinivasan
14th July 2013


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