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In Egypt, democracy suffered a big blow



Democracy couldn't have expected a worse advertisement. A sharply polarised Egypt burst into euphoria as the army sacked the country's first ever elected President Mohamed Mursi late on Wednesday evening.

Tahrir Square, where millions have been squatting since past seventy hours demanding immediate exit of their president, once again came alive with burst of crackers, vigorous waving of national flag and display of fireworks. The euphoria and celebration of Mursi's fall were bewildering.

Bewildering, because Egyptians had not moved even an inch forward towards fulfilment of their aspirations. Neither did they stage a second revolution. Democracy had not been achieved. In fact and on the contrary, Egypt slipped back into yet another bout of military dictatorship which may be longer than the previous one. The country's experiment with democracy lay shattered in the valley of pharaohs. The nation resembled a lone bird that has lost its way in fog. Egypt on Wednesday took a giant leap backward.

Foreign Policy magazine's headline is most succinct. It used three words to describe the event in Egypt. It said, Downfall in Cairo. Apparently, it is of Mohamed Mursi. But, in ways more than one, the downfall is also of Egypt and Egyptians. Mursi's ouster doesn't look good for anyone. It wasn't a move to secure democracy. Egyptians, angry and frustrated with Mursi, brought back the third camp into the arena to play its role which has been sitting for months out on the bench.

The country's powerful army found the door more than ajar to get back into the country's political fray. It staged a coup yet again, for the second time in two years, to remove two successive presidents—Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.

Few in the world would feel sorry to see Mursi sacked but all of them lament the manner in which he has been removed. The process — mass demonstration culminating into a coup — sets a dangerous precedence. And fewer believe that this "military coup will restore stability or lead to a more democratic outcome."

Military's intervention into civilian politics exposed the gathering debris of ideological bankruptcy of Egypt's political class which cannot think of acting independent of the army.

The script the country and its military followed in sacking two successive presidents are chillingly similar. This time, the army moved in more quickly than before in ousting a democratically elected president without giving him an opportunity to amend his ways.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in a statement has said that the United Kingdom does not support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system. Hague's statement has underscored the problem which is fast growing into a malady threatening Egypt. Today, the country is threatened by "a real risk of becoming trapped in an endless loop of failed governments, military interventions, and popular uprisings. The very idea of democratic legitimacy has taken a severe beating, and the coming constitutional reforms and new elections will not pass easily."

Hague sounded a trifle wishful. We know that "In the long run only democratic processes and government by consent will bring the stability and prosperity that the people of Egypt seek." The British Foreign Secretary is probably suffering from either amnesia or myopia. In Egypt, since the days of Colonel Nasser, the military has always ruled the roost.

Contrary to what is expected in any democracy, the Egyptian Army has never been subservient to civilian rulers. It has never allowed germination of civilian rule and never will it allow this to happen in future.

By removing Mursi from power and suspending the country's constitution the military has once again effectively taken over the rule of Egypt. Its promise to facilitate new elections has not cut any ice. Few believe fresh elections taking place anytime soon. The outcome of this military takeover might not be benign or short-lived as in 2011.

Egyptians' anger against President Mursi was just. It is true that in his one-year stint as the president Mursi failed the country and the countrymen more terribly that what the world had feared. He had failed to give Egypt the inclusive governance he promised. With his dogmatic rule Mursi and Muslim Brotherhood were fast becoming a threat to a big section of Egyptian demography, especially to the minorities and women. Egypt was moving at a breakneck speed towards a sectarian polarisation.

Yet his exit, forced by the military rather than the people, poses a far greater threat to the fledgling democracy of the country. With the army reclaiming its lost central and pivotal position in Egypt's politics the revolution which started in 2011 has been pushed "on the brink of self-destruction." Yet again, Egypt's 'second revolution' ended abruptly with military taking over the country's administration before it could finish the incomplete business of the first.

On Wednesday evening Egypt undermined its own revolution and went back to its bad old days of military dictatorship. Its military and its secular opposition have together have trampled the green shoots of democracy which had just started to germinate. The mess into which Egypt has hurled itself is essentially its own creation.

The demand for bread, freedom, justice and dignity which came out of Tahrir Square in 2011 has now been put into a morgue. The army may have called the demonstration demanding Mursi to stand down "glorious" but will it guarantee bread, freedom, justice and dignity for all Egyptians. In the country where once the pharaohs ruled modern politicians have been rogues. But have the men in uniform been any better? From Nasser to Mubarak they have been worse — killers of lives and aspirations. Restoration of democratic process in Egypt isn't expected anytime soon.

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times Of Oman


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Even though there were Egyptians opposing Mohamed Mursi as president of their country, the forceful exit of the elected government has become one of the shameful events and now captured in the history of a civilized world. The entire episode proves that the historically rich Egypt is yet to embrace the concept of democracy. The uncertainty now endures every extent of development that the Egypt was waiting for since the end of Mubarak regime.

With one-year in office, Mohamed Mursi failed to take the confidence of the majority Egyptians, and the growing anger has eventually gone to his fall.

The sad part is that world powers or the United Nations have done nothing to calm Egypt, especially when common people were dying for the mere survival.