Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The mother of the world: The birth of Egypt's democracy

This election is not a 'referendum' on the revolution, but a step in the only direction possible: forward.

A VERY GOOD COMMENT
Hamid Dabashi
Al-Jazeera

"........So it all depends how you read these numbers - with or without trust in the revolutionary will of a people. In another utterly brilliant reading, offered by Hani Shukrallah, we read:

"Minerva's owl flies at dusk... and this for the first time in our history, we can with a fair degree of confidence say that while a quarter of us want the Brotherhood and another quarter want restoration, nearly half of us want the revolution realised; not at all a bad place from which to start putting that revolutionary house in order."

This is the way a caring revolutionary, committed to the future of his homeland, reads the very same numbers. Even more importantly and poignantly, Hani Shukrallah wisely and accurately reverses the conventional and clichéd fear of the army and the Muslim Brotherhood:

"The electoral triumph of the Mubarak regime on one hand and that of its no-less-authoritarian historical antagonist, the Brotherhood, on the other, heralds not their ascent but their decline. It is not a new dawn of the Muslim Brotherhood that we are witnessing, nor is it a revival of the semi-secular police state à la Mubarak, Gaddafi et al, but rather the twilight of both."....

Flashback

These insights are accurate and trustworthy, even if we limit ourselves to events here and now in Egypt. But there are other historical comparisons we can make. If you want to have a simple sense of what exactly has happened in the Arab and Muslim world that we celebrate as the "Arab Spring", just compare the Iranian Revolution of 1979 with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 - in a span of just a little more than three decades.

Look at the candidates and compare the scene with thirty years ago, when the Iranian revolution happened. The combination of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Mohamed Morsi would be the functional equivalents of Ayatollah Khomeini, while Ahmed Shafiq and his fellow army officers would be the late Shah's army officers that Ayatollah Khomeini had swiftly gathered and sent to the roof of his residence to be summarily executed. Hamdeen Sabahi would be the sum of all the Iranian leftist revolutionaries who Khomeini ordered executed by the stroke of one pen, their supporters and sympathisers violently purged from universities, clubbed to death or silence in newspapers by the thugs at the employment of the clerical leadership, or else forced into exile out of their homeland.

Now: which one is a superior and more hopeful revolution?.

The Egyptian revolution is everything that the Iranian revolution was not: calm, composed, gentle, civil, human, hopeful, principled. All the legitimate fear that all Egyptians now have for the future of their revolution is fuel for visionary progress. It is good that a former army officer, a Muslim Brotherhood member, and a socialist are running, debating, charging, and trying to appease their electorate. This is sublime democracy, with minimum bloodshed, with people, the Egyptians themselves, at the driving seat - with Tahrir Square supremely at their disposal.

Which one is a superior historic moment for us as a people - Arabs, Iranians, Muslims, from one end of Africa to another end of Asia: The moment when the former officials of the Pahlavi regime are summoned on the roof of Ayatollah Khomeini's residence and swiftly executed, or when the former officials of the Mubarak regime are given a democratic chance to go to their people and tell them their vision of their future?....."

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