Touria Prayag's Blog

What is left of the Arab Spring? 26 Août 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on March 22, 2014

What is left of the Arab Spring?

Par Touria Prayag

Those who think that what is happening in Tahrir and Rabaa Square today has nothing to do with us must have a very short memory. They must have forgotten the events in Algeria some decades ago and the havoc wreaked on the world as a result. The timid reaction of the powerful political leaders will come back and bite us one day.

The message which is going out to the world today is that young Egyptians will have fought and been killed for no valid reason. The generals are back in charge and are terrorising the ‘terrorists’ in much the same way Mubarak terrorised his opponents for decades before the Arab Spring. And the Muslim Brotherhood – a party which was democratically elected to rule Egypt – has not only seen its president removed but also being totally excluded from politics. That has a cost and the whole world will spend decades paying for having closed its eyes to this mistake.

Granted, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi may have aggressively expanded his powers. He may have ignored secular voices. He may have sidled up to extremists. He may have behaved as if he had the support of the whole nation – when in fact he had been voted in by barely more than half of the electorate – and started gradually inserting Islamic bits into the constitution which were not conducive to the nation building Egyptians had been hoping for. He may have acted as if he would never face an election again. However, no matter how much one may disagree with his Islamist agenda, the world remembers a man who – for the fi rst time in the history or Egypt – walked into power through the ballot box and the will of the people. And that is something significant. Democracy, they say, is the worst form of government… except for all those other forms that have been tried. Egypt will learn this the hard way.

The bloody images coming out of Egypt these days are sad and saddening. They are a far cry from the peaceful demonstrations of the Arab Spring which the whole world had looked up to with admiration and which the Arab World equated with hope for better tomorrows for the Arab youth. Today, this revolution is in shambles and Egypt seems to be sliding into civil war. The economy is reeling. Mubarak – released from government custody – is looking on with hope and probably laughing inside. The goons who maintained him in power for decades are in charge again. The demonstrators are determined to wait it out and are not showing any intention of wanting to go back home. And it is not clear how Egypt will come out of this bloody cycle.

Those world leaders who have forgotten the Algerian experience will live to remember it and remind us of it. What is happening in Egypt today is no different. It is not a ”post-revolution transition”. It is a coup. And it will not end here. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood and similar movements know that they can never use the democratic route to get to power, they and their followers will resort to violence. And, considering the extent of poverty and frustration in Egypt, there will be no shortage of recruits. That’s when we will start paying for the indecisive reaction of the world leaders. We will then start picking up the pieces of what is left of the Arab Spring.

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