By Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief
Two years ago, the people of Egypt spoke as one voice in defense of democracy and created a positive environment of change not only for their country but for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world. People borrowed words and idioms from Egyptian masses tto coin terms such as the spring of Islam and the Autumn of despotism or the Arab Spring.
Two years later, the democracy is still the most cherished concept for Egyptians but the path to democracy seems to have been covered with the dust of dictatorship and the rocks of militarism. The Muslim Brotherhood came to power and Morsi became the President, through democratically held elections. He was elected the president of all Egypt and not just the Muslim Brotherhood. But within a year of his rule, many people began to see him as a partisan president who in their views used his power to enhance the effectiveness of Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. The perception led to another mass demonstration and the military intervened and replaced a democratically elected government with itself.
The military used the state might to convince the masses that Morsi was not good for Egypt. People can question the style of Morsiâ€™s governance but in democracy the change is brought through the ballot and not through bullets. The military betrayed the ideals of Egyptian masses by removing a democratically elected government in the infancy stage of democracy. This is not good either for Egypt or democracy or the region. People have a right to choose their own representatives and endorse policies that protect the interests of all. Morsi and his allies were accused of playing partisan politics where nepotism and and sectarianism were visible. Many Egyptians also feared that Morsi was introducing a brand of Islam they did not feel comfortable with.They should have been dealt in a court of law or through ballots.
Seemingly, the Morsiâ€™s ouster was not primarily motivated by the desire to save Egypt. Rather it was also motivated by the desire to protect the interests of power elites of the country and despotic rulers of the neighboring counties. Countries that supported the coup against Morsi were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and UAE, all monarchies, who saw a death to their long rule in the democratic experiment of Egypt. There were others who did not want a Muslim party to rule a country in the name of Islam with privy to all state resources.
No matter what the motives were the fact is that a democratically elected government in Egypt is ousted and people once again have been denied the right to choose for themselves. The situation also warrants a critical look at the way state affairs were conducted by Morsi. In its short stay of power the Islamic parties failed to convince the opposition that political Islam was a source of comfort for people. It failed to give the impression to the critics that the rights of minorities and women would be fully protected and the priority of the government would be to ensure that the basic necessities of the people are addressed properly.
Islam as a political force is an emerging reality but those speaking in the name of Islam has to allay the fears of the opposition that a government owing allegiance to the divine guidance would not betray masses in protecting their rights. Perhaps the Morsi government failed to give this assurance loudly and clearly.
India: The Hope
In the first week of December five Indian states would go to general poll. Soon after that elections for Indiaâ€™s parliament would take place. In the state assembly elections two main parties are competing for power, the Hindu fascist party the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Congress Party. The main contest is between the two except in Delhi where a third party has also placed its claim. It is the Aam AAdmi Party or the part of the commoners. It is most likely that AAP might capture power in Delhi and create a wave of change in different parts of the country.
Right now the party is only active in Delhi, but a victory would encourage its followers in different parts of the country to challenge the so called two party political system at the national level.
AAP is focused on corruption and it has captured the attention of younger voters. The main threat to AAP comes from the Hindu fascist groups who would try to see the country divided on religious and caste lines to serve their political agenda. With the countryâ€™s politics still run by caste and religion based power elites, it is possible that that the fascists might succeed in rural areas where the majority of Indians live. By December 10, 2013, it would become clear if India is going for monumental political change or the surging popularity of AAP was only a mirage.