Are we there yet or are we on our way, hell bent to join the likes of Iran and Iraq; fanatic theocracies? The minor difference is that if Egypt continues to hurtle down this path it will earn the Islamist rather than Islamic nomenclature. In all but a few empty words by a few Muslims in authority and others, the behavior, or rather misbehavior of the authorities and a major portion of the Muslim populous, have earned this adjective, Islamists. The balance of power-and for every nation there is its own balance-is shifting so rapidly in favor of fanaticism, terrorism and other ‘isms’ which have empowered the wicked faction of our society to almost a point of no-return. Is there a glimmer of hope? Yes, but it is at best flickering. The Muslims and Christians who wish their country survival must lock arms and act immediately to fight down this menace. Though the solutions are patently clear- some of which are extraordinarily challenging-what is lacking is the power to initiate the process and sustain it against the humongous civil and religious problems.
The first major problem is the stagnation, or worse still, backsliding of the economy. This problem hasn’t erupted in a day, a year or a decade; it started in the wake of the 1952 revolution and the suicidal policies of the military-lead governments which continue to date. Historically, poverty leads to an intolerance which either creates an environment for a true revolution, which would aim to prevent a keeling ship from sinking, or the alternate, which is happening now; the surrender of the country to the Islamists who are funded by disenchanted Egyptians and foreign elements, who would take over Egypt and make of it a vassal state (as part of the Ummah) serving their nefarious purposes. The economic state of any country is part of a whole including health, education, religiosity, relations with other nations, democracy and self esteem, just to mention a few. All these fundamentals are intertwined and interlocked into a skein, if any of which fail the whole will be affected and eventually disintegrate. In Egypt, both morals and morale were the first to suffer and the semblance of piety was no safeguard against loss of these two elements of the foundation on which the nation stood. The insidious percolation of religious extremism and fanaticism which leads to the state of terror, focused on the minority, was inevitable. This hurtful and dangerous trend is dominating the lives of the Egyptians to a major degree and may lead to the demise of our country as we knew it before the ‘false’ revolution. The rot does not stop there; rather it has cascaded down into the other major components of the skein which has suffered. In this milieu bribery substitutes salary. A gluttonous environment has mushroomed which created a wide chasm between the extremely wealthy few and the majority of the population which form the extremely poor stratum. The foreign holdings of the head of state and his relatives, in the billions, are well known. Since there is no accountability there is no redemption.
The second major problem is the lack of democracy. This subject has been addressed openly ad infinitum. The definition of democracy is so varied that it is ‘in the eye of the beholder.’ A Western style democracy is beyond our reach at this juncture. Even if we are successful in bringing about our style of democracy it has to be balanced by a strong government which assures the rule of law within this democracy. Democracy, contrary to the belief of many Egyptian elites and foreign urge, is not the panacea for all the ills we suffer from. By no means am I belittling the necessity for democracy but I am cautioning against the abuse of freedoms guaranteed by a democracy by the likes of fanatic extremists. A substitute for the rule of the ‘demos’ is the so-called ‘Benevolent Dictatorship’; a one man rule. In the past, when monarchs had this suzerain right and a hereditary system of passing on power, it worked well to a major degree. However, in the West, now, all monarchies are constitutional, while in our region monarchy is absolute and in reality should be obsolete. As the saying goes “power corrupts and total power corrupts totally”, we should heed this wisdom and guard against it. In Egypt let us not rush the process of democratization but first let us take a little step at the top by ensuring the integrity of the head of state which would inevitably guarantee improvements in the legislature which writes the laws of the country. For instance, the limitation of the number of terms in office is a must and nepotism would be severely dealt with.
The third major problem is the misinterpretation and misapplication of religion. While most Egyptians are genetically homogenous there are two so-called heavenly religions practiced, which appear to be mutually exclusive by faith and dogma. The absurdity is that the battle for who will eventually go to heaven is fought down here on earth. Let me propose a simplistic solution which works in civilized nations all over the world. Let us apply the principle laissez faire and allow each person the sacred right to worship as he/she pleases and who they worship and leave the fight to the hereafter. The pressure, contrary to this sane solution is enormous, where the slogan “Islam is the solution” has become ubiquitous. Indeed, while this is part of a global problem, the solution in Egypt has to come from within. We have the wherewithal to contain and eradicate this menace, but first, as the saying goes “do not play with fire.” To try to use one evil to forestall another is counterproductive, because if you let the Genie out of the bottle there is no putting him back in again.
I believe that what I have written, though it may appear somewhat general; not having pointed fingers will be well understood by those who bother to read this article.
As ever, long live Egypt, one nation under Allah.