Monday, July 22, 2013

Lessons on democracy from Egypt
By Editor
Mon 08 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

There are lessons to learn from Egypt about democracy and its defenders. It is clear that in this world we have different approaches to and definitions of democracy. The so-called champions of democracy don't seem to be championing democracy when it comes to groups and individuals they detest.

The bells that tolled for Hamas a few years ago are today tolling for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. The champions of democracy refused to accept the electoral and democratic victory of Hamas and toppled it undemocratically. Today they have done the same in Egypt. From day one, they had refused to accept the election victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They did everything possible to cripple that government.

We have seen similar behaviour elsewhere in Latin America. The champions of democracy have refused to accept the election victories of left-wing governments in that region. They even welcomed similar military coups against democratically elected governments they didn't like. We have not forgotten how the so-called champions of democracy connived with undemocratic elements or encouraged a coup against the democratically elected Hugo Chavez.

Similarly, a democratically elected President of Honduras was removed in a similar way as we are seeing in Egypt today. The champions of democracy are quiet. And when they try to speak, they are not making sense because they are trying to be impartial, neutral in a situation that requires them to take a definite and resolute stand in defence of democracy.

Imagine what their position would be today if it was the Muslim Brotherhood in opposition who did what has happened in Egypt today. What wouldn't they be accused of - terrorism, intolerance, undemocratic behaviour and so on and so forth?

There is no doubt Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government has been toppled by undemocratic elements with the support and encouragement of the so-called champions of democracy. If it was the Muslim Brotherhood who did this, their government and the whole country today would be under sanctions. If this was in Zimbabwe, imagine what they would be saying today! Sanctions and sanctions, denunciations and denunciations!

These are the double standards we today have to endure. This is the reality of our so-called democracy today. This is not because democracy is a bad word. But they are starting to make democracy look a bad word when it is such a wonderful thing - a Greek word, meaning power or strength of the people. Rather than being horrified by it, the generals have taken it over with extraordinary brazenness and admirable persuasion.

But we all know that democracy is based on the principle of the subordination of the minority to the majority and on the recognition of freedom and equality in terms of civil rights. We are however accustomed to see it only in its formal terms, divorced from social reality. It is said that, when you get right down to it, democracy is determined by those who control the world and that it is subject to historical events.

When they feel safe and it's in their interests, they are proud of democracy and use it as a surgical tool or as acupuncture needles for exercising political control. Then come the constitutionalist euphoria, the rhetoric defending of representative institutions, and praise of elections and formal political freedoms.

But it's not difficult for us to see that the promises of rebuilding democracy cannot hide the crumbs and torn and dirty clothing of theirs.
The present circumstances in Egypt demonstrate the failure of our reliance on these people on how we should govern ourselves.

It is clear that whatever form of political organisation we choose, if it is to take us anywhere, it should promote unity. Today, Egypt is a highly divided country which will have a lot of difficulties reasserting itself internationally. It will also not be in a position to solve most of its problems.

It will require a lot of work to unite that country again. But this is what those who ultimately hold the power want - a weak and divided Egypt. They are setting one section of that great nation against the other. Who benefits from this? It's certainly not the Egyptian people.
We hope Africa and the Arab world is learning something from all this.

Not very long ago, President Morsi, trying to buy the support of certain powerful forces, was busy encouraging what is going on in Syria. The Assad regime in Syria that he had joined to cripple is still there but he's gone. The same forces that he joined to oppose the Assad regime conspired against him and are not there to defend him today.

Clearly, in a world in which peace truly reigns, democracy can take more forms of expression in a fair society. In a world in which the world hegemony of the mightiest imperialist power reigns and the people's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence are threatened, democracy won't have many different forms of expression.
And we can also see that if lack of democracy in the world were the preamble to social change, many countries would have disappeared already because most of them are developed on the basis of force and repression. Look at how these so-called democratic countries deal with dissent: when people take to the streets to protest, brutal force is used against them, tonnes and tonnes of teargas are poured on them.

And here we are not talking about Third World countries, but developed countries. They are maintained on the basis of force - a highly sophisticated, well-organised force. They deploy force not only to prevent social change but also to put down people's protests.

When you analyse things from all angles, you see that you can't call what they have democracy. As we have already stated, if lack of democracy were to cause governments to collapse, most of them would have collapsed a long time ago.

Clearly, democracy can only exist in a fair social system.

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