On Thursday Egypt’s president gave himself all-but-dictatorial power. He put his own orders above the nation’s judiciary. He had to do so, he said, to prevent “the weevils from eating” the nation. In response to the proclamation, Egyptians rushed into the streets and staged a violent protest.
Those who pushed Hosni Mubarak out of power apparently are willing to revolt again against Mohamed Morsi rather than see their dream of a democracy go up in smoke.
Egypt is still between governments. Mubarak is gone. The army seems to have lost its grip on power. But the representatives and the newly elected president Morsi, who is also head of the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest organized political group in the country, have not been able to draft a new constitution for the people to approve or reject.
Most of the judges who are now attempting to rule on the legality of President Morsi’s edict were appointed by Mubarak.
To win the support of the people, Muslim and secular alike, by creating a democracy truly responsive to the people, a constitution establishing rule of law and laying out the basis for those laws must be adopted. Until government officials are reined in by statute and the basic rights of all Egyptians are enumerated and protected by an Egyptian constitution, the country will be governed by dictators, benevolent and otherwise.
Morsi may not be convinced of these principles. The Muslim Brotherhood has been both persecuted and prosecuted over its long history of opposition to the nation’s military dictators. He and the Brotherhood may be uninterested in sharing the power they feel they won in the election.
Egypt is a Muslim nation. But a significant number of the nation’s educated elite is secular, as is the officer corps of the armed forces. The revolution that toppled the old regime was led by secular young technocrats who drew their inspiration from Western models. They don’t represent a majority of Egyptians, but without their energy, their knowledge and their intellectual support, Egypt’s transformation into the regional leader that its size and its history promise for it will be slow — or fail utterly.
— Emerson Lynn, jr.
N.B. Yes, Egypt’s politics makes a difference to Iola. A well-governed Egypt moving toward prosperity can help keep the peace between Israel and Palestine, which could make war between Israel and Iran less likely, which could increase the flow of Iranian oil to Europe, which could moderate Iran’s anti-western policies and increase the chances for a stable post-war Iraq to emerge. All of these ”whichs” taken together could bring the price of gasoline at Iola pumps back below $2.50. It truly is an inter-connected world. E.L.