Tuesday, 20 August 2013

I Told You So (Egyptian Edition)

A few weeks ago, I posted a piece warning anti-Morsi protestors that egging on the military to overthrow a democratically-elected government, however bad, would rebound spectacularly.
the people of Egypt are deluded if they see an army coup as a necessary stage in the pursuit of democracy. Morsi was a bad president but he wasn't a dictator. The demonstrators should sup with a very long spoon: supporting a coup against someone you don't like tacitly authorises the next coup, which might be against someone you do like. 
Ask yourself this: how many times have military coups lead to democratic governments?
It's not, of course, a simple matter. The Morsi government was elected democratically, but it was hardly governing in that spirit. Democracy is more than installing an dictatorship with a mandate for a fixed period of time and letting them get on with it (though this is of course the British system: the current coalition is behaving as though it has an enormous mandate for radical change). 

One of my friends, a leading Socialist Workers' Party thinker, had a chat with me about this. He thinks I called it wrong and that the strength of popular feeling on the Egyptian street indicated a brighter future than I thought.

But now hundreds of people are being murdered every week by the military in the name of security and the people who overthrew Mubarak are loudly cheering them on.

But what's this? President Morsi has been charged with criminal offences against Mubarak's military dictatorship (imagine the West German state trying postwar politicians for resisting the Nazi regime?) and Mubarak is being released by the military government. If I were an Egyptian democrat, I'd be looking from the pigs to the men and finding very little difference indeed. And then I'd be packing my bags and quietly heading towards the exit.

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