Egypt’s military just gave Morsi 48 hours to “comply with the peoples’ wishes.” Some tweets I found insightful: “Raise your hand if you think a highly disciplined religious movement that survived arrests and killings for 85 years is going to go quietly.” – Evan Hill, Cairo-based journalist. “Choice facing Egyptian people: Generals who’ve proved they can’t govern. MB ditto & an opposition that can’t get organized enough to govern.” – Paul Danahar, BBC Middle East Bureau Chief. “The one thing I can say with certainty is this: I have no idea of how any of this will play out. I am as in the dark as you are.” – Mahmoud Salem, Egyptian secular activist.
In May 2012 I was in Egypt as the people expressed great enthusiasm for their first free elections. I then watched as the democratically elected president worked the military out of power and expressed his willingness to work with all parties. I was hopeful, and nowhere near as critical of his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood as many others.
Then came the steady decline – forcing representatives of the other religious groups and the seculars out of the constitutional process. Anti-semitic rantings from several years prior emerging. Losing control of the Sinai. More and more people becoming nervous – with a corresponding drop in the economy.
Yesterday’s protests were amazing to watch, though obviously concerning as well. After all, setting a precedent for toppling an elected leader isn’t ideal. And now the army is here to “help.” I’m reminded of the title character’s deadpan reaction in the 1985 film “Fletch” when confronted by an armed crooked cop: “Thank God. The…police.”
I don’t know the route forward, but I hope this is the bumpy road to progress and not the backsliding to some form of authoritarian or oligarchic rule.