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Tahrir Square Photo: AP
Tahrir Square Photo: AP
 
 

Arabs in love with anarchy

Op-ed: Egyptians failed to understand that Tahrir Square protests are not real democracy

Guy Bechor
Published: 11.25.11, 00:39 / Israel Opinion

This isn’t the first time the Arab world falls in love with the negative images it invents. This was also the case in the 1990s and in the 2000s, when the Arab world fell in love with the martyr phenomenon. Poets wrote songs of praise for the suicide bombers who blew up in Israel and media outlets spoke of them enthusiastically. However, the martyrs then started to explode in the streets of the Arab world as well.

 

The same happened when the Egyptians fell in love with the destructive military revolution they experienced in 1952, and this is happening now too: They have fallen in love with anarchy.

 

The “million-man” rally at Cairo’s Tahrir Square has turned into a sanctified term for them, a value instead of a means, an admirable historical symbol, without realizing that there isn’t much that ties this rally to real democracy. This is in fact an aggressive, belligerent and destructive move for their society.

 

Indeed, Egypt is home to 87 million citizens, and a million babies were already born since Hosni Mubarak was toppled. After all, there is no problem in getting hundreds of thousands and even millions of people out to the streets. Yet the Egyptians failed to realize that they are sanctifying an aggressive and even violent move, which from now on shall threaten any kind of regime that emerges there.

 

Moreover, it will now be difficult to fight against such sanctified phenomena, especially as Egyptians sanctified them themselves.

 

After all, there will always be frustrated and disappointed people out there. The huge expectations of what they refer to as the “January 25th Revolution” gave rise to huge disappointment and despair. In fact, not much has changed. More accurately: It changed for the worse. All national parameters declined: The economy, personal safety, and Egypt’s global stature.

 

From a stable, powerful state, Egypt is turning into a country that is perceived as unsafe, overcome by despair, and dangerous. This is anarchy. When anarchy is being worshipped, it becomes the real ruler.

 

Democracy a delicate resource

Should there be no forgeries in the parliamentary elections, radical Islam is expected to make great inroads next week, and possibly even take over the country’s political system. We are not only referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also to more radical forces, including the Salafists – the most radical element – which are running in the elections as a party as well.

 

And so, Egypt will become home to three power centers that are hostile to each other: The military and defense establishment, which will have trouble accepting the loss of power and already wish to set up a supreme defense council based on the Turkish model that would counter the parliament and government; the religious establishment, which amazingly enough shall turn into the country’s strongest civilian force, something that appeared illogical only a year ago; and the third factor, the street and the violence; or in other words, the anarchy.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood learned that it can utilize the street against the military regime, yet it also realized that the street can work against the movement as well. At the end of the day, anarchy would rule there too – the dissatisfied, violent masses shall hit the streets against anyone who takes power.

 

Even though Egypt liked referring to itself as the “country of institutions,” it did not have real democratic institutions or a culture of democratic organization. In the vacuum that has been created now, we see confusion and anarchy flourishing.

 

Egyptians failed to understand that democracy is a delicate resource, which considers and understands the other, the different and the weak, rather than trampling it at the squares, as was done to Egypt’s Copts, for example.

 

If it wishes to succeed with the revolutionary experiments it undertook, Egyptian society must shun the culture of admiring the negative and the violent and converge around a new vision of construction, rehabilitation and development. Not the empty slogans of Islamic elements, meant for election purposes, but rather, new national momentum and a new and exciting vision – Egypt loves these kinds of visions. As is customary, it would sanctify such vision as well.

 

Should that fail to materialize, this immense state is doomed to continue sinking and facing ideological confusion, as the anarchy created by the country itself laughs in the backdrop.

 

 

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