Friday, May 27, 2005

Baheyya: Egypt Analysis and Whimsy

Baheyya has a very nice little montage of photos of and quotes on the Egyptian referendum on the amendment of Article 76. Check it out.


Which she has followed up with what is possibly the best piece of analysis I've read on Egypt in recent memory.

[Towards the end of the piece]

When regime hacks claim that Egyptians aren’t ready for democracy, or when foreign know-nothings pontificate about the baby steps of democracy, or when Egyptians entrenched in the status quo wrap their fear of change in claims of the unsuitability of democracy, I can only marvel at the brazen spinning of such rank lies.

And then I reach for my nearest history text. There I don’t find comforting proof of Egyptians’ readiness for democracy, for that is not and never has been the issue. Nor do I find triumphal stories of democratic happy endings, for that is not how democracy comes about. I do find a dizzying diversity of socio-political mobilisation, a fevered clash of interests, heated contests of ideas, high-stakes political brinksmanship, stupendous miscalculations, felicitous and unexpected advances, regrettable losses, shameful failures, and everything in between. In sum, a chequered political history of one democratic step forward, three steps back. The puzzle is not that we have not yet achieved democracy, but that there are those who would rob us of this history, distort and falsify it, and package it into a claim that Egyptians lack the maturity “necessary” for democracy.


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