The election currently being held in Egypt is a travesty of the worst kind, because at it’s core, it is designed to “white-wash” the political reality of what just occurred in Egypt’s recent political history. The Muslim Brotherhood, and their democratically elected President, has been toppled from power in a military coup that may or may not have been covertly orchestrated by the U.S. to avoid further conflict between Israel and Egypt once it became clear that pro-Western former President Hosni Mubarak would have to resign due to the Arab Spring, and would be replaced by an anti-Western Islamic fundamentalist. In other words, the election is nothing more than a pep rally for the Egyptian military.
The “election” will ratify into existence a new Constitution that will give the Egyptian military broad new powers, and ban religious political parties like the Muslim Brotherhood (that has already been labeled a terrorist organization by the military, despite being the ruling party of Egypt not that long ago). This political pep-rally posing as a democratic election will only serve to bolster and rally support for the Egyptian military and Army Chief General Sisi, who may yet run for the Presidency. The general has said he will run for President if a strong “yes” turnout is reported after the election (as if any other result is possible), even though he is largely responsible for the implementation of the coup that toppled and arrested President Mohammed Morsi, and then labeled the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Brotherhood’s supporters will be sitting this one out, and have been encouraged to boycott the election rather than vote no, since they can’t even put up political signs that encourage a ‘no” vote, and if they show up to the polls, they are likely to be beaten, molested, arrested, or even killed. Likewise, they are in effect terrorist sympathizers based on the Egyptian military’s decision to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, so why would they risk coming out in public and voting against the military’s new Constitution?
I’m sure Egypt’s youth who initiated the Arab Spring that toppled Mubarak, and elected Morsi into a position of power and control are none too happy about this military counter-coup, and its likely lasting negative impact to their long hoped for freedom from dictatorship and increased social reforms. They rose-up and toppled a pro-Western dictator, only to see their elected President toppled by the Egyptian military with U.S. funding. The U.S. government views the issue differently and is unwilling to call the military coup a “coup,” and instead has labeled it as a “popular uprising” of the people aided by the military. In this fashion, U.S. tax-payer dollars can continue to flow into the country to support the Egyptian military, and with the new Constitution, civilian oversight and control regarding the Egyptian military’s budget will be off-limits! So, in essence, the United States has aided and abetted the theft of a Presidency, the toppling of a democratically elected leader, and has tried to convince the rest of the world that a majority of the Egyptian people support what has occurred. But the problem with that line of reasoning, is that a majority of the Egyptian people voted for Mohamed Morsi. Now, many are just weary of the violence and blood-shed, and would rather have an iron-fist keeping the peace, than a democratically elected leader supported by reformers and/or Islamic fundamentalists making waves.
So, it is back to more of the same, and all the potential progress of the Arab Spring has been successfully hijacked by the Egyptian military (and likely the CIA) as this travesty of an election plays itself out (for all the world to watch) with everyone already knowing the final tally long before the final “yes” votes for ratification are cast. So much for the power of the internet to mobilize large numbers of reform-minded people to engage in “Arab-Spring” social movements for lasting political change. Bullets, tanks, and military repression will likely always trump free speech, FB, and popularly supported uprisings. Thus, in the final analysis, the Arab Spring was a monumental waste of time, effort, and lives.
Democracy will never be allowed to grow and flourish in the Middle East for as long as a majority of voters will vote into power pro-Islamic candidates opposed to Western intervention in the region. But then again, with this new Constitution, I guess Egypt will never again have to worry about pro-Islamic candidates, since religious political parties will be banned. However, as any close observer of American politics could tell you, the separation of church and state doctrine expounded by Thomas Jefferson has not been successful at isolating and banning the influence of religion in politics within America. Thus, I suspect Egypt’s military, whether funded by the U.S. or not, will not be able to do much better at separating religion from politics in a country that has an ancient history of rulers with a God-complex.
In fact, there is no way of knowing quite yet whether or not the military dictatorship they are voting into power would be any different in the long run than one run by an Islamic fundamentalist. Those who vote today are only voting to symbolically justify the military’s actions, to give further credence to the American argument that Morsi’s fall from grace was due to a “popular uprising,” and ultimately to end the instability and violence caused by the messy transition from Egyptian dictatorship to Egyptian Democracy back to Egyptian dictatorship. Unfortunately however, military repression, subversion of the Democratic process, and blatant disregard for the principles of participatory government do not create peace, but rather, they only serve to sew the seeds for further discontent and discord. Egypt has some tough times ahead, and no farce of an election or ratification of an undemocratic Constitution will ever cover-up what has occurred, or resolve the deep divisions that have formed within Egypt ever since the U.S. started meddling in their internal political affairs to keep the Suez canal open and to protect Israel.