MUBARAK PAVING NEW ROLE FOR MILITARY IN EGYPT
This 2011 demonstration against Mubarak will produce another military President. It is a way of life in Egypt. General Naguid and Abel Nasser deposition of King Farouk of Egypt in 1952 was the 2nd revolution after 1919 mass demonstration against British and French domination. No other Arab country as Egypt, kept its traditional relationship with Sudan and the rest of Africa dating back to the black Pharaohs. In fact, African custom remains permanent in Egypt regardless of leader, ancient Barber and Arab waves in Middle East.
The precipitating source of discontent in Egypt as in many other places is the arbitrary abuse of power, abuse of human rights and flagrant abuse of the treasury to enrich a class of leaders dominating the private business and sucking money out of the Country. This is not new in third world countries but people have a limit to how much corruption they can stomach before they blow up. By African standard, Egypt is a one eye king with more than 20% of its population living on less than two US dollars a day. It takes about 2 years for 50% of male and 90% of female graduates to find jobs. Egypt can do better.
Egyptians have to be careful and learn from their own history since 1948 when they blamed certain members of the military and King Farouk for their defeat by Israel. Egypt was one of the first places USA and Russia first worked together against the empires of the British and the French. The Suez Canal economy had been a source of pain for Egypt because of its control by the British and the French with determined opposing interest of each party. While the problems challenged Egypt, military class buried their regret in hedonic endeavors that disenfranchised poor. What else does Mubarak want at age 82?
Pent-up frustration is playing out in Egypt today. The military has a history of excesses in Africa after they overstay their welcome mat. Both Nigeria’s Nzeogwu and Ghana’s Rawlings were expected to change the face of Africa. In Ghana, Rawlings overstayed, in Nigeria Nzeogwu comrades betrayed him. Their vision and mission against corruption is what is echoed in Egypt today asking Mubarak to go. We have too many sit tight leaders in African ruling as dictators over some selected or appointed people “representatives”.
Caution! Egyptians want Mubarak kicked out; at the same time they embrace the Army because the Police have abused people’s liberty. Well, there is no difference between the Army and Mubarak. The Police are only the messengers. Those that sent Police also send the Army. It is all a matter of tactics. While the masses may be able to divide them by appealing to Army’s loyalty to Egypt and not to Mubarak will eventually work, there must be room for any opponent to retreat. If they do not want chaos, “now” must be as good as “soonest” and negotiation must include military cohorts that push him out.
Algiers has also tried the freedom and democracy the masses were yearning for but it was won by the religious right of Islamic Revolution Front with little tolerance for what brought them to power. As a result, the military had to come back and installed their President. Sometimes people can be manipulated between the military, the religious fanatics and corrupt democracy. Some Nigerians may still remember the Chairman of National Party of Nigeria that gave the masses the choice of either NPN or the Army.
The domineering powers in Egypt political arena has been royals, religious and military control of secular administration. Each had had its share of corruption but religious extremists have seized on the fact that they are the least corrupt of all. An advantage used to denigrate and denounce other forms of governments including communism and capitalism. Religious conservatism has always been a pain in every country for their lack of tolerance for other religious belief or even within the same religion divided into sects.
Saudi Arabia is an example of royal excess bribing its small population (so what?) to justify passing tokens to the fellow Arabs and would not hesitate to destroy them to keep its resources to itself. We see the same culture in Kuwait. But their intolerance for other religions, culture and other forms of masses representation is appalling. This allows corruption at the highest level within the royals while those they rule dare not copy their hedonic behavior for fear of sharia law administered only to little people.
The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt has always been part of the struggle but the extremist views of some of their members have been exploited by the military leadership and the secular administration under them. We saw the rule of religion in Afghanistan where the ancient image of Buddha was blown up as they cubed corruption and opium grown even as main source of income. After the overthrow of the corrupt Sha, Iran is still ruled by Ayatollahs without any tolerance for cosmopolitan cultures they enjoyed while in exile.
Moreover, we cannot ignore the fact that corruption that plaque communism and capitalism is not as pronounced in religious administrations. The Vatican and Canterbury manage their resources well, with the vow of poverty. It is the honesty in these religious administrations that appeals to the conscience of masses surviving while others live in conspicuous avarice. These by no means include the new churches and mosques led by religious right, jets trotting and sex craze preachers of wealth, only for the leaders.
Man does not live by bread alone but “freedom” does not feed anyone. We are going to witness more uprising, not only in the Arab countries, but also where food shortages are waiting to blow open. Harvest of wheat and other grains in heavily populated countries like China, India or Pakistan that failed resulting in famine is a factor. Flood in Australia and failed crops in Russia because of weather swing will affect the supply side. So is the higher demand for grain like corn in USA used as ethanol for engines and automobile when man has not had enough to eat. Na who born dog?
We must learn that the owners and originators of any religion, the propagators of serf, communism, capitalism or Ujamaa, do not practice these ideologies blindly as we do in Africa. Adaption of any ideology needs local checks and balance to avoid abuse by man.