It lacks the needed capitalist underpinning, to say the least.
What Egyptians call “the Revolution” lasted just 18 days. It began on Jan. 25 and ended on Feb. 11, 2011, when the strongman who had ruled Egypt for 30 years caved in to the apparent will of the people (expressed in the massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square) and resigned from office.
All Egypt — it then seemed — erupted in joy. One leading pizza store celebrated with the offer of “democratic pizza” — meaning, you could choose your own topping.
The revolution’s cheerleaders in the western news media were equally euphoric.
In picking seven student activists from Tahrir Square to adorn its Feb. 28, 2011 cover, Time hailed the arrival of “The Generation Changing the World.” Smiling and casually attired, the four men and three women shown on the cover were the kind of 18-to-24 year-olds you would expect to see in an Apple store in Cairo — or Palo Alto. There were no beards or burqas. One of the activists was wearing a baseball cap turned backward.
Marching as confidently as ever in the wrong direction, Time predicted a quick and painless transition to democracy and renewed economic vigor. “These young people have done more in a few weeks than their parents did in 30 years,” a political-science professor at Cairo University was quoted as saying. “They are the Internet Generation… the Facebook Generation… or just call them the Miracle Generation.”
In its own voice, Time proclaimed:
According to the old narrative, the only outlet for youthful dissent lay in Islamic extremism and violence. A much cited 2003 Brookings Institution report on Arab youths warned that they were being raised in an environment of religious radicalism and anti-Americanism. “These values,” the reported argued, “thus become the formative elements of a new and dispossessed generation, auguring badly for the future.”
The auguries were wrong. In reality, Arab youths were a big part of the silent, moderate majority. In virtually every Arab country, more than half the population is less than 30 years old. And like young people everywhere, most of them prefer the freedom that comes with democracy to the straitjacket of political autocracy or rule by religious conservatives. A survey of youths in nine Arab states released in 2010 by the p.r. firm Asda’a Burson-Marsteller showed that they ranked democracy as a greater priority than good civic infrastructure, access to the best education or even fair wages.
In fact, “the auguries” have been pretty much on target. It was Time that was wildly off the mark in its belief that the combination of youth and technology was about to triumph over the long-entrenched forces of military autocracy and Islamic fundamentalism.
Egypt’s just-announced presidential election has created an uneasy alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood, which has captured the presidency, and Egypt’s secular-minded military, which formed the backbone of Hosni Mubarak’s rule and which continues to wield enormous power.
Even minus Mubarak and his family, Egypt has not strayed far the pre-revolutionary status quo. Having dissolved an elected parliament and effectively declared martial law for the indefinite future, the military runs foreign policy, commands the police and intelligence, and is closely aligned with the judiciary and the other arms of government. As the Wall Street Journal noted in its front-page story on June 25:
The Brotherhood’s long power struggle with the military is far from over. The military has pledged to hand over power to Mr. [Mohammed] Morsi by the end of the month. But Mr. Morsi will assume a presidency crippled by military-imposed constitutional changes that have stripped the office of most of its powers.
Despite their successes in last November’s parliamentary election and in the June’s presidential elections, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood seem to be fully aware that they have not received a strong mandate to change anything — least of all to join Iran in transforming society through the establishment of a theocratic state. The Brotherhood has a strong and highly energized base, but it still lacks broad appeal – it won just 25% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election. It boosted that to 51.7% in the runoff only because many voters were forced to choose between poison — either accepting a holdover from the hated Mubarak regime… or voting for a representative from a group that has long favored the imposition of Sharia law.
If anyone has been left out in the cold in today’s Egypt, it is the Internet/Facebook generation, not the Brotherhood or the military.
For a vivid and revealing account of how three of the revolutionaries from Tahrir Square have fared in post-revolutionary Egypt, I would urge the reader to view the hour-long BBC 2 documentary — “Children of the Revolution” — found on YouTube.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?