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Egypt’s changing of the guard: a challenge for change masters

I’ve been to Egypt and other Middle Eastern dictatorships too many times to believe Egypt and her neighbors are ready for democracy. In my mind, democracy is an art form and a culture, just like in business when a CEO says it’s time to be quick and agile. It doesn’t happen because one thinks hard about it.

It’s not about free elections
I feel many of us want to believe that democracy starts with elections. We believe that cultural change will follow the vote. I really can’t fault anyone for thinking that way. It makes sense. I want to believe it myself. Because it’s simple, and because it’s black and white, politically correct and, it fits well in western nation-building philosophy.

The rehabilitated nations of the Middle East once freed from their current bosses will most likely move towards another form of dictatorship, maybe theocracies. I’m sorry to say that that reality hasn’t yet been successfully demonstrated, anywhere. No matter what the Canadian or US Constitution says. From a social historical point of view, democracies were not built on free elections, where a people chose their own government. It was built on simpler bricks: people’s capability to earn a decent living in a safe place.

First a decent living, then the rule of law (even under dictatorships). Flanked by reliable infrastructures, we get democracy. It’s a process. Democracy surfaces into all kinds of shapes: free speech, free thought, a good life, inspiring art, money, blogs, books, movies, the Internet and crime.

As I said, Egyptians may vote as much as we would like them to. But what’s really in play here is Egypt’s 60 years of inefficiency and embedded corruption. With no resources available to them to renew their nation, and an economy on life-support since Nasser, the next elections, that could appear OK, will lead that nation straight into another dictatorship, hardly what they asked for or deserve.

Unfortunately I have no doubt about that outcome. And that’s almost a certainty given that Egypt’s  education system is based on 7th century dogma.

What we have and will witness in the short term, call them nation changing events, courageous as they are, will take the Middle East’s new leadership in a renewed confrontation with Israel. I’m afraid, and sorry to say, that an inevitable and insoluble train wreck is in the offing. The confrontation will probably take shape in Jerusalem.
Andre John Haddad

Posted in Country visits, World economy.

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  1. Mhelai says

    Good idea to start tweeting. That’s the sioacl media through which I got connected (and subsequently subscribed) to your demsoc blog.Best of luck with Twitter. Now off to explore your blog!bob

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