Friday, February 4, 2011
What Is And What Could Never Be: Egypt Free or Theocracy?
Here is a more positive example of what could happen in Egypt.
It could follow the Republic of Indonesia circa May of 1998, not Iran 1979.
In 1997 and 1998 there were riots in various parts of Indonesia. Some riots looked spontaneous and some looked as if they had been planned.
At the start of May 1998, students were holding peaceful demonstrations on university campuses across the country. They were protesting against massive price rises for fuel and energy, and they were demanding that President Suharto should step down.
On May 12th students in Jakarta began marches, 13 Students were killed. On the 13th and 14th of May rioting across Jakarta sparked by these deaths destroyed many commercial centers and over 1,000 people we killed.
Long story short, the President stepped down, the Vice President led an interim government for a year and then elections and a stable secular government resulted from this. East Timor even voted to break away from Indonesian rule and become an independent nation, so there were really two liberation's for the price of one here.
According to the pew research center in 2009 Indonesia was 88.2% Muslim, meaning that nearly 203 million people identified as Muslims, mostly Sunni like Egypt, not Shia like Iran. Indonesia is the home of the largest single Muslim population in the world.
Not only did a mostly Muslim country elect a secular government, but also in 2001 they elected Megawati Sukarnoputri, a woman, to office, something we have never done in America.
The process of reform in Indonesia has also been characterized by greater freedom of speech in discernible difference with the suppression of the old era. In the political sphere this has led to a more open political debate in the news media, as well as a renaissance of cultural expression in the arts.
Many Muslims say that Egypt's governments have been secularist and even anti-religious since the early 1920s, there is no reason to believe the Islamists are going to take over this region, or that the people of Egypt would allow it.
Not to mention what happened to the Muslim Brotherhood in post 1954 Egypt. The Brotherhood was accused of the assassination of the President in 1954, the leaders were imprisoned and over the next two decades the Brotherhood divided into at least three factions. The more militant faction was committed to a policy of political opposition to the government. A second faction advocated peaceful withdrawal from society and the creation, to the extent possible, of a separate, parallel society based upon Islamic values and law. The dominant moderate group advocated cooperation with the regime. The group has been outlawed for thirty years since Mubarak took office. They are weak and often choose to work within political means to enact Sharia law and influence society.
The point of all this is to get you to please look beyond certain small furry animal news networks (and others) and see that Egypt has been around for nearly 5000 years, it can handle what kind of government it wants, its been through this before, Islamasists don’t have much power in Egypt and they are not going to take over. Look for the positive examples of what could come from this like Indonesia, not for the fear mongers soothsaying about the “coming insurrection” of Islam and the world.