Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Post-Revolutionary Egypt: What's Next? Part 4

Politics & Religion:

One would hardly conceive consulting a chapter on state reforms without having separate rooms for religious and political analysis and recommendations, yet with an elected president formed and nurtured under the auspice of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, it is becoming harder to distinguish between political agendas and religious commandments even though glorious empires and successful state management has once been led by fervent prophets and religious apostles.

Political Islamism nowadays has bridged the divide between state management and religious theology, and the Muslim brotherhood fashion has embodied such philosophy following the recommendations of its founder AlBanna. A legacy which, though inspired revolutions and ignited incidents, is still at the center of interrogation by both the public opinion and the centers of powers worldwide. Far from being compared to the Turkish Gullen movement who advances an Islamic agenda through education and business, the Muslim brotherhood embraces a full political approach directed towards the control of key positions inside the government, thus implementing its vision through state organs.

This being said, the mischievous game of politics can easily put the current government under stress and recurrent test, especially that the social, religious and geographical features of Egypt allow malicious schemes to take effect without much planning. Whether a plot to blow up a church, or a furtive attack on border patrols near the Rafah crossing point, the blames of state mismanagement or blind and reckless compassion with Hamas are  common currency in Pharaoh’s land, a currency too easily manipulated by the political lack of regulation.

The Egyptian government needs to act quickly and efficiently to reverse the power flow and to assert the will of the public opinion as main source of legislation instead of induced and forced actions prompted by the Military council and allies of the former regime. This can be achieved through greater representation, active engagement of the civil society and formation of key political alliances. The greater representation has already been upheld by president Mursi when nominating Coptic Christians in key positions in the government, yet the increase of the female representatives in the government has not been as much secured. Nominating females for senior posts in the state will not only draw support and appreciation from the public opinion, but will also clear the doubts about the approach of the Muslim brotherhood indoctrinated president about women rights and representation.

Moreover, representation ought not only to give justice to women, but also to the generation Y without which a revolution could not proceed. The inclusion of the young individuals in the ministerial cabinet and state offices is a priority and an ethical imperative to pay tribute to the effort of the grassroots youth movements who came to the streets and scarified lives and wealth for the nation’s welfare. With a 71% literacy rate and a an almost 63% of population aged 15-64[1], the young generation is not only abundant, but is also educated and well-endowed to uphold responsibilities in the political spheres of the country. Relevant fields of state legislations cannot be competitive, visionary and innovative unless under the guidance of a young official. Such fields comprise the ministries of new technologies and higher education and scientific research.

On another note, political alliances are crucial for healthy political performances both due to its effectiveness in channeling efforts towards consensual goals and preventing political confrontation which undermines state efforts in most cases. The political offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, the freedom and justice party, ought not to indulge in ideological quarrels with the secular and liberal movement in order not to alienate itself amid a growing critical base in the Egyptian street. The alliances can be policies-specific and thus would neither endanger the ideological integrity nor identity of the Muslim Brotherhood representatives. The policies pertinent to the nations’ economy, for example, can be drafted in coordination with the liberal movement which abides by the market oriented principle of economy. Their inclusion in the process of establishing a liberal, market oriented vision for Egypt will indeed strengthen the image of the current government as an inclusive institution meant to represent the entire ideological and political spectrum in an effort to incrust a political democratic offset to the leading Freedom and Justice party.

Finally, sound state management in a democratic society ought to empower the civil society and uphold it as a crucial partner in elaborating the domestic policies. The civil society in Egypt has proven to be an illuminated establishment with unequal human resources, yet the attention required to recognize the work of the numerous associations and equip them with the necessary financial and logistical needs has been overlooked. Joining the different NGOs in state building is not only a matter of democratic exertion but is a point pertinent to national security concerns. Several NGOs in Egyptian and foreign territory acquire funding and expertise from foreign government to promote an agenda which sometimes threatens Egyptian interests. Given the political circumstances which put Egypt on a sensitive position in the world chess board, and the disturbances which populate the relationship between Egypt and several governments amongst is Israel, allowing the civil society to be infiltrated by foreign agendas because of certain political alignments or plain negligence is a fatal error which endangers the homeland security at the highest levels.

This being said, these set of recommendations and opinions are to be observed and implemented, and timing in state management is a crucial feature which alone can determine whether a government can indeed succeed or fail dramatically regardless of the nature of its policies. Egypt is in a historical turnout, and recalling the losses in human and financial resources makes it clear that enough has been suffered and scarified, and time has come to do the right things at the right moment.

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