Egyptian riots

Prederick wrote:

I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this.

It's really really weird. I feel like this ends in a civil war or another military dictatorship. If half the country wants a religious state and the other half doesn't?

DSGamer wrote:

I feel like this ends in a civil war or another military dictatorship.

My money's on the military, as that's how these things usually play out. But still, 17 million people? Who knows. Anything could happen.

Minarchist wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I feel like this ends in a civil war or another military dictatorship.

My money's on the military, as that's how these things usually play out. But still, 17 million people? Who knows. Anything could happen.

17 million people? Try 82 million, half of which live on less than $2 a day.

I don't think the military wants direct control. They have too much to lose. They just want someone somewhat palatable that they can control so they can continue to make money (they control something like 70% of the faltering Egyptian economy).

How ever it ends, it's going to be messy. There's no way any puppet leader can fix all of Egypt's ills, so that just means social unrest continue. If the military takes over, they'll quickly lose the reputation they've built over the decades and just be viewed like the security forces: as thugs.

OG_slinger wrote:
Minarchist wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

I feel like this ends in a civil war or another military dictatorship.

My money's on the military, as that's how these things usually play out. But still, 17 million people? Who knows. Anything could happen.

17 million people? Try 82 million, half of which live on less than $2 a day.

I was referring to the widely-reported number of people who turned out to protest as "the largest protest ever" (which, if true, I'm sure it is). Apparently now it is unofficially up to 33 million.

Minarchist wrote:

I was referring to the widely-reported number of people who turned out to protest as "the largest protest ever" (which, if true, I'm sure it is). Apparently now it is unofficially up to 33 million. :shock:

Ah. My bad.

Reuters has a live stream going here
http://reuters.livestation.com/demo

Al-Jazeera's saying their news service has been shut down in Egypt

The Egyptians got their freedom from one dictator to be enslaved by another one. Maybe the election was democratic and fair but oppressing the large minority that didn't vote for you will get people on the streets.

The new constitution is the key for the Egyptian freedom (well the military can actually void it again) . The most important things they should put in it is freedom of religion and freedom from religion. This way the government won't be able to pass laws that limit people's freedom like force women to cover themselves or kill people who left Islam with no penalty. Islam is also known to be very intolerant of homosexuals . People should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't negatively affect others.

There are still Christians in Egypt and the tourist industry is very important. With fundamentalist Islam in power no Westerner in their right mind will go to Egypt. There used to be a lot of Israeli tourists in Sinai but now it's only for the adventurous. They may not like us in Egypt but they do like our money.

Wait, I'm confused by those pictures. The support the American Military gives to the Egyptian Military means that Obama loves dictators? After... the Military which we have been funding... overthrew the guy they didn't like...

My brain hurts.

Demosthenes wrote:

Wait, I'm confused by those pictures. The support the American Military gives to the Egyptian Military means that Obama loves dictators? After... the Military which we have been funding... overthrew the guy they didn't like...

My brain hurts.

Obama is just a focal point. Just like there were americans going around harassing brown people after the Boston bombs going off there are stupid people in other countries as well. They think that America is, by default, evil and because Obama is president he is responsible for all of it... so pretty much like the republican party then!

:p

The Obama administrated supported Morsi.

Mystery solved!

Well, the administration supported the democratically elected ruler, not necessarily Morsi. Right?

Well, yes, but they are one and the same. In the effort to try and avoid an argument about semantics, I think the takeaway from this is that sticking our nose where it doesn't belong never turns out as well as we think it will.

garion333 wrote:

Well, the administration supported the democratically elected ruler, not necessarily Morsi. Right?

Didn't he recently say something along the lines of Egypt not really being an ally since the change, but not being an enemy? Not exactly a glowing recommendation of everything Morsi had done.

Though I am no fan of Islamists, I do have to say that the very idea that coup d'etats are now entering into our political vocabulary as acceptable expressions of power is, at least to me, deeply disturbing. Can fascism be that far behind?

Also, the very idea that the street demonstrators could hold any American president responsible for their ills for recognizing a leader that they, themselves, elected (entirely without American intervention btw), to me, demonstrates pretty amply that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to both the gift and responsibility of democracy. You elected him. You own him and all his ills.

Paleocon wrote:

Though I am no fan of Islamists, I do have to say that the very idea that coup d'etats are now entering into our political vocabulary as acceptable expressions of power is, at least to me, deeply disturbing. Can fascism be that far behind?

Also, the very idea that the street demonstrators could hold any American president responsible for their ills for recognizing a leader that they, themselves, elected (entirely without American intervention btw), to me, demonstrates pretty amply that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to both the gift and responsibility of democracy. You elected him. You own him and all his ills.

I agree with Paleocon. That felt weird to say.

Anyway, to me, it's now all of those people with "Nope" with the Obama O in them or "How's that Change working out for you?" bumper stickers; they can whine and winge about it, but they are at least semi-owned up to the fact that he was elected, and now it's time to attack him via legislation instead... except of course, their plan seems to be double down, so I'd say they're probably more responsible for Obama getting elected by making sure their party can't nominate anyone under the 500 gigs of crazy on their harddrive... and those they do get elected waste their time with new "no moar ghey marriage!!1!" bills. *rolls eyes*

Minarchist wrote:

Well, yes, but they are one and the same. In the effort to try and avoid an argument about semantics, I think the takeaway from this is that sticking our nose where it doesn't belong never turns out as well as we think it will.

Yes, for the purpose of the particular question at hand it's proper to say that Obama supported Morsi, but to the overall discussion and understanding of the situation it's a bit glib of an answer. Lets argue those semantics.

Paleocon wrote:

Though I am no fan of Islamists, I do have to say that the very idea that coup d'etats are now entering into our political vocabulary as acceptable expressions of power is, at least to me, deeply disturbing. Can fascism be that far behind?

Also, the very idea that the street demonstrators could hold any American president responsible for their ills for recognizing a leader that they, themselves, elected (entirely without American intervention btw), to me, demonstrates pretty amply that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to both the gift and responsibility of democracy. You elected him. You own him and all his ills.

It's written in our constitution that we can overthrow the government if we don't like it. Is this not similar?

I'll agree that the Egyptian populace may be acting sophomoric but it's tough for me to put too much blame on a newly 'free' peoples.

Duoae wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

Wait, I'm confused by those pictures. The support the American Military gives to the Egyptian Military means that Obama loves dictators? After... the Military which we have been funding... overthrew the guy they didn't like...

My brain hurts.

Obama is just a focal point. Just like there were americans going around harassing brown people after the Boston bombs going off there are stupid people in other countries as well. They think that America is, by default, evil and because Obama is president he is responsible for all of it... so pretty much like the republican party then!

:p

The photos were taken beforethe military outsed Morsi.

garion333 wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Well, yes, but they are one and the same. In the effort to try and avoid an argument about semantics, I think the takeaway from this is that sticking our nose where it doesn't belong never turns out as well as we think it will.

Yes, for the purpose of the particular question at hand it's proper to say that Obama supported Morsi, but to the overall discussion and understanding of the situation it's a bit glib of an answer. Lets argue those semantics.

Paleocon wrote:

Though I am no fan of Islamists, I do have to say that the very idea that coup d'etats are now entering into our political vocabulary as acceptable expressions of power is, at least to me, deeply disturbing. Can fascism be that far behind?

Also, the very idea that the street demonstrators could hold any American president responsible for their ills for recognizing a leader that they, themselves, elected (entirely without American intervention btw), to me, demonstrates pretty amply that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to both the gift and responsibility of democracy. You elected him. You own him and all his ills.

It's written in our constitution that we can overthrow the government if we don't like it. Is this not similar?

I'll agree that the Egyptian populace may be acting sophomoric but it's tough for me to put too much blame on a newly 'free' peoples.

That's more than a bit of a mischaracterization of our constitution. I know of no provision in it that legitmates a military takeover of an elected government of the United States. The last time it was even contemplated was during the Roosevelt Administration and the folks involved in that plot should have been tried for treason and publically executed for it. And the fact that we see this now as the "growing pains" of democracy deeply erodes the very rule of law necessary to build the foundation for a civil society.

Paleocon wrote:

That's more than a bit of a mischaracterization of our constitution. I know of no provision in it that legitmates a military takeover of an elected government of the United States. The last time it was even contemplated was during the Roosevelt Administration and the folks involved in that plot should have been tried for treason and publically executed for it. And the fact that we see this now as the "growing pains" of democracy deeply erodes the very rule of law necessary to build the foundation for a civil society.

Fair enough. I have a bit of an anarchist streak so it may be flaring up right now. I dared to call Minarchist's statement glib and then followed it up with my own. Well done.

Regardless, I'm still willing to give the people of Egypt some leeway here. The connection the populace has to their military is unlike the connection we have, even if it's farcical in reality. Whether or not the military relinquishes the power it has seized is the crux of the issue. How many generals were (and still are) Mubarak supporters?

OK, my iPad ate this post 3 times, so I'm starting again on my laptop!

When stating that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to the gift (no-one gave it to them, incidentally) and responsibility of democracy, you are absolutely right. No-one educated the majority of Egyptians in something that hasn't been relevant to them in their history, and actively suppressed in the lifetime of every person there. The educated people in the cities may have an understanding of the principles as they work in other countries, but the abstract is hardly the same as the reality.

The Muslim Brotherhood targeted rural and poor areas in the run up to the election. They opened free clinics and food centres, which were certainly direly needed, but they also "educated" their captive audience as to which box to mark on the ballot paper, and ensure that Shafik was reviled as Mubarak's inheritor (I'm not saying that he wasn't!). Morsi didn't even run under a party name that made his allegience clear ("The Freedom and Justice Party").

It was a 51% victory in a 50% turnout election, in a country that was still in chaos, without the levels of education, experience, free media or communications channels that we are used to. Comparing anything happening in Egypt with US history or current events is just invalid.

For what it is worth, my father's family is living through this in Cairo and Port Said. Their view is that the military did the right thing; they say that the military did not start the protests, or even encourage them; it was the Tamarod ("Rebel") movement. The army stepped in when the protests became so massive, put a very senior judge in place as temporary leader, and state that they are calling elections. My family just don't seem to think that the army want to take power, though their level of, shall we say, persuasiveness has always been a concern. Egypt has no constitution, or any of the checks and balances of experienced democracies. "You made the choice, now you have to live with it" isn't truly the case in the US or the UK, with those checks and balances in place.

Mind you, my family are Roman Catholics, so their view of the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly neutral!

I can't find the quote right now, but I read a commentator from Al Jazeera the other day, saying that Naser, al-Sadat and Mubarak all tried to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood, but Morsi may have succeeded!

spider_j wrote:

OK, my iPad ate this post 3 times, so I'm starting again on my laptop!

When stating that the Egyptian people are pretty ignorant when it comes to the gift (no-one gave it to them, incidentally) and responsibility of democracy, you are absolutely right. No-one educated the majority of Egyptians in something that hasn't been relevant to them in their history, and actively suppressed in the lifetime of every person there. The educated people in the cities may have an understanding of the principles as they work in other countries, but the abstract is hardly the same as the reality.

The Muslim Brotherhood targeted rural and poor areas in the run up to the election. They opened free clinics and food centres, which were certainly direly needed, but they also "educated" their captive audience as to which box to mark on the ballot paper, and ensure that Shafik was reviled as Mubarak's inheritor (I'm not saying that he wasn't!). Morsi didn't even run under a party name that made his allegience clear ("The Freedom and Justice Party").

It was a 51% victory in a 50% turnout election, in a country that was still in chaos, without the levels of education, experience, free media or communications channels that we are used to. Comparing anything happening in Egypt with US history or current events is just invalid.

For what it is worth, my father's family is living through this in Cairo and Port Said. Their view is that the military did the right thing; they say that the military did not start the protests, or even encourage them; it was the Tamarod ("Rebel") movement. The army stepped in when the protests became so massive, put a very senior judge in place as temporary leader, and state that they are calling elections. My family just don't seem to think that the army want to take power, though their level of, shall we say, persuasiveness has always been a concern. Egypt has no constitution, or any of the checks and balances of experienced democracies. "You made the choice, now you have to live with it" isn't truly the case in the US or the UK, with those checks and balances in place.

Mind you, my family are Roman Catholics, so their view of the Muslim Brotherhood is hardly neutral!

I can't find the quote right now, but I read a commentator from Al Jazeera the other day, saying that Naser, al-Sadat and Mubarak all tried to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood, but Morsi may have succeeded!

I am certainly not saying that it was a perfect election, but by all accounts, it was a legitimate one. Moreover, the remedy the Egyptian military has chosen may very well, in the long run, be far worse than the probable temporary ailment of a poorly managed government.

Had Morsi been allowed to run out his term or if a special election were negotiated and he failed to win, the result would have been the strengthening of the rule of law and the probable near fatal weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood as a fringe movement who yells well, but can't govern worth a crap (much like the modern GOP). But ousting Morsi at the point of a gun, arresting and charging members of government for crimes not in evidence, and taking political reprisals have turned the MB into an insurgency and legitmated any future acts of violence.

This is a gigantic step backward for Muslim civil society.

I don't feel quite the same as Paleo, but my fears are very similar. There is a arguable reason for the military to be moving against the Muslim Brotherhood, but this just doesn't taste right. Morsi may have been a crap leader trying to drag a largely secular nation into a more fundamentalist era (I see you Erdogan!) but the "benevolent" military really isn't to be trusted either.

Actually, this does remind me about what I've read (only a little though) about post-Kemal Turkey.

Paleocon wrote:

Had Morsi been allowed to run out his term or if a special election were negotiated and he failed to win, the result would have been the strengthening of the rule of law and the probable near fatal weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood as a fringe movement who yells well, but can't govern worth a crap (much like the modern GOP).

From my understanding, the MB has strength, because, as in many situations like this, they have a significant base they can mobilize to vote, while the opposition has about 40 different parties, none of whom can agree on anything.

But ousting Morsi at the point of a gun, arresting and charging members of government for crimes not in evidence, and taking political reprisals have turned the MB into an insurgency and legitmated any future acts of violence.

It doesn't feel right, no.

Paleocon wrote:

And the fact that we see this now as the "growing pains" of democracy deeply erodes the very rule of law necessary to build the foundation for a civil society.

I'm not so sure you can compare what happened in colonial America to what's happening in Egypt (and Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. to differing degrees). Colonial America was a very decentralized place to live. Each state had their own government, their own laws, their own money, etc. Cooperation and compromise was the only way to get anything done.

Egypt, on the other hand, was very centralized. Power flowed from Mubarak down and when he was removed from office the military stepped in to fill that power vacuum.

We didn't have an equivalent of the Egyptian military when we threw out the British. We had to build a government--one that honestly never existed before--to replace the British. We also had the benefit of time: we had a decade of grumbling, talking, and planning before the Declaration of Independence and then another 12 years of war and political haggling before we finally ratified our Constitution.

Who knows what would have happened if, instead of the patchwork military organization it was, the Continental Army had been a highly organized force that had been operating for decades and was the only credible political power still standing when the British signed the Treaty of Paris.

The Egyptian people will ultimately have to deal with the amount of political power their military holds (way too much). Right now a lot of the population views the military as their savior and protector, but it's really not. It's a giant parasite who will resist any political reform or change that threatens to decrease the amount of power it has. We'll know when Egypt has been successful when the Egyptian army becomes subservient to the civilian government.

OG_slinger wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

And the fact that we see this now as the "growing pains" of democracy deeply erodes the very rule of law necessary to build the foundation for a civil society.

I'm not so sure you can compare what happened in colonial America to what's happening in Egypt (and Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. to differing degrees). Colonial America was a very decentralized place to live. Each state had their own government, their own laws, their own money, etc. Cooperation and compromise was the only way to get anything done.

Egypt, on the other hand, was very centralized. Power flowed from Mubarak down and when he was removed from office the military stepped in to fill that power vacuum.

We didn't have an equivalent of the Egyptian military when we threw out the British. We had to build a government--one that honestly never existed before--to replace the British. We also had the benefit of time: we had a decade of grumbling, talking, and planning before the Declaration of Independence and then another 12 years of war and political haggling before we finally ratified our Constitution.

Who knows what would have happened if, instead of the patchwork military organization it was, the Continental Army had been a highly organized force that had been operating for decades and was the only credible political power still standing when the British signed the Treaty of Paris.

The Egyptian people will ultimately have to deal with the amount of political power their military holds (way too much). Right now a lot of the population views the military as their savior and protector, but it's really not. It's a giant parasite who will resist any political reform or change that threatens to decrease the amount of power it has. We'll know when Egypt has been successful when the Egyptian army becomes subservient to the civilian government.

I don't think I did compare their actions to those of colonial Americans, though if I did, they would compare rather poorly.

I certainly understand that a population without any understanding of the mechanisms of a civil society may be ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities given to them, but it isn't like we have never seen successful examples either. India and South Africa made the transition from colonial or military rule to representative democracy without resorting to the sorts of tantrum throwing that has so far characterized Egyptian political activity. They are, by no means, perfect examples of functioning democracies and have been known to have unpopular governments with vehement or even violent opposition, but the legitimacy of the *process* has largely been preserved. It is when the process is undermined that you begin to see the rapid downward spiral into anarchy or feudal warlordism.

When someone finally gets around to writing the postmortum of the short lived Egyptian democracy, the cause of death will have been impatience.

Prederick wrote:

From my understanding, the MB has strength, because, as in many situations like this, they have a significant base they can mobilize to vote, while the opposition has about 40 different parties, none of whom can agree on anything.

This is the standard criticism leveled on just about any established party in a multiparty system. I hear libertarians decry the GOP and Dems as "cartels" for the same reasons. If anything, the organization of the MB should motivate constituents of other movements to do what mature democracies do: form coalitions to establish a competing power base. That is how one expresses power in a civil society, not by rioting in the streets and ousting democratically elected governments with AK47's. They didn't like the taste of the soup, so they set fire to the kitchen.

Why the Western Media are getting Egypt Wrong

An interesting op-ed regarding the protests.

I'm a little torn myself. Morsi was elected democratically, but if his election results in repression the people are perfectly within their rights to protest. A proper constitution protects minorities from the tyranny of the majority and if the constitution is flawed or doesn't exist popular uprising is the best way to make changes.

It's completely flawed to call these events a coup. The military is definitely self interested, but it's in their own interest to have a stable government to keep the system that keeps them going functional.

I think I said in the Libya thread that the great revolutions of history like the American and French took many years to play out. There's no reason to think that the current ones will be any different.

I think that this cycle has moved Egyptians forward in terms of educating them about the power of the masses and the rights and responsibilities of democracy.

Niseg wrote:

The Egyptians got their freedom from one dictator to be enslaved by another one. Maybe the election was democratic and fair but oppressing the large minority that didn't vote for you will get people on the streets.

The new constitution is the key for the Egyptian freedom (well the military can actually void it again) . The most important things they should put in it is freedom of religion and freedom from religion. This way the government won't be able to pass laws that limit people's freedom like force women to cover themselves or kill people who left Islam with no penalty. Islam is also known to be very intolerant of homosexuals . People should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't negatively affect others.

There are still Christians in Egypt and the tourist industry is very important. With fundamentalist Islam in power no Westerner in their right mind will go to Egypt. There used to be a lot of Israeli tourists in Sinai but now it's only for the adventurous. They may not like us in Egypt but they do like our money.

I agree with Niseg. This is a weird feeling.

Oh, and folks in the newly independent country of the United States did attempt insurrection against the government fairly early on. Lucky for all of us living in America, the government was strong enough and the military loyal enough that it didn't succeed.

Paleocon wrote:

Oh, and folks in the newly independent country of the United States did attempt insurrection against the government fairly early on. Lucky for all of us living in America, the government was strong enough and the military loyal enough that it didn't succeed.

To retort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

The United States' first constitution did not last very long. The second one was challenged often, and then there was the whole bloody civil war. Everyone needs to give Egypt room and let them figure it out for themselves.

Greg wrote:

The United States' first constitution did not last very long. The second one was challenged often, and then there was the whole bloody civil war. Everyone needs to give Egypt room and let them figure it out for themselves.

This is where I am on this. Hopefully we'll leave them be from a governmental standpoint. The media will do whatever it does. I'm less concerned about them as long as there's no dog-wagging so to speak.