New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman argues that democracy would be considered “failed” in Egypt if in a decade’s time we do not see the post-revolutionary country surfacing with liberal feats, such as the “empowering of minorities.”
Friedman wrote that if such a liberal route is taken, this would mirror current party politics in India, where last month the prime minister appointed Syed Asif Ibrahim as the new director of India’s Intelligence Bureau – the main point being that Ibrahim is a Muslim, who assumed a top position in a predominantly Hindu country.
“It would be like Egypt appointing a Coptic Christian to be its army chief of staff,” writes Friedman, to which he expects the reader to brand the idea “preposterous.”
“Well, yes, that’s true today. But if it is still true in a decade or two, then we’ll know that democracy in Egypt failed,” he added.
He says that whatever happens in Egypt, whether it turns out more like Pakistan or India will actually have an impact on the future of democracy in the whole Arab world. Adding that six decades of tyranny in Egypt has left the country deeply divided.
Friedman sheds light on the fact that Egypt’s political terrain had been frozen and monopolized for decades — the same decades that political leaders from Mahatma Gandhi to Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh “were building an exceptionally diverse, cacophonous, but impressively flexible and accommodating system.”
Friedman stressed that the ruling Muslim Brotherhood “needs to understand that democracy is so much more than just winning an election. It is nurturing a culture of inclusion, and of peaceful dialogue, where respect for leaders is earned by surprising opponents with compromises rather than dictates.”
He argued that fact that Egypt now needs to develop the culture of dialogue, of peaceful and respectful arguing— rather than “rock-throwing, boycotting, conspiracy-mongering and waiting for America to denounce one side or the other, which has characterized too much of the post-revolutionary political scene.”
He claimed that elections without that culture are like computers without software. “It just doesn’t work.”