Egypt faces a serious and complex situation. Large crowds have taken to the streets and violence has broken out again. Clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohammad Mursi have left several dead and hundreds more injured.
by Tariq Ramadan, ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS
It should have been different. Egypt should have been moving towards democracy and political stability, but the two years that have passed since 25 January 2011 – the date of Hosni Mubarak’s fall – have witnessed increasing turmoil and confusion. Islamists and secularists at each others’ throats, the emergence of the literalist Salafists, the shadowy role of the armed forces in addition to direct and indirect foreign involvement, have all combined to block the country’s attempts at normalisation and the effort to complete the revolutionary cycle. In fact, never have democracy and stability seemed quite so far off as they do today. Even tracking rapidly evolving events and shifting strategic alliances has become quite a challenge.
However, by closely examining several key factors, we can make educated guesses about short and long-term developments. Clearly, certain forces – particularly the Salafists, by their actions before and after the elections as well as during the debate on the constitution – are doing everything in their power to divert the country from democracy. Elements of the former regime, not to mention the armed forces and the secularists working from behind the scenes, are increasing tensions and undercutting the new government headed by Mursi, a former Muslim Brotherhood official. Their aim is to bring the political transition to a halt. President Mursi, when he mentioned pressure tactics, plots and manipulation in his last speech, was accurately describing the tangible reality of Egyptian public affairs. Some of his opponents are using manipulation and destabilisation tactics; others, populism and mass agitation.