Egypt, Islamism, and Democracy

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Cairo's Tahrir Square, Egypt, Nov 22, 2011. People were dead and injured because of tear gas, rubber bullets of riot police. (Hang Dinh/Shutterstock)

In another bloody day in Egypt, over 50 pro-Morsi Islamist protesters were killed by military forces. Meanwhile, the interim leader laid out a political transition plan. Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and author of Obama and the Middle East: The End of America's Moment?, discusses the recent events in Egypt, and how the Islamist world is reacting.


Fawaz Gerges

Comments [20]

why no impeachment option in MOrsi's constitution?

Jul. 09 2013 09:41 PM
Recall Referendum in Egypt to Avoid Civil War

Recall Referendum in Egypt to Avoid Civil War

With the recent coup, Egypt risks civil war.
To prevent this, a recall referendum on Pres. Morsi
would allow all sides to IMMEDIATELY express their
preferences in a democratic manner and in a lawful manner.


Anything less risks a catastrophe for the entire region :
a potential civil war in Egypt or Shah-of-Iran style repression,
and the radicalization of moderate democratic Islamist parties
throughout the region who now believe that the process
is rigged and that they do not have real recourse to the
ballot box. It is in the strongest long term US interest
that we endorse a IMMEDIATE FAIR democratic approach to
the current problem. A recall referendum may save much

Jul. 09 2013 05:43 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Egypt needs to have Voter ID too.

Jul. 09 2013 01:02 PM
Ahmed Ebrahim from Fairfield - CT

As an Egyptian American, I cannot agree more with Mr. Gerges’ argument that the so-called liberals in Egypt –who lectured and preached us about democracy and the rule of law- have no problem climbing on the shoulders of the military junta and licking their boots instead of creating their own political base and reaching out to the voters. For months, President Morsy –as incumbent as he is- was calling for the parliamentary elections that were supposed to take place last month. The so-called liberals, supported by Mubarak remnants in the judiciary playing their tricks, decided to run away from the ballots and resort to the bullets. Once again, we in the U.S. use our tax dollars to support another dictatorship puppets, and risk another Iran in the heart of the Sunni Muslim world.

Jul. 09 2013 12:14 PM
Darva from Queens

Just remember that Russia & Iran have elections. We see how well those go.

Jul. 09 2013 11:54 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well said Matthew: The flaw in Egypt was a soft and malleable constitution and weak judiciary.

Jul. 09 2013 11:26 AM
fuva from harlemworld

To say that democracy is not for the ME seems way too simplistic. Maybe what's needed is a better understanding of how democracy came to be where it exists -- the prerequisites -- and then consider a more effective, organic path in the ME.

Jul. 09 2013 11:26 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"Morsi was changing the rules and laws so that future elections may have not even existed"

Ladyjay - are you sure that is fact or projection?

Jul. 09 2013 11:23 AM
Matthew from Great Neck

The problem is that we equate "democracy" with the simple act of pulling a lever for a candidate. The US was guilty of this in the past decade under the Bush administration.

Democracy, as the West learned over the centuries, includes so much more than elections: separation of church & state; balance of power between an executive and legislature; civil rights; etc.

Egypt, like other Middle East nations, will never be "democratic" until they understand these concepts.

It took Western civilization centuries to fully understand and develop these concepts; why do we expect others to learn them overnight?

Jul. 09 2013 11:23 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I agree on the possibility Bob. Morsi did "reach" but he was far from crossing the line of being a Tyrant - yet.

Jul. 09 2013 11:20 AM
Ed from Larchmont


Jul. 09 2013 11:19 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

No Joe, The West should have expressed more concern about, or outright condemn the overthrow of Morsi.

Jul. 09 2013 11:17 AM

The problem with Mr. Gerges' argument is that he assumes that Morsi's opposition should've waited until the next election to change the government. Doesn't Mr. Gerges understand that Morsi was changing the rules and laws so that future elections may have not even existed? Doesn't Mr. Gerges understand that the Morsi government was slowly oppressing the opposition?

Unfortunately the guest sounds like another pundit that over-Americanizes politics around the world

Jul. 09 2013 11:14 AM
Bob from Huntington

Let's not forget that in 1932 the Nazi party came to power in a democratic election, and we all know how well that worked out. When a democratic election produces a government that is inherently undemocratic and that works to shut out other parties and dismantle the democratic process, democracy as we ideally would like it to function has failed and other measures may be called for.

Jul. 09 2013 11:14 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG, I would love religion to have ZERO involvement in politics but, from Texas to Jerusalem - that is sadly not the case.

The (conservatives in the)west, are not in a position to preach secularism to the Muslim world.

Jul. 09 2013 11:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

You couldn't have democracy in the West until monarchy and the "Divine Right to Rule" was overturned, first in the American Revolution and followed by the French. We still have some figurehead "monarchs" in Britain, Sweden and a few other western countries, but they no longer rule. They are allowed to remain because The People in those countries want those figureheads for symbolic sentiments.

Jul. 09 2013 11:14 AM

So Brian - you support anarchy??? It's either the rule of electorate law or it's not. You can't have it both ways.

Jul. 09 2013 11:13 AM
Joe from nearby

@Sheldon from Brooklyn-
"yet they stand silently by"

What, are you suggesting we send American kids into the middle of what is a civil war? Seriously??

Jul. 09 2013 11:10 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Theocracy and democracy are incompatible concepts. One says that God rules, and the other says that the people rule.

Jul. 09 2013 11:01 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The West tells Islamists to use the ballot box instead of the gun, yet they stand silently by when Islamists are disenfranchised.

I'm not fan of Morsi but elections have consequences. This is 90's Algeria all over again.

Jul. 09 2013 09:47 AM

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