Deeds, not words, matter the most
Friday, 06 July 2012 07:40 GMT
Is there an unwritten agreement between the military council and the Muslim Brotherhood to share power in Egypt?
Have the Egyptian armed forces become a state-within-a-state, whose work is surrounded by a shroud of complete secrecy that precludes any possibility for accountability?
Will terrorist groups like Jihad, the Jamaa Islamiyah, and the Takfir wal Hijra return to political action, under other names?
Will there be a military coup?
Will the Muslim Brotherhood create a revolutionary guard (also under a different name) to protect their gains?
And has a revolution taken place – as the youths purport – or was it a military coup like Hosni Mubarak said in phone conversations with Arab leaders shortly after 11/2/2011?
I have heard the questions above, and many others, both in Egypt and abroad. Today, I will not claim to have the answer to any of them, but I just want to say that they reflect the climate of anxiety surrounding what has happened so far, as well as the possible developments in the near future.
I only want the best for Egypt, and it is best for the Muslim Brotherhood not to seek to monopolize power. For one thing, the results of the presidential election have shown that the country is split almost equally between the winning candidate and the losing one. Since nearly half of the Egyptian voters did not vote, Dr. Mohamed Morsi has effectively won with the votes of one quarter of the Egyptians. So perhaps he will keep this in mind, since he is an engineer who knows the importance of numbers in any mathematical equation.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have, since their candidate won the presidential race, been praising and quoting President Morsi as saying this or that, or what others said about him. Others are also doing the same, and it seems that they, having missed their opportunity, seek to have something rather than nothing by way of sycophancy to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The new president said it all in several successive speeches. To the youths in Tahrir Square, he said that they are the source of legitimacy and that no legitimacy is above them. He praised the army of Egypt, the greatest on the planet according to Morsi, and said that it is the shield and the sword of the homeland. He also said that the military council has fulfilled its promise not to be an alternative to the will of the people, and praised the judges whom he saw as the Third Estate – saying that he respects them.
Morsi also insisted on the legitimacy of the parliament which was voted in through fair and free elections, after the supreme constitutional council declared the last elections null and void. He eventook the oath three times.
But ultimately, what matter most are deeds not words. President Mohamed Morsi no doubt knows this well. Amid the flood of words, I found two that I believe are the key words to every subsequent issue; these words are security and the economy.
Egypt has a high population density in the inhabited part of its territory, and to rebuild its economy, it first needs to address security – a tractable task that the authorities have it in their hands to accomplish.
As far as I know, and I try my best to have correct information, it is also possible to revive the Egyptian economy, a task that is, too, within reach, if the new administration decides to continue where the government of Ahmed Nazif had left off - after the revolution stopped its work.
The Egyptian economy had made big strides in the first decade of this century. Even during the 2008 global financial crisis, the Egyptian economy grew by 4.5 percent, while other countries were posting negative figures. We know today that corruption undermined all the gains of the economy, which only benefited a small minority at the top of the economic pyramid, but did not trickle down to the average citizens.
As I trust the ability of the new administration to safeguard security, I trust its strong desire to combat corruption and exclude the corrupt. If the administration does this, then all what is left for it to do is revive the economic alliance with Turkey (and Syria after the conclusion of its revolution), and the electric interconnection project with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other countries, followed by natural gas (and oil in the long term) interconnection. If the output of the Turkish-Arab alliance (a term used by Erdogan as I heard it directly from him) reaches Turkey, then it will reach Europe, and we would have ‘parted ways with poverty’, in my opinion.
There is another economic project which I would like to see remain in place, involving the export of agricultural products to Greece and Italy (and then France). The Egyptian government would guarantee a minimum load for the cargo ships, and the agreement in place includes shipping time. If I recall correctly, the time involved ranges between 24 and 48 hours, so that the produce can reach the European consumers while still fresh.
Every security or economic success of the first government in the Second Republic will eliminate one of the questions I began with, and build bridges of trust with the citizens.
Yet the problem with Egypt’s issues is that they do not all involve Egypt alone, instead affecting all of its surroundings, and the future of all Arabs. If Egypt succeeds in building a civil democratic state with a prosperous economy for all its citizens, then the other Arab countries will follow. But if Egypt fails, then Arab regression, division and weakness will only become worse: a total disaster, in other words.
Once again, I place my hopes above the bitterness of past experiences, and I hope that President Mohamed Morsi and the new Egyptian government, whoever the prime minister will be, will succeed, so that we can all succeed alongside Egypt.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Arabstoday.