Mr Morsi is president of Egypt through valid and hotly contested elections. I don’t like his Islamic Brotherhood. I like even less his extremists Salafist allies. There is almost nothing to like about that crowd.
There is every reason to dislike Morsi and his coalitions. Reasons include: they would end up stopping the pretense of separation of religion from government in their large Arab country; eventually, they would implement a severe downgrading of the status of women; immediately, Morsi’s followers are venting their rage brutally persecuting Egypt’s remaining minority:the native Coptic Christians.
As I write, at least 500 of Mr Morsi’s followers have been killed in the streets by the Egyptian police and by the Egyptian army. That’s the same army that was displaced through a popular revolution only two and a half years ago. A couple of weeks ago, that army staged a coup to overthrow the properly elected government of Egypt. The Obama administration declined to call it a coup although everyone in the world knew that it was a coup. That was another way Mr Obama reconciled America with the World in general and with the Arab World in particular; through shameless lying, through a lie so gross there is zero chance anyone will believe it.
The army coup was triggered, encouraged, applauded by my natural buddies: The Egyptians – mostly urban, I guess – who are secular, and the many moderate Muslims who do not aspire to a religion-ridden government. My natural friends couldn’t resist the temptation: Take the easy way, ask the armed forces to do what they did in Egypt for forty years: Be the government, supplant the will of the people as expressed through proper elections.
The latest military coup achieves two things:
First, it will stand as a sort of proof that Arabs do not really want a democracy or that they are unable to sustain democracy. The reasoning will go like this: If democratic habits cannot take place in Egypt, a country with a long deeply rooted tradition of secularism, where will it?
Second, the current massacres in the streets of unarmed (or almost completely unarmed )civilians are planting the seeds of fifty years of future rage. Rank-and-file Islamists will have the right to say, “We tried their democracy; it was only a trap to defeat us, to make us cower in fear of our lives, of our children’s lives. We now know that only the fear of us will bring the kind of society we want.”
The current repression in Egypt sounds like a declaration of legitimacy for terrorism.
Now, I know that elections, even fair elections – such as the elections that brought Pres. Morsi to power do not, in and of themselves, constitute democracy. Other institutions matter, some matter more. It would be easy to convince me that the rule of law, for example, is more important than elections. Yet, if you love democracy, if you hate authoritarianism, close your eyes and ask yourself which side is acting heroically in Egypt today. Is it the narrow-minded, bigoted obscurantist religious party that was removed militarily, or is it those who have clamored for and obtained another twenty or thirty years of military dictatorship for their country?