Egypt’s future seems uncertain

Some Mercer students are following the revolution in Egypt closely as the military shares power.

In Egypt, Mr. Mubarak finally stepped down, leaving control to the Military, which promises a speedy transition to democracy. After 30 years of silence, 18 days of noise leaves Egypt in 6 months of transition. Transition to what, however, we are unsure. All we know is that the people of Egypt want democracy. In about six months, we’ll see what they get. Mubarak removed himself from Egyptian government, meeting the most heavily voiced demand of the demonstrators: to remove Mubarak from power. The supposedly corrupt Parliament was then dismantled as well. Now the military is in charge, and I can’t help but believe that the new government will be structured in such a way as to benefit the military cause. The Egyptian military has long been an imposing power on the country’s government. It was the foundation of the old regime and it did benefit from Mubarak’s stint as ruler. As Egypt is vulnerable at the moment, the military may seize the opportunity to build a government that benefits itself, not the people. What the people will get dwindles down to what the senior commanders want from this new order. The military is ruled from the top down. Leaders don’t ask subordinates what they think of orders; orders are expected to be followed. This approach bled over into the big reveal of the Military’s plan for government reform. When the Military devised plan was announced, it was not propositioned, but ordered. Mandated. It is this plan that will guide the transition: The Military – not the people – selected a committee of eight political figures to adjust the Egyptian constitution. The committee has been given only a hurried ten days to allow for democracy in government. Ten days to change the way a nation is governed. The changes will then be brought before a referendum and voted on within two months of its completion. I fear that such a hurried change is going to be incomplete, but more-so, I fear that the resulting government will be merely a puppet controlled by the military. Generals promise to hand over power to an elected President and parliament by August, but by allowing the military to overlook said democratic changes, I feel that the new order will see the military as a powerful, controlling force: casting an imposing shadow on the government that it created. We cannot allow the military as much power as it will most likely attempt to gain. The still-in-tact state of emergency comes as a warning sign to me. It seems the military is afraid of revolt, thus keeping the laws as a back-up plan if things turn awry. This brings to question whether the military is truly dedicated to giving people democracy. Beyond doubts of the military’s ability to support democratic movement are the fears of a terrorist uprising in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has announced its plans to be a political party in the upcoming government. Though at the moment the Brotherhood does not plan on a presidential candidate, their presence alone is enough to cause worry. Their influence could send Egypt in a disastrous direction. Egypt’s political condition has become suspect. With the obvious power of the collective people, it seems each and every group is doing its best to gain the people’s trust. The next six months may bring an election, but over the course of the next few years, I see power being tossed from hand to hand. Whoever gains the people, gains the power. With everyone vying for the people’s trust, it is vital that we, America as a whole, act as a guiding hand to help Egypt in the right direction. Top of the agenda: Fundamental rights of the people. ‘State of emergency’ should never be an option within government. There will be no democratic progress if government is allowed to superimpose its will on the people it governs. Six months is a short amount of time, but if 18 days is any indication, then the people of Egypt are headed in the right direction. Let’s just hope that the rest of the country is on board, as well. Comments on this opinion can be sent to [email protected]