Democracy Abortion That Is Now Egypt
By RAY HANANIA
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday, July 12, 2013
The recent turmoil in Egypt is a good time for American’s to reassess the $1.5 billion that we give to that country and whether it should continue.
Despite all the political spin out there, here is what it comes down to in Egypt.
The Arab Spring was supposed to be about people in the Middle East demonstrating in the streets for freedom to open the door to democracy.
But in reality, if democracy was the goal, the Arab Spring has been a failure that never sprung.
Egypt, a nation with a history dating back more than 5,000 years, held its first real, open elections in its history last year. More than 25 million people went to the polls, which represents more than 33 percent of the country’s 85 million population, or more than 70 percent of its adults.
That alone should have been cause to rejoice.
But it turns out that the majority of the voters decided to elect an Islamist from the once banned Muslim Brotherhood, the same organization that has been behind a lot of the religious turmoil that has upset falafel carts throughout the Middle East.
Mohammed Morsy became Egypt’s first democratically elected president, winning more than 13 million votes to his rival, a former prime minister with the old dictatorship led by Husny Mubarak, who was arrested and has been in custody since his ouster by the military two years before.
Morsy was in office only one year when his opponents mustered enough momentum against his policies to organize street protests, this time an Arab Spring against the Arab Spring.
Essentially, two million or more protesters who used violence and disrupted the nation’s economy, threatening foreigners to the point where the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings, caused such a row that it gave the Egyptian military the justification to step into the government and remove Morsy as president.
Morsy was removed from office in a military coup, and has been held under house arrest.
When his supporters went to the streets to protest peacefully, sitting in around the military base where Morsy was being held, the military fired live ammunition, killing scores of protesters in a bloody massacre.
Morsy’s supporters have vowed revenge.
The Egyptian military was emboldened to step in and undermine the results of the democratic elections because they have the support of the United States, which gives Egypt $1.5 billion a year in foreign aid.
Nearly all of that money pays for the soldiers’ salaries.
But under American law, the United States is prohibited from providing foreign aid to any government that is controlled by a military coup.
U.S. Senator John McCain has introduced legislation to block that funding.
President Barack Obama, who has single-handedly undermined peace in the Middle East through his mediocre, failed foreign policies and his empty rhetoric, has basically given the military coup his blessing.
What it all comes down to is this: The Arab World is not ready for democracy. The elections in Egypt prove it. Egypt is the one country where democracy should have worked. Instead, it collapsed under extremist violence.
Egypt, one of the most secular countries in the Middle East, should have been the easiest place to launch Middle East democracy.
Instead, it has become a democracy dead end.
Rather than using democracy processes to influence Morsy’s government, the Egyptians did what they always do: turn to violence, anger, protests and emotion to create regime change going from one dictatorship to another.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. You may reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RayHanania.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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