Gamal Abdel Nasser And Muslim Brotherhood
Egypt had endured autocracy for decades. It was Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein who first suppressed The Muslim Brotherhood, which was reactionary and opposed his land reforms and modernization plans, in the 1950s. But Nasser was extremely popular: he had planned the ouster of King Farouk, survived an assassination attempt by a Brotherhood member, and later became a hero of the Suez confrontation with Britain, France and Israel.
After the death of Nasser, Anwar el Sadat became president. After Sadat was assassinated Hosni Mubarak succeeded him. Mubarak tried to contain the Brotherhood. Not a single one of the current generals, including defense minister and coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, has the popularity, charisma, intelligence, and track record of Nasser to overwhelm the Brotherhood by force.
Competitive elections were held and The Muslim Brotherhood prevailed. The army initially tried but failed to clip the new president, Mohamed Morsi's wings from the get-go. Some of the losers of the election hinted at their support for that early hint at appetite for intervention.
But Egyptians wanted to show the world that they were ready for a new dawn. They did not want their democracy to become still-born.
So, barely one year into civilian rule, Egypt's army has betrayed the new beginning. There is even a report in The Wall Street Journal that some Egyptians believe the army had a hand in fomenting the uprisings.
With its illegal action, Egypt's army has now unleashed a predictable consequence: violence between Egyptians. Now brother is fighting brother and sister is fighting sister and brother is fighting sister in Egypt. The army, which is meant to protect the populace, is behaving like a foreign aggressor against Egyptians.
The United States which provides about $1.3 billion to Egypt's military was not forceful enough in discouraging the coup by the army. A popularly elected government can't be discarded in such a reckless manner.
There is something in the power of a vote. People who believe that their vote is being unfairly disqualified, even a year after the election, react with a special type of passion.
Here in the United States, when Republicans tried to disqualify Black voters so they could steal the presidential election for Mitt Romney, it backfired badly. Black voters almost repeated the turnout of 2008 and helped re-elect President Barack Obama.
We can imagine that Egyptian voters feel as passionately about their vote and the right to determine who governs them.
The military in Egypt must stand down and restore the elected government that it overthrew this week. The military must abandon the dangerous and potentially explosive Algerian solution for Egypt.