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Healing Egypt: Three steps to unify a divided nation

The uprising of millions of Egyptians since June 30 has led to sharp polarization. Growing up in Egypt, I never saw the country as divided as it is today. Efforts to rebuild the nation must focus on justice, reconciliation, and inclusiveness.

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Supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, protest before breaking their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan, in Nasr City, Cairo, July 10. Op-ed contributor Ahmed Zewail writes: 'No civil, liberal government can succeed, even after new elections, if the Islamists are forced to work underground as a foe and the country remains divided.'

Manu Brabo

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The uprising of millions of Egyptians since June 30 has led to sharp polarization. Some consider the removal of Mohamed Morsi a coup by the army against an elected president. Others treat it as the second revolution, or the continuation of the January 25, 2011, revolution. The media, especially in the West, is mainly concerned with the definition of a coup and whether the military should be punished by stopping US aid to Egypt.

The picture is not this simple, and the current situation is more than a coup definition; it is the healing of a country that has enormous potential and strategic position in the already troubled Middle East.

The real question is: What can be done for Egypt in its democratic transition, with Egyptians being strongly polarized? The proposed immediate action plan presented here can change the current situation and make the country move forward.

Growing up in Egypt, I never saw the country as divided as it is today. We now have two main political groupings: the Islamist parties and the civil, or liberal, political parties. What is also new is the youth movement – more powerful than present liberal parties – that uses the latest in technological tools to lead these street uprisings (millionea) because they want to live in a developed and prosperous Egypt.

On the one hand, the liberals in the country believe that the Muslim Brotherhood failed the democratic process because, although Mr. Morsi won the popular vote, he did not succeed in uniting the nation and serving as president of all Egyptians.

Morsi's appointment of Muslim Brotherhood members in leading positions of the county (so-called “Akhwanet Egypt”), his unexpected constitutional decrees, and his insistence on keeping a government seen by many as incompetent all were issues that led the youthful “rebel movement” to collect more than 20 million signatures calling for early presidential elections to remove him.

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