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Egypt revolution: Will the Arab world's biggest nation become a real democracy?

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AP Photo/Hussein Malla

(Read caption) Military police and soldiers surround remaining protesters as they try to clear Cairo's Tahrir square on Monday. Egypt's military rulers dissolved parliament Sunday, suspending the constitution and promising elections in moves cautiously welcomed by pro-democracy protesters..

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Egypt has taken its first step into the new world of democracy. Everyone -- Egyptians, Israelis, and the rest of the world -- is wondering where this will end up. There's a simple answer to that: It won't.
No democracy ever arrives. Democracy is an ever-evolving process. Every nation travels a different path at a different rate. Take the United States. It began as a democracy only for white males. African-Americans and women were not allowed to participate for decades, and even after laws were changed oppressive practices deterred full enfranchisement.
Some of the Eurasian nations that shook off communist rule in the 1980s and '90s have become model democracies; others have backslid. Big Muslim democracies -- Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, for instance -- are struggling with forces as varied as fundamentalism, militarism, and corruption.
The Egyptian military has made the right steps so far. The interim rulers have dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution, and promised free elections in the fall. The military has also begun to pressure Egyptians to resume normal life. If democracy can be made part of that normal life, Egyptians will be traveling the unending road that democracy is.


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