Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rejoicing the Junta

In the last few weeks, Egypt was undergoing a coup d'etat. For 61 years Egypt has been an authoritarian military dictatorship, headed by the strongmen Nassr, Sadat and Mubarak. This cadre of military strongmen came during the officer's revolt, which saw a constitutional monarchy with a multi-party democratically elected parliament replaced with the current, authoritarian style of government. Out of the three Nassr is the only one that left office due to natural death. His successor, Sadat, was assassinated by a radical islamist shortly after signing a peace treaty, and Mubarak was ousted by the military due to popular pressures.

Other than Mubarak's premature departure, so far there isn't much to rejoice. While I maintained that Mubarak is a good ruler (in the Machiavellian sense, not in terms of benevolence), he was pushed into a corner that he couldn't get himself out of. So now, instead of having a faux democratically elected president that atleast pretends to balance the needs of the military elite, business elite and the people, the country is in full control of a small military Junta that has become even more powerful over the last few days.

Mubarak's last deed of office was to put the military in full charge of the affairs of state. Now this does not mean that a peaceful transition towards multi-party democracy is impossible, but at the end of the day, the country is currently run by a powerful group, armed to the teeth and the lion's share of the crimes of the regime. Should we expect much of a change when the whip is wielded by the people who were patiently waiting for Mubarak to croak, anyway?

I would hope positive change can come. However, military juntas tend to be horrible with yielding power. There is always going to be some unfinished business that necessitates  maintaining the status quo.


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