Posts Tagged ‘middle east’
Watching the results of the presidential election in Egypt yesterday was both inspirational and worrying. What we take for granted here in democratic Europe, elections and peaceful change in power, was an historical event for the people of Egypt. The result was clearly cathartic and reassuring for the millions who voted regardless of the outcome and while Tahrir square may have been filled with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the election was a victory for all Egyptians.
None the less the arrival of a democratically elected Islamic party into power in the largest state in the Middle East is a cause for concern. They have a clear mandate to introduce their manifesto and potentially a constitution based on Sharia Law.
However the realities of rule in a country with so many domestic problems and many other minority groups including the secularists, who made up the core of the initial revolution, will mean that the Brotherhood may find it far from easy to implement its agendas. When jobs and clean water are the priority of millions then trying ensure women cover themselves up and Israel bashing may be pushed to the side. Add that to an army that has shorn the presidency of any real power and in reality still control the majority of institutions in the country, the brotherhood may find themselves with a sysphian task just to implement the basics of their agenda.
While there will be much gnashing of teeth and hyperbole from certain political quarters, the Brotherhood, regardless of their Islamic nature have been democratically elected and American and European countries must learn to work with them constructively rather than criticising anything than smacks of non liberal thinking.
But most importantly the reason that this writer has hope, are the millions of women who voted in the election. The power of that vote is not to be underestimated and if the Brotherhood prove to be just another religious group of zealots pretending to play politics and the power to vote remains, millions of women will remove them from power.
I believe that the Arab spring must be as much about women’s emancipation and freedom as it is about the escape from dictatorship and religious medievalism. Egypt is a nation with many secular,educated and political women demanding a better future and they will not be silenced. Women like the human rights and political blogger Dalia Ziada will be watching and campaigning.
The Muslim Brotherhood cannot operate in isolation in this new Egypt nor can they ignore the rights of millions of women who have tasted the power of their vote. It will not be an easy transition and we in the west must be patient and we must above all support them in what is sure to be a long and at times bloody transition to a real democracy based on rights or all.