|Protests in Tahrir Square, Egypt in 2011|
Since the historical Egyptian revolution and overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the country has been one of the most interesting and important players in the Middle East North African Region (MENA). The revolution became the prime example of a non-violent civil resistance, as Chenoweth & Stefan define as being socio-political actions without use of violence, non-institutional and confrontational, and social, psychological, political and economic methods. Since the overthrow of Mubarak, the country was able to hold their first election, making Mohammed Morsi the new President of Egypt. However, what lays in store for the country’s next government remains hazy. Morsi is known to be an Islamist and a former prisoner, thus begging the question, will Egypt become a secular, religious, or military state?
After the election of 2012, a constitution has yet to be drafted and the military seems to be in control of much of the operations amongst the state, especially the economy. Protests have continued and the citizens have shifted from overthrowing the government to establishing a balance of power from the military and newly elected democratic regime. At the same time, the government continues to be highly polarized in religions across the country. The Muslim brotherhood has been a predominant figure amongst the new regime, making it clear that Mubarak’s old regime still holds great influence and the idea of running a government based on religion is still one of the main interests of the government.
|Egyptian Police fending off protesters: www.npr.org|
One of the biggest game changers for Egypt’s new government will be the drafting of the country’s constitution. It has already presented a numerous amount of criticism and skepticism. Will the constitution ultimately unite or divide the country of Egypt? When putting the revolution in perspective, the protesters who succeeded in overthrowing Mubarak still only make up a minority of the population. Them being the ones who have grandiose hope of democratizing the state and having their civil liberties and freedom granted to them, as any person should have. Because religion dominates much of the country, it becomes particularly difficult to draft a constitution that will provide all the proper checks and balances in the system to avoid religious tyranny and corrupt politics. There is also the concern of Islamic law and whether it should or should not be addressed in the new constitution. Thus, there is a large concern for whether the constitution will focus enough on civil liberties and freedom versus religious dominance. Although President Muhammed Morsi has defended the referendum, there is large criticism and resistance against the draft by the citizens and many others around the world.
Watching this revolution has been an exciting yet nail-biting experience as it unfolds across the world. It has proven to be one of the fastest revolutions, yet the aftermath of how the country can revive itself with a new democratic regime continues to put much of the world at some unrest. Though it began as the primary example of Chenoweth & Stefan’s definition of a nonviolent movement, a lot of violence has succeeded and the military has seemed to take over the country. Thus, will Egypt’s government end up as a Secular, Religious, or Military government?
Chenoweth, Erica, and Maria J. Stephan.Why civil resistance works: the strategic logic of nonviolent conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.
LeVine, Mark. "Egypt: Between Revolution 3.0 and Civil War." Al Jazeera English - Live US, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Sports, Weather & Business News. http://aljazeera.com (accessed March 10, 2013).