Like a seductive temptress she has enthralled the world. Her beautiful jewels – the Pyramids of Giza, the Nile, the ancient artifacts – beguile and bewitch all those who come close to her shores. For centuries Egypt has been the land that time has tried to tame but could not. She has been ahead of every game, in engineering, in government, in literature, in music and in theology. And now she stands to regress, to revert back to a time that was not her own, a medieval existence that sees women marrying as teen-agers, men in control and Shariah law enforced.
The Arab Spring was ushered in on an ocean of hope and despair. Egyptians adopted the most modern of tools to overthrow an outdated dictator. Using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube the young Egyptians who spurred a revolution ushered in a new era, a Egypt ruled by the people, something that hadn’t been seen in more than 50 years. They died, bled, chanted and protested to overthrow Egyptian leader Mubarak only to see an interim government ruled by the iron fist of an archaic military.
The revolution turned out to be devolution of values and expectations that saw an army kill its own people and reach for a power grab and democratic elections that resulted in the ascendency of hard-core Islamists whose policies are the very antithesis of modernity.
Egypt, where for art thou? Where is the Egypt of progress, the one who built the pyramids, who enlightened the world about hard work, smart planning and grandiose thinking? Where is the diverse Egypt who absorbed the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims, the Christians, the Arabs and still kept herself firmly ensconced in what it meant to be Egyptian? What has happened to her? For surely something is wrong when a country which produced the greatest female ruler of all time is reduced to a pawn in the war for extreme Islamists quest for a Muslim theocracy that forces women to adhere to the chauvinistic policies of strict Shariah law that has them covering themselves at all times, married off before puberty and sitting firmly among the least of all?
Is this revolution? Is this progress? Is this Egypt’s future?
Egypt says it wants to be a democracy now but it’s more like a theocracy with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists (the most conservative sect of Islam in the country) winning a combined 73% of all the seats in parliament which is great for the 90% that is Muslim in the country but not so great for the 1 out of 10 Egyptians who are Christians.
Egypt is starting a new chapter but is it a futuristic one? Is it a chapter that will propel her into the forefront of innovation that she is so famous for? Time will tell.