Nonnie Darwish on Dictatorships and Revolutions

Nonie Darwish is obviously a well informed observer and shereflects the necessity of having low expectations regarding the possibleoutcomes for the revolt underway in Eygpt. Perhaps the least likely outcome will be the rise of a democraticallyoriented assemblage of political parties.

Most likely we will see Mubarak and the army knock down thisparticular revolt.  Right now they aresimply seeing who hits the bricks before they come in swinging. It will also bevery tempting to let the Muslim brotherhood emerge fully before they aresuppressed.  In the meantime, I see noevidence that Mubarak or the army has lost its composure.  That is not a good omen if you are on thestreet throwing rocks.

There is plenty of evidence that the US administration has lost itscomposure and is perhaps rattled.

The best result of all this would be for Mubarak to takeheed and to establish proper electoral systems able to outlive him andnaturally diminish the radicals.

The worst possible result would be for the radicals to seizepower and trigger a war with Israelafter tearing up the peace treaty.

What I do not see emerging at this time is a government ableto renounce the regime established by Sharia law and establish modernsystems.  No one there seems to evenunderstand this can be done and should be done.

As Nonie makes it so clear, we are looking for bad or worse.

Dictatorships and Revolutions

Posted by Nonie Darwish on Jan 31st, 2011 andfiled under Daily MailerFrontPage.

The pressure in Egypthas been building for a long time and has now finally exploded –  inspiredby the events in Tunisia.The fact that the Egyptian government has been taken by surprise is a sign ofhow disconnected the regime has become from the reality on the ground. Mubarakhas wasted many opportunities to transfer power to another administrationpeacefully. He could have gone down in history as the firstArab leader to conduct a fair election, but instead, he kept ignoringthe inevitable and kept re-electing himself for 30 years, followed by groominghis son to take over. Now he will go down in history as just another Arabtyrant in the dysfunctional political history of the Muslim world.

Having been born and raised in the Muslim faith during the generationof the 1952 Egyptian revolution, in which my father held a prominent role inthe Nasser revolutionary governmentof that time, I see things repeating themselves. The Nasser52 revolution promised freedom, democracy, Arab Nationalism and self-rule.Nasser toppled what he called the tyrant King Farouk, promised a new era offreedom, democracy and prosperity, but ended up giving Egyptians more of thesame. The era of Nasser was one of the mostoppressive periods in Egyptian history, ushering in a long period of wars,socialism, poverty, illiteracy, and a police state.

Judging from Arab history, revolutions do not necessarily bring aboutdemocracy or freedom. Will the current Egyptian uprising bring what it wasintending to bring? Or will it end up in a vicious cycle of uprising andtyranny following the footsteps of the earlier 52 revolution? In a recent poll,over 70% of Egyptians stated that they want to live under Sharia Islamic law.And most of these people do not understand that Sharia law will result not in ademocracy but in a theocracy like Iranor Saudi Arabia.That unrealistic expectation by the majority of Egyptians will probably end upin a great disappointment — the same way the Iranian revolution could notdeliver the freedom and democracy the Iranian people had hoped for. ManyEgyptians chant “Allahu Akbar” and “Islam is the solution.” But the truth is,Islam or more accurately, Sharia, is the problem.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which is entrenched in Egyptian society, hasannounced that it is currently in talks with Mohammed El Baradei – the formerUN nuclear watchdog chief – to form a national unity government. They havechosen to ally themselves with a well known moderate international figure whichmight make them more acceptable to the moderates and reformists in Egypt. TheMuslim Brotherhood will use the democratic process to come to power but thetrue nature of the Brotherhood will come out as soon as they take power.According to their basic beliefs, they must rule according to Sharia, which isthe official law of Egyptanyway.

Perhaps the most dangerous law in Sharia that stands in the way ofdemocracy is the one that states that “A Muslim head of State can hold officethrough seizure of power, meaning through force.” That law is the reason everyMuslim leader must turn into a despotic tyrant to survive, literally.When a Muslim leader is removed from office by force, we often see theIslamic media and masses accept it and even cheer for thenew leader who has just ousted or killed the former leader, whois often called a traitor to the Islamic cause. Sadat’s assassination followedmany fatwas of death against him for having violated his Islamic obligations tomake Israelan eternal enemy. He became an apostate In the eyes of the hard-liners andhad to be killed or removed from office. This probably sounds incredible to theWestern mind, but this is the reality of what Sharia has done and is stilldoing to the political chaos in the Muslim world.

Westerners often described the Mubarak administration as secular whenin reality it is not. It is true that Mubarak comes froma military background and neither he nor his wife wear Islamicclothes. But no Muslim leader can get away with or even survive oneday in office if he is secular in the true sense of the word. It wasduring Mubarak’s rule in 1991 that Egyptsigned the CairoDeclaration for Human Rights stating that Sharia supersedes any other law. Soeven though Sharia is not 100% applied in Egypt, it is officially the law ofthe land. Mubarak, like all Muslim leaders, must appease the Islamists to avoidtheir wrath. According to Sharia itself, a Muslim head of state must rule byIslamic law and preserve Islam in its original form or he must be removed fromoffice. That law leaves no choice for any Muslim leader. Because of thatlaw Muslim leaders must play a game of appearing Islamic and anti-West whiletrying to get along with the rest of the world. It’s a game with life and deathconsequences.

The choice in Egyptis not between good and bad, it is between bad and worse. Many in the Muslimworld lack the understanding of what is hindering them as well as a lack of amoral and legal foundation for forming a stable democratic political system. Ifear that my brothers and sisters in Egypt will end up embracingextremism instead of true democracy and thus will continue to rise and fall,stumble from one revolution to another and living under one tyrant to anotherlooking for the ideal Islamic state that never was.

The 1400 year-old Islamic history of tyranny will continueunless Sharia is rejected as the basis of the legal or political systems inMuslim countries. Sharia must be rejected if Egyptians want true democracy andfreedom.

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