Monday, December 26, 2011

Life after the Arab spring

Egypt's progress from dictatorship to democracy is messy but offers hope to the Arab world

Nesrine Malik, Monday 26 December 2011

"..... Far from being frustrating, this new dynamic is encouraging. It would have been an abortion if the new regime were welcomed unquestioningly, as far more acceptable than the previous, and the Egyptian people slipped back into the Mubarak era malaise of surrendering civic rights. It displays a covetousness, a monitoring of the aftermath of the revolution, and a knowledge and determination to ensure that it is not aborted. Commentator Firas al Attrachi refers to it as "a new social contract". He states that "events in Tahrir Square, to some extent in January/February and more so in the past week, have forced the foundation of a new social contract along the lines of how nations were formed during the Greek city-state era", redefining the relationship between people and government, and the very meaning of citizenship in the country.

In the absolute rejection of any government other than a civilian one, Egyptian protesters and activists show they are no longer willing to accept political smoke and mirrors. To the rest of us in the Arab world watching the events unfold, it appears nothing short of a miracle that, almost overnight, Egypt went from an ostensibly inert political environment, to one where the most established regime in the region was toppled, to one where, without skipping a beat, there has emerged a lively and robust political dynamic. One that teaches us that it is not just individuals that must be overthrown, but that there also must be a purging of the old guard. The day-to-day events on the ground are arresting, and amplified, but rather than taking the wind out of the Arab awakening's sails, they give succour......"

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