Sunday, 30 January 2011

Walk like an Egyptian, but talk Turkey

I must admit to having a certain sympathy for the demands of the Egyptian demonstrators.

They say they want more democratic freedom, more open government, less corruption. They want president Mubarak to go as a symbol of corruption, stalled progress and all they see is wrong with their country. Hard to argue against those ideals.

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak has been in charge for 30 years or so. He can’t argue anyone else is responsible for how Egypt is.

It is true there is a lot wrong with Egypt, high unemployment amongst the under 25s for one. But there is also a lot that has changed for the good in the lives of ordinary Egyptians in the last 30 years or so.

Some of the problems they are experiencing must be related to the current world downturn.

If they are hoping for some sort of velvet revolution though, I fear they need to ease back on their impatience.

It was not all that long ago that a not dissimilar ruler and regime was toppled in Iran. A lot of educated middle class young people were in the vanguard of that with hopes of a democracy and freedom. They foolishly imagined they could trust the hard eyed clerics, so-called “men of god” to be honest, upright and fair.

What they ended up with was a theocratic state and ill educated “black shirt thug” type religious police beating people forcing women to wear the veil and men to grow beards.

Those people who thought they were toppling a dictator in favour of freedom.. and their grown children are still crying out for real freedom and real democracy.

The Egyptian protestors should think very carefully lest they end up far worse off than they are now. They should be very wary of bringing down the system. They should be looking for changes and schooling themselves to some further patience. Firm robust patience, but patience and restraint never-the-less...

They should be looking at the example of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk the father of modern Turkey and "Kemalism"

It is perhaps Mubarak’s failure that he did not take Atatürk as his model and use his years in power to deliver a more modern democratic state.

They need to insist on change but allow the organs of the sate to maintain stability and prosperity yet deliver the change they need.

A difficult path requiring compromise and benefit for everyone

What the Egyptians need is far more akin to evolution, than revolution.