Though Egypt is getting more chaotic if not bloodier by the day, it’s wrong in blaming the Muslim Brother or it’s supporters. The problem is ‘Egyptian’ itself. After decades of Military rule and aproximately six millenia of it’s autocratic rule Egyptians are not really prepared for democratic rule that was suddenly thrust on them literally over-night.
Egypt, on the other-hand, is not in it’s old state. People seem to think that Egypt is the most important thing in the middle east. People tend to view Egypt through the lens of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Back then, however, Egypt was the fulcrum of the Arab world, arguably it’s most important country.
Cairo was the cultural centre of the Arab people, the source of Cinema, TV, Media, art, literature etc. Although it lacked the natural resources of a Sadu Arabia or an Iraq, Egypt, had relative to those countries an abundance of intellectual capital : it was the centre for learning, with the region’s best universities, both Religious and secular. It’s thriving and active labour force was coveted by the newly wealthy Gulf States. From the US point of view, Egypt was a threat to it’s bastard child Israel.
Egypt today is none of those things, and for two reasons :
1. Middle East has changed alot
2. Egypt, not enough
Cairo is no longer the region’s cultural heart: after the fall of Syed Qutbs, Orabi Pashas, Al-Bannas Egypt doesn’t produce great leaders, nor great art and literature. Arab TV audiences are more likely now to be watching Turkish TV operas and Qatari satellite news channels. Most egyptian universities are now laughably bad, it’s literacy rate is such low to 72% (Male 80%, Female 63.5%). the gulf states prefer Indian, Pakistani, Filipino construction workers and labor to Egyptian. Egyptian media scene is a regional joke, before few months, a TV channel alleged Sayyid Qutb has a son, a man never married in his lifetime. In recent times it’s newspapers and TV stations have plumbed new depth of sycophancy in their panegyrics to ‘Pharoah Abu Fatah Al-Sisi’, the country’s new military overlord and the million dollar baby of US and Israel.
After decades of mismanagement by the corrupt generals and bureaurats, Egypt is an economic basket case. It has few valuable resources to sell. As for that other, crucial American concern, Egypt is no longer a serious threat to Israel. It’s military recieves an yearly $1.5 Billion hand-out to turn a blind eye on Israel’s atrocities in the region. The balance of military power is entirely lopsided in Israel’s favour.
Can Egypt reclaim it’s old place as the fulcrum of the Arab world? An opportunity arose two years ago. The Arab spring, an import from Tunisia, but it’s once again made Egypt a loboratory of a new powerful political Idea. Alas, as we’ve seen this july, that experiment has failed after toppling Egypt’s democratically elected government and the rise of military rule. Rather than show the way forward, today, Egypt is in full retreat. What happens in Egypt at this crucial and tumultous point in it’s history, as it struggles to find a clear voice, a powerful leader, will shape the region for decades to come.