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democracy democracy in the middle east geo-politics middle east muhbarak political system politics Nov 29, 2011

The noise in the media about the Egyptian unrest this week provides a moment for historical context. In France free elections led to Napoleon's rise for nearly two decades, a disastrous war and consequential bloody massacres. France underwent the organic process toward democracy with missteps and deadly repercussions. France did finally become a functioning democratic republic but it took almost a quarter-century. Democracies are not a packaged product that one retrieves from the freezer, only to pop the package in to the microwave for a ready-made meal. The world is witnessing the neophyte steps toward democratic governance after years of repression and autocratic rule. The challenges and protests that were unfolding prior to the elections on Monday, November 28, 2011 were to be expected. A fractured society lies underneath the Muhbarak apparatus and it will require long-term support and patience as the Egyptians navigate this new era. In the west there is an unrealistic tendency to be intolerant of the raw public demonstration as part of the struggle for democracy. As ungainly as it appears, the events in Egypt are also inspiring. The courage of the Egyptians to struggle with their future is inspiring. The electoral process, however fraught with irregularities, has begun. Therefore the people are evaluating, analyzing, and protesting for their future. This is real democracy in its fledgling moments. The emergence from decades of autocratic rule has allowed for the experience of voting. Were we in the United States as appreciative of the right to vote, I dare say our country would be in a far better off condition as we struggle with our own societal fractures. What do you think?

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