I heard the words of the talking heads and so called experts and came to
wonder, was I watching the same thing they were.
In Egypt the people rose in their masses to oppose a tyrannical
ruler. This ruler fell and the people were given a vote. They were given a
choice between a representative of the old tyranny and a representative of a new
tyranny. They chose to throw out the remnants of the old and instead accept the
words of the Muslim Brotherhood.
History now shows that they were given two bad choices.
They people of Egypt may not know what a democracy is but they have
learnt by hard lesson what a tyranny looks like. Those talking heads and
politicians who are constantly on the news talking about how wrong it is to
overthrow a democracy have never lived under anything else. The men and
women of Egypt know better. It does not matter if a tyrant is elected. To wait for
the next election under the threat of a steady incroachment of sharia driven by
the extremists of the Salafist sect would have been madness, to wait until
women, non Muslims or Muslim sects out of favour with the goverment
had been denied freedoms or even denied a vote would be too late.
A democracy where only one person is allowed to vote is not a democracy.
When we have government ministers saying how wrong it is for a
military overthrow of an elected leader I would remind them that the west did
exactly that. Saddam was elected; the west did not let that stop them. Look at
the mess that trying to force western democracy on Iraq has left behind it
after the west’s soldiers have withdrawn.
When government ministers talk about how elected officials being
arrested and made political prisoners is wrong I would remind them that days ago
two men were arrested for trying to walk down a street in London because the
politics they chose to follow were not endorsed by the state. Neither the UK or
the US has the moral high ground here.
We in the UK were born into a democracy. Our parents and grandparents
were born into a democracy. We have known nothing else. Egypt is not the UK,
nor is it Europe or America.
What so many forget or ignore is that our democracy did not spring from
the ground fully formed. Our halls of democracy have echoed to the
sound of soldiers boots. The foundations of our Parliament were built on death
and destruction. The struggle of the people of England for freedom and
democracy was so hard fought that it split the country and was called a Civil
How many of our manors, villages or towns still bear the scars of musket
or cannon. How many were built anew after fire claimed them because they
were held by one side or the other in our nations struggle for democracy. How
many of our fields were soaked in blood. How many an Englishman’s bones still
lie forgotten in some quiet corner of this land?
As any parent knows the first faltering steps lead to a fall. It is by falling
and getting up again that a child learns to walk and then to run.
It is not important that Egypt failed the first time it tried democracy. It will
not be important that they fail the second time, or the third time. What is
important is that after each fall they stand up and try again. If the people and
the army of Egypt are willing to try again and again who are we to stop them? We
have forgotten what it costs to become a truly democratic society. They are
beginning to learn.
We cannot impose democracy with the gun or the tank. It must come
from within, from the will of the people.
What we should do now is offer the people of Egypt our support, our
encouragement and above all our patience. We should allow them the time to
create something new, something unique. Not a British democracy, not a western
democracy but an Egyptian Democracy.