Dancing into Tahrir Square to Celebrate


The man carried a Koran, a cross, a tank, pictures of former military dictators, wore a patch over one eye and the Egyptian flag. He weaved through the crowd of thousands, dancing his way into Tahrir Square to celebrate the election of a new Egyptian president.  Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, a former army chief,  is the new president of Egypt.  He reportedly received 97 percent of the vote. However, some challenge those reports, the Muslim Brotherhood claims 97 percent of the people boycotted the election.   Regardless of who voted or did not vote, the Brotherhood is also celebrating the election.  The Brotherhood sees the election as a turning point and the beginning of the end of reign of coup leaders.  It claims Mohamed Morsi is the only rightfully elected president of Egypt.
Among the supporters of El-Sisi crowded into the famous demonstration square, one young man was quoted in Al Ahram as saying he was not celebrating the victory of El-Sisi, the army chief.  Instead, he was celebrating the election of a man who could “get things done.”  He said he would have supported anyone that could bring a change in Egypt’s economic life.  I suspect that after three years of tension, confusion and an economic disaster that most Egyptians – maybe even 97 percent – would like to see an economic recovery and some stability.  I know if I lived in Egypt, I would.
The Syrians are also voting.  President Bashar Al-Assad will probably win by a very large majority, but I doubt that anyone believes stability will be coming to Syria any time soon.  It all seemed so innocent, so pure, in January of 2011 when the demonstrators around the Middle East first took to the streets to protest heavy handed military rule.   It no longer seems innocent or pure, in Syria alone over 150,000 people have died.  It will take a very long period of peace, good will and economic prosperity to justify the deaths of all of those people.  Not so many people died in Egypt as in Syria, but there certainly has been a great deal of suffering.  Just as it will in Syria, recovery and healing will take a very long time in Egypt.  And that is assuming, recovery and healing won the election.

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June 2014
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