‘Egypt will win if no one loses’
Egypt continues to be entangled in a game of winners and losers. The Egyptian experience of a democratic process has so far been disappointing to many. Even though much has been invested in the legitimacy of the ballot boxes, the consequences have not matched anyone’s expectation in terms of those who won or those who didn’t. In the meantime, the biggest loser seems to be Egypt itself.
This masquerade of a democratic process has evolved into a painful and deadly game of power. There can be no democracy without an almost total agreement on the rules of engagement. Not only were no clear rules set forth; all attempts to build any kind of agreement at the outset were shot down systematically.
In addition, those who came to power continue to unacceptably change the rules and laws to exclude all other political players. In the midst of a great revolution for change, many Egyptians seemed to adopt an impatient desire for stability. Now they know better: Deep change cannot and will not happen amid stability.
For the sake of stability, and believing that change was just a choice on the ballot card, enough Egyptians opted for the one alternative that presented itself as different. The ballot box brought the infamous and banned Muslim Brotherhood to power. Interestingly, that is what coup d’états usually accomplish; they bring the struggling opposition to power, albeit forcefully.
In Egypt’s case, the process was certainly clad in legitimate garb. The shaky legitimacy was a great victory for the winners. It took the opposing teams a while to regroup and present a solid front to stand up and reject the exclusion. It is clear why the losing teams were frustrated and challenged to fight back. They are expected to act as the opposition in the pseudo-democratic process for democratic rule. They have – to the extent of supporting civil disobedience and boycotting the now suspended parliamentary elections.
The winners cannot be satisfied either, at this point. The erstwhile partners in the revolution were quick to choose to play alone. They could have taken a better course had they managed to remember that Egypt is at stake. The winners have failed to provide stability; they continue to be severely challenged to not only rule an angry and disappointed nation but also to keep it from losing both its market capital and social capital. As the country experiences serious financial and social dilemmas, the pressure on their rule mounts.
In the absence of clear rules for the political game, the outcome is a mess. When the foundation for the democratic process is a highly contested Constitution above all laws, the outcome is what can be observed every day: chaos. So far, all players have only played to win over their constituencies to either stay in power or to try to take over power in the case of the opposition.
It is yet unclear if they will actually be able to behave democratically enough any time soon to include each other in an integral process of leading Egypt to prosperity. Those are but only two of the players in the field. The game gets more complicated as the more obscure players consolidate their game plans.
Egypt will only win when Egyptians create a game plan where there are no losers.